The exhibition presents the history of Varsovian bookbinding from 1525 - the date of the first written record mentioning a Warsaw bookbinder - up to the present. Information used in the design of the exhibition was largely derived from municipal documents preserved in the Central Archives of Historical Records and the Municipal Archive of Warsaw, from advertisements in daily press, trade literature and specialist publications devoted to books, address books and various memorabilia preserved by families active in the bookbinding trade.
The main goal of the exhibition is to present the work of Varsovian bookbinders by putting their products on display. Some of the bindings were signed; in other cases it was possible to determine their makers or at least to establish with a high degree of probability that they were made in Warsaw.
Out of the 550 works on display, most of the book bindings come from the Warsaw Public Library and the University Library, which in the 19th century was the most important library in the city. A valuable collection of bindings of municipal books from the 17th and 18th centuries, embossed with the Warsaw coat-of-arms, will also be put on display. A richly ornamented portfolio for storing prints, made by Jan Kilemann for the library of king Stanisław August, is perhaps the most exquisite example of the bookbinding craft to be included in the exhibition. Other exhibits that are certain to attract visitors' attention are recently discovered 19th and 20th century artistic bindings (most of them will be put on display for the first time) from the workshops of such outstanding craftsmen and artists as Jan Recmaniak and Ewa Lorentowicz. The only surviving Chronicle of the Bookbinders' Guild from the turn of the 19th century, now in the possession of the Warsaw Municipal Archive, of Warsaw.
In addition to book bindings, the exhibition features sundry objects, such as cases and boxes of various size, shape and purpose, all made by Warsaw craftsmen.
A reconstruction of the interior of a bookbinder's workshop and a bookbinder's press - which museum patrons will be able to use to make exhibition souvenirs - will help familiarize visitors with the craft of bookbinding.
Media sponsors: "Radio Dla Ciebie", "Mówią Wieki", "Wydawca", "Poligrafika".
Further details: Promotions Department of the Historic Museum of Warsaw tel. 635-16-25 ext. 113,145
In 2005 we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union (NSZZ) “Solidarity”, the social and political movement, which involved millions of Poles and changed the face of Europe.
The exhibition “How to rise the iron curtain. Warsaw’s “Solidarity” 1980-1989” presents unique archival documents, photographs and a variety of objects from museums and private collections (most of them never displayed before) concerning the most important events of those years, beginning from the strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard in August 1980, through the martial law period up to the first democratically elected government with Tadeusz Mazowiecki as Prime Minister.
The heroes of this exhibit are participants and witnesses of those events, so enlarged photographs showing Warsaw residents during celebrations and demonstrations from the 80-ties form the background of the exhibit.
The exhibition consists of two parts. The first one introduces the history of Warsaw’s “Solidarity” through photographs; the second one presents archival documents, a variety of historical objects, posters, publications and so on, concerning the period 1980-1989.
In the exhibit one can also see the film “Archives of war” and listen to original records from the 80-ties.
Media sponsors: PAP, TVP3, Radio Polonia, Polskie Radio PRII, OZON, Gazeta Wyborcza, Mówią Wieki
No only connoisseurs of the history of art and architecture, but also ordinary Varsovians and tourists looking for unusual sights in the capital will find much of interest in the exhibition devoted to the Professors' Quarter in Warsaw.The exhibition endeavours to provide a comprehensive picture of this unique complex of 21 houses, designed from 1923 to 1926 by some of the greatest Polish architects of the period, professors of the Department of Architecture of the Warsaw Institute of Technology: Romuald Gutt, Marian Lalewicz, Zdzisław Mączeński, Czesław Przybylski and Oskar Sosnowski. The idea was for each architect to design a house for himself.
The houses, built in Powiśle within the triangular area delineated by the Górnośląska, Myśliwiecka and Hoene-Wrońskiego streets, have been preserved in an almost perfect condition and are now a treasured monument of architecture and urban planning. Most of them represent the Polish Baroque and Neo-classical styles.The exhibition features photographs of the Quarter taken from 1923 up to the present, press cuttings from 1923 onwards, architectural drawings and ground plans, land and mortgage register entries, villa designs and testimony of the heirs of the original investors, recorded in 1989.The authors of the exhibition have highlighted the damage suffered by the Quarter during the post-war period. In 1946, the gutted house on ul. Górnośląska 18, designed by Marial Lalewicz and erected in 1925, was pulled down on the orders of the Department of Urban Planning of the Office for the Reconstruction of Warsaw, notwithstanding the position of the cooperative, which wanted to rebuild it. The house on ul. Profesorska 3, which had been entered in the register of historical monuments in 1988, was remodelled and disfigured in 1990-92.The purpose of the Exhibition is not only to highlight the need to protect the architecture of the Quarter, but also to acquaint visitors with architecture of the highest order and to promote this area of Warsaw as a tourist attraction.
Media sponsors: “Życie Warszawy”, TVP 3, “Architekt warszawski i mazowiecki”
Exhibition manager: Janusz Sujecki tel. 635 16 25 ext. 114
The exhibition was prepared in connection with the 250th anniversary this year of the birth of Stanisław Staszic (1755-1826) - statesman, writer and scholar. The exhibition shows a cross-section of his life. Alongside items personally connected with Staszic himself, visitors can see paintings, illustrations, plans, documents, clothing and artistic crafts of Warsaw from the end of the 18th century and first quarter of the 19th century.At this time Warsaw was an active centre of political and intellectual life, the centre of the Polish Enlightenment.
It was in Warsaw that Stanisław lived for approximately the last 30 years of his life. Here he progressed from teacher to state dignitary (among others, from 1824 he was minister of state), he wrote his works (including Warnings for Poland), he co-founded scientific and educational institutions (the Society from the Friends of Science, and Warsaw University), he influenced the architectural development of the city (among others, he introduced Antonio Corazzi, creator of neo-classicist designs for public buildings), he conducted charitable activity. He was founder of the Copernicus monument. Staszic's funeral in January 1826 turned into a demonstration, in which one-third of the residents of Warsaw took part. Staszic's mementos are displayed in a separate area. Particular consideration should be paid to the original documents – his last will, loaned from the files of the State Archive for the capital city of Warsaw, where Staszic leaves his estate to Warsaw institutions, and the contract with B. Torwaldsen regarding the execution of the design for the Copernicus monument from the Central Archives of Historical Records.
Two rooms at the exhibition have been devoted to Warsaw at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century. A large part of the exhibition deals with views of the capital: water colours by Zygmunt Vogel from the collections of the National Museum, illustrations by Aleksander Majerski from 1818 (property of the Historic Museum of Warsaw), architectural drawings and lithographs by Leonard Schmidtner and illustrations by Fryderyk Krzysztof Dietrich; one can also see a collection of historic scenes: among others View of the Proclamation of the Constitution of the 3rd May, Napoleon's arrival in Warsaw C. Calleta , The arrival of the Russians in Warsaw by Johann Voltz, Funeral ceremony for Prince Józef Poniatowski at the Holy Cross Church by Jahannes Frey.
The meeting with Warsaw during the times of Staszic is supplemented by a display of portraits of known figures from the age: politicians, scholars, artists, military figures.
Of particular interest will be the mementos connected with Free Masonry organisations that were active in Warsaw at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century: Masonic regalia from the collections of the Historic Museum, the stone from the Temple of Isis (property the Museum of Theatre), a portrait of Ludwik Osiński in Masonic attire (property of the National Museum).
The exhibition is part of the celebrations for the Jubilee Year of Stanisław Staszic, with the Honorary Patron being the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the President of the Warsaw Scientific Society. Exhibition organiser: Barbara Moszczyńska tel. 635-16-25 ext. 111, email@example.com
The exhibition consists of the photographs of the 2nd Polish Corps during the Adriatic Campaign (recapturing Ancona and the Gothic Line - Linea Gotica) in 1944. Besides, some little known facts from the history of Polish-Italian relations are presented here - most notably the newly formed Italian Army joining the Polish Troops during the campaign of 1944 and the postwar fates of Polish Soldiers quartering in Middle Italy until 1946.
The initiative to create the exhibition came from Italy, from the authorities of the Marche region. Our Italian partners have prepared and organised the exposition, being able to find many rare and previously unpublished photos in the archives of the Polish Institute and General Sikorski Museum in London. The photographs show, among other things, General Władysław Anders, the fightings, Italian towns being freed by the Polish Troops and finally the work on creating new schools and the social aid after the war.
The exhibition comprising 160 photographs size 80x60 cm, a documentary film and exhibits connected with soldiers of the Polish 2nd Corps, is presented in the amazing surroundings of our patio covered by a glass roof and the rooms of the State Archive of Warsaw.
The exhibition is open till 25 March, then will be moved to the Częstochowa Museum and finally to the Pałac Sztuki (Palace of Art) Museum in Cracow. The presentation is an important Polish - Italian feature of the year of the 60th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War.
The exhibition is organised under the honorary patronage of President of Italy Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and President of Warsaw Lech Kaczyński.
Exbition open from 25 February through 25 March
Exhbition Commissioners: Raimondo Orsetti – Servizio Tecnico alla Kultura, Giuseppe Campana, Beata Jackiewicz
Scientific tutelage: Izabela Maliszewska, tel. 635-16-25, wew. 134
Media patronage: "Rzeczpospolita", TVP 3, Radio dla Ciebie, "Corriere della Serra".
For details call the Promotion Department 635-16-25 ext. 113 , 145
The Portals of Old Warsaw
The portal - an ornamental, carved structure framing an entrance - was one of the most important decorative features of a burgher's house. With changing architectural styles, the appearance of portals changed too. The shape of the main building blocks, the material and the ornamentation - they all changed.
A rich vocabulary exists to describe the form of portals and their decorative features.
In most cases, a portal would grace the right-hand side of the façade or - if the house stood on a corner - the part of wall adjacent to the only neighbour. Symmetrically-placed portals and portals opening on courtyards or passages were much less common.
Portals fulfilled several functions: esthetic, historical, symbolic. They were the visible tokens of wealth, social position and even the Weltanschauung of the burghers. The owner's crest, armorial cartouche and initials, as well as the date of the building's completion often adorned the keystone. Sometimes religious symbols were also used: the sign of the cross, the letters IHS, the signs of monastic orders, saints' initials etc.
The oldest surviving portals date back to the mid-15th century and represent the Gothic style. In accordance with models predominant in this part of Europe, they were built of specially moulded brick, sometimes glazed. Initially only very few wealthy burghers living in the Market Square could afford a portal. Mainly for convenience, these portals were placed close to one side of the façade, next to the locked door leading to the cellars and a window lighting the main hall. They were carved by local guild craftsmen. The oldest ones were given the form of pointed-arch embrasures with stepped jambs protecting the entrance. Fragments of the oldest Gothic portal, discovered in 1928, date back to the mid-15th century and have been preserved in the burgher's house on Old Town Square 21. It was two-storeys high and framed the entrance to the house's lofty hall. Portals dating from a somewhat later period were already lower, only one-storey high (Old Town Square 21 and 20, ul. Kanonia 8, ul. Nowomiejska 5). Gothic brick portals were being built almost until the end of the 16th century, but then the general style in architecture changed and stone portals in the Renaissance style began to appear.
Two stone portals combining elements of the Gothic and Renaissance styles date back to the 16th century and can be seen inside the St. Anne's House (Old Town Square 31). One of them, richly ornamented, with a relief representing Christ's face on the lintel and a pattern of crisscrossing mouldings decorating the jambs and lintel, probably framed the original entrance to this house.
Warsaw's architectural heyday was in the first half of the 17th century. The newly-acquired status of the capital city of Poland stimulated the development of burgher architecture. The great fire of 1607 destroyed many houses and brought the Gothic period to an end. The houses were rebuilt already in the new style. While the original asymmetric placement of entrances was preserved, the Gothic portals were bricked-up. New Renaissance portals were constructed in their place and become the main decorative elements of house façades, streets and squares. Round-arch portals were the predominant type. They were all similar to one another, though never quite identical. Dozens of variants differed in the shape of pillars and archivolt, the texture of the stone, the presence or lack of the boss and imposts. The stone, hewn into blocks, was brought by river from quarries in Szydłowiec, Kunów and Pińczów. The most sumptuous portals were created in the first half of the 17th century and can be seen in the Old Town Square (nos. 31, 31 and 36). They all have rusticated jambs and carved archivolts resting on imposts. Their distinctive mark is the rich sculptural and architectonic ornamentation in the space above the arch. Mannerist angel heads, spheres, obelisks and volutes are the most common motifs.
The portal now found in the house at No. 38, Old Town Square, dates back to the second half of the 17th century and already manifests certain features of the Baroque style. Rusticated double pilasters frame the arcade-like entrance, surmounted by a broken pediment bearing a stone crest with a carved inscription.
The golden period in the history of Warsaw was followed by a steady decline in the artistic value of portals constructed during the Swedish Deluge and subsequent years. As the burghers lost their wealth in the 18th century, the portals became flatter; a decorative boss and imposts became ubiquitous. The flattened archivolt often took the shape of a segmental or baskethandle arch. Recessed rectangular portals with decorative elements in their corners begin to appear. Older forms are copied and simplified, sometimes enriched by additional decorative elements above the entrance. Stone is gradually replaced by imitation-stone made of plaster and stuccowork becomes more common. Later even these ornaments disappear. House entrances become plain or framed with a flat, narrow band.
Portals preserved in many houses lose their ornamental and symbolic functions. Many gradually disappear beneath shop signs and are eventually plastered over.
However, influenced by 19th-century Neoromantic cult of the national heritage, many people began to appreciate the artistic and historical value of the Old and New Town architecture. Members of the Society for the Protection of Historical Monuments initiated the collection of drawings and photographs documenting historical monuments; even some conservation work was done on several houses. Renovation of Old Town houses was used as an opportunity to restore them to their former splendour. Their façades were repainted, old portals were restored and even some remnants of the Gothic period, dating back to the Middle Ages, were uncovered. During the inter-war period, the façades of all the houses in the Old Town Square were renovated, the portals were repaired and cleared of paint; ugly shop signs were removed.
Alas, this process was interrupted by the Second World War. The losses were staggering. Many houses, including their ornamental portals, were destroyed. The post-war audit of the surviving buildings of the Old Town brought to light the extent of the destruction. It is worth noting that those houses that had been rebuilt and renovated before the war suffered least damage.
Soon after the war, the reconstruction and restoration of the building got under way. Original portals were protected against further damage and those preserved in a somewhat better state were partly reconstructed, particularly in the Old Town Square. Some fragments of the oldest Gothic portals — discovered either during pre-war renovation work or during the removal of rubble and post-war research in the Old Town — were uncovered. However, many portals were altered despite the availability of documents showing their pre-war appearance. Sometimes this was the result of government orders to remove religious symbols. Perhaps there were architectural reasons as well, such as the need to widen some of the entrances. It is also possible that the ordering of portals according to their historical value was also a factor. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that many old portals visible on post-war photographs and listed in audit reports disappeared without trace when the rubble was cleared.
New portals were built, some with original sculptural decoration. Some of these, such as the famous portal with doves, became symbols of the renewed vitality of the Old Town, raised from the rubble. Some portal designers attempted to relate their form to new functions assigned to the buildings.
The portals' beauty has always captivated artists' imagination. Standing out as the most decorative elements in the buildings' façades, they were often shown in paintings and photographs to evoke the atmosphere of the Old Town. They became silent witnesses of common and uncommon events. As photography became increasingly popular, they were extensively documented, both as historical monuments and carriers of symbolic meaning, and they were also included in many pictures and drawings of the Old and New Town architecture. Painters and graphic artists often used them as the backdrop against which to depict scenes of urban life.
One might think that with the end of the last war, the portals in the Warsaw Old Town were finally safe. Not so. Deprived of protection, they are subjected to brutal treatment by pseudo-conservationists. Government agencies responsible for the protection of historical monuments are often idle. As in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, exquisite works of art are disappearing behind garish decoration of restaurant and shop entrances. Due to ignorance and ubiquitous advertising, original beauty is being removed from view and made inaccessible to tourists.
The exhibit was prepared by Historical Museum of Warsaw
Planning & artistic planning: Teresa Krogulec & Włodzimierz Pela
An exhibition in black & white, presents the works of a Warsaw’s well-known photographer, a member of ZAIKS, Ewald Pawlak who has been coworking with Warsaw’s Historical Museum for the last thirty years. In the 60s, he started his career as a photo reporter for daily newspapers. He has also published his pictures in magazines such as, “Przekrój” (Barbara Hoff’s collection) and “Jazz”, a monthly magazine. His works have enriched many expositions of the museum, albums (latest: Album Warszawski, 2000 and Warszawa wczoraj i dziś, 2004), and also illustrated many scientific treatises and articles (following volumes of Almanach Muzealny).
From a huge amount of author’s works - pictures connected with Warsaw, only a part is presented in the exhibition. On 135 black & white pictures we can admire a splendid architecture of the capital, often showed in an unexpected and original way, scenes from everyday life of citizens showing the people of Warsaw during the last forty years.
Ewald Pawlak has a specific attitude towards his home - city. He comes back to the same places; photographs with delight not only churches and the old town houses, but also markets, where he observes people with liking and a winking eye.
The part of exhibition, presenting photo - portraits of artists, especially the expressive ones of world-famous musicians, playing at Warsaw’s Jazz Jamboree festivals, is different in character.
“A not intended profession” - in this way the author describes his job. He was to be a sailor but he became a precise - mechanic. Before he started shooting photos he was constructing optical machines. Finally the passion of watching the world through the eye of camera won. When others where amazed by the color photography, he stated that the only true one is the “in black & white” with the whole gamma of gray. These photos do not rebuild the reality but they allow the viewers to form their own interpretations.
The highest character of the presented works lies, except for the perfect focused shots, in the ideal play with light, which is the mark of the great photographer - master of black & white photography.