Mining and Art. Middelschulte Porcelain Collection

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - Sunday, October 22, 2023

  • Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - Sunday, October 22, 2023

The exhibition will transport you to a world of mountain landscapes, where mined ores are piled up, new deposits are sought with a wand, a clerk instructs a digger at work, but also elegant ladies stroll and merchants bargain. The timeless beauty of porcelain, that "white gold" that encouraged King Augustus the Strong to start production in Meissen 300 years ago, continues to captivate generations of enthusiasts.

Presenting nearly 170 porcelain pieces, the exhibition is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the work of Meissen's most famous artists. You will be able to admire the painting skills of Bonaventura Häuer (1709-1782) and the sculptural artistry of Johan Joachim Kändler (1706-1775), Meissen's most prominent model maker, who developed countless designs and brought the fashion for porcelain figurines to the tables of Europe. The objects come from Beate and Achim Middelschulte's collection of 18th century mining porcelain, the most important in the world.

The exhibition will feature very rare porcelain sculptures, as well as intricately painted and gilded applied art - from tableware such as tea sets, to tiny boxes for needles, pills or snuff. The delicate objects, mostly from the renowned Meissen porcelain manufactory, impress with their excellent artistic level, but their historical value is no less important. Objects from the Beate and Achim Middelschulte collection will allow you to see the oldest known figurines of miners, as well as the earliest painted mining scenes, such as on cups and chocolate saucers (1730-35). These are the very beginnings of porcelain development in Europe. Truly masterfully, on a microscopic scale, they depict landscapes with figures of miners.

The exhibition shows quite a few porcelain rarities from the 18th century, known only in a single copy. These include early depictions of musicians, modeled in Meissen by Georg Frisch (circa 1730), and others from the manufactory in Würzburg, which was in operation for only a few years from 1775. Comparisons can be made between successive 18th-century series of workers and mining bands from Meissen, Vienna and Fürstenberg. Noteworthy are the images of miners from the Berlin label, which in more recent times were often given out for miners' anniversaries or farewells. The collection includes the only 18th-century originals of these, by sculptor Samuel Gottlieb Poll from 1785.

The exhibits come from the collection of the Achim and Beate Middelschulte Foundation, preserved at the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum. This collection is considered the most important of its kind in the world. The value of this private collection, constantly enriched by purchases at international auctions, is enormous. It inspires admiration and even envy among experts and collectors .The exhibition was created in cooperation with the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum.

Photo: collection of the Achim and Beate Middelschulte Foundation, preserved at the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

For whom: for children, for seniors, for families

Kraków Saltworks Museum Wieliczka

ul. Zamkowa 8, Wieliczka

Arranged in the 13th-century castle interiors is a collection of salt cellars composed of over 400 pieces!

The main seat of the museum is the Saltworks Castle. For nearly 700 years from its construction late in the 13th century, the edifice was the administrative centre of one of Europe’s largest businesses: the Kraków Saltworks covering the mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia, salinas, and the entire infrastructure connected with salt production. The Saltworks Castle housed the mine’s kitchens, chapel, court, and prison; miners were summoned to work from the castle’s tower and provided with working tools stored in the local storehouse. Today’s tourists are welcome to visit the castle’s interiors with exhibitions devoted to the archaeology and history of Wieliczka, and the collection of salt cellars consisting of over 400 specimens. The invitation also includes the 14th-century tower which was a part of the system of the city’s fortifications built in the reign of Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki). The unique value of the Saltworks Castle was acknowledged by its accession to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013.

Tickets: PLN 20/15, family PLN 40, free admission (to the overground part only) on Sats
Closed on the Feast of Corpus Christi, 1 November, 24-26 December and 31 December

The museum also runs an underground exhibition in Wieliczka Salt Mine (covered in the price of the ticket to the mine).

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