The Golden Age of the Polish Republic (La edad de oro de Polonia) presents an overview of Polish history, culture and society from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The project seeks to introduce the Spanish public to the diverse and rich cultural heritage of Poland. The exhibition has been prepared by the National Museum in Kraków by Spanish invitation.
Table clock made in the tile style by Jakub Gierke, Vilnius, 1644
This major showcase of works from Poland's most illustrious period of creativity and collecting are on display in the Spanish Capital
Golden Age of the Polish Republic (La edad de oro de Polonia) presents an overview of Polish history, culture and society from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The project seeks to introduce Spaniards to the diverse and rich cultural heritage of Poland. The exhibition has been prepared by the National Museum in Kraków by Spanish invitation. It aims at showing Poland’s achievements in art and culture from the rule of King Casimir the Great (1310–1370) to the loss of independence in 1795, with a focus on the country’s greatest period of development in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The works showcased within the exhibition present a chronology of Poland’s history and demonstrate its range of artistic accomplishments. Art flourished in the country through the support of various Polish rulers and the generosity of the country's patrons - such as major landowners from Poland’s former eastern borderlands. There were also many artistic commissions from the renowned artist workshops in Western Europe.
The exhibition's eight different time periods illustrate different periods in Polish history. They include: sculpture and artisan crafts made in Poland in Medieval times; Renaissance artworks from the period of the Jagiellonian reign (1386–1572); the powerful ties between the royal powers and university circles; art and culture in the period of the Vasa Dynasty’s reign (1587-1668); 17th century funeral rites; the victory of King Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696) over the Turkish armies outside of Vienna in 1683; the Polish Republic’s rule by the Saxon House of Wettins (1697-1763); and information on King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski, the great Polish patron of science, art and literature.
Among the collected display items are Medieval coins, manufactured by Poland's first rulers, Queen Jagiellonka's embroidered book cover, items detailing the influence of Oriental art in seventeenth century Poland (as seen in noble dress and items such as sabres) as well as the Dutch influence in Gdańsk.
Of particular importance is the inclusion of Italian Renaissance masterpiece, Leonardo da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine" (c.1490).Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Culture Minister Ángeles González-Sinde and even King Juan Carlos personally were personally involved in acquiring the painting for the exhibition as it has not been available for loan since it made its way back to Poland after being plundered during the Nazi occupation. The painting was originally acquired in Italy by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski in 1798 and incorporated into the Czartoryski family collection in 1800. Following the exhibition in Madrid, the painting will go on to exhibitions in Berlin and London. The painting is one of only four portraits painted by the man behind the "Mona Lisa", which makes this a particularly significant event that has already been called "one of the biggest art events of the season" by the National newspaper El Pais.
Other important aspects of the project include a comprehensive catalogue in Spanish, English, and Polish (with contributions from such leading scholars as Professor J.Ostrowski, Professor S.Waltoś, Professor K.Pomian and Professor A.Rottermund), as well as a rich programme of events relating to various artistic and scientific fields.
The exhibition is a major part of the International Cultural Programme of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council co-ordinated by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. It comes under the Honourary Patronage of Bronisław Komorowski, President of the Republic of Poland and Juan Carlos, King of Spain. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
The Golden Age of the Polish Republic opens at the Patrimonia Nacional Palacio Real in Madrid on June 1, 2011 and runs through September 4, 2011.
Organisers: Patrimonio Nacional, National Museum in Kraków (Promise Programme). Curator: Beata Biedrońska-Słota; coordination: (National Museum in Krakow), Olga Jaros (Patrimonio Nacional): Laura Jack Sanz-Cruzado.
Calle Bailén s/n.
Source: Patrimonio Nacional, National Museum in Kraków