"The Knights Templar - History and Myth"

Jan Matejko,
ST. LOUIS, THE KING OF FRANCE, EMBARKING ON A CRUSADE,
1876, District Museum in Torun
TEMPLARIUSZE. HISTORIA I MIT / THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR - HISTORY AND MYTH will be the first exhibition on its subject ever to be organized in Central and Eastern Europe and will simultaneously attempt to summarize the inter-disciplinary research done on this subject in Poland.

The exhibit will consist of two parts, the first devoted to the history of the order, with special emphasis on its presence in areas currently lying within Poland; the second exploring the manner in which the myth of the Knights Templar arose near the beginning of the 16th century and has developed continuously to this day. Highlights of the first section will include unique works of Romanesque art, including gold and silver items of the 17th and 18th centuries, deriving from, among others, the collections of Wawel Cathedral Museum and branches of the National Museum in Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Wroclaw and Szczecin. The exhibition will also be the first ever to present the findings of archeological research conducted in the former commanderies of the Knights Templar in Rurka near Szczecin and in Chwarszczany. The display will include never-before shown artifacts of secret organizations which claimed a genesis related to the Knights Templar (including rare old prints of the Rosicrucians and jewels of the Masons), as well as paintings and prints of the Romantic and Historicist periods (among them, the works of Jan Matejko and W. Schwadow).

Apart from pieces of "high art," the exhibit will grant equal importance to "popular culture" items (literature, film, Internet content) exploring the subject of the Knights Templar. With "new media" and "classical" artifacts juxtaposed, the exhibit will be an "interactive" presentation providing visitors with an opportunity to take an active role in exploring the material on display (multimedia workstations will provide access to Internet-sites popularizing the Order of the Knights Templar and allow visitors to play computer games related to the subject).

Ring from Pezin, 12th century, National Museum in Szczecin
Encolpion, mid 13th century, Museum in Brodnica

The exhibition will be accompanied by a two-part publication. The first section will consist of essays discussing the history of the Knights Templar throughout the world and in Poland (Maria Starnawska, Ph.D.), the findings of archeological research performed in the buildings of the Knights Templar in Poland (Przemyslaw Kolosowski, Ph.D.), art within the order (Blazej Skazinski) and the history of myths related to the Knights Templar from the Middle Ages to contemporary times (Slawomir Majoch). The second section of the publication will be a catalogue of the items presented in the exhibition and a bibliography of works devoted to the Knights Templar. The entirety will be richly illustrated.

A special Internet-based information service has been established at www.templariusze.org.
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