Polish National Styles 1890–1918

Friday, July 2, 2021 - Sunday, January 2, 2022

  • Friday, July 2, 2021 - Sunday, January 2, 2022

The exhibition Polish National Styles 1890–1918 opens the series of the National Museum in Krakow called “4 x Modernity” comprising four parts concerning original moderniza-tion patterns in Polish art, design and architec-ture of the 20th and 21st c.

Its theme is related to the debate over the national style which has been on-going in Europe (particularly Central-Eastern Europe) since 1900, an idea understood as a stylistically distinguishable form expressing the uniqueness of a culture of a given nation. The origins of such a form can be traced to regional varieties of historical styles, as well as folklore, as an attempt to distinguish it from late historicism or Art Nouveau.

The exhibition consists of five parts. The first one displays examples of Polish national cos-tume of the second half of the 19th c. The sec-ond one focuses on the Zakopane style, while the third portrays the search of the national form inspired by folklore art from the region of Hutsulshchyna. The next part includes designs made by artists promoting the idea of a national style related to the Polish Applied Arts Society and the Krakow Workshops. In the end, the significance of the the Exhibition of Architecture and Interiors in a Garden Setting held in Krakow in 1912 was emphasized along with the connection between the national form and the idea of Esperanto language developed in Poland which was meant to serve the purpose of international communication by emphasiz-ing both universal and national content.

The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1

The central phenomena of the Polish art of the 20th and 21st century, the history of Polish weaponry and uniforms, a gallery of crafts, and a dozen major temporary exhibitions each year.

The quickly expanding collection of the National Museum, set up in 1879, soon needed space that Kraków did not have at that time. That is why the idea to erect a new building that at the same time would commemorate the many years of efforts to regain Poland’s independence was born early in the 20th century. Immediately after the end of the First World War, already in free Poland, funds for the construction of an appropriate seat began to be raised. The construction of the building by the imposing Aleje Trzech Wieszczów, staked out just two decades earlier, began in 1934. Today, the National Museum in Kraków boasts several branches, with no fewer than three permanent galleries in the Main Building alone. Deposited on the ground floor are the collections of militaria: the exhibition Arms and Uniforms in Poland (gallery closed until further notice) presents the history of the Polish military from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. The Gallery of Decorative Arts boasts collections of fabrics, goldsmithry, glass, ceramics, furniture, musical instruments, and Judaica that let the visitor trace changes in style from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century. The Polish Art Gallery presents the chronology and key tendencies in painting, sculpture and printmaking as created by the Polish artists of the 20th and 21st century. The largest temporary exhibitions of the National Museum in Kraków are organised in specially designed halls.

Tickets to permanent galleries: normal PLN 28, concessions PLN 15, family PLN 56, admission free to permanent exhibitions on Tuesday

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