Kraków

Down

The trail of books and writings of historical value

Kraków

  • Medical books belonging to King Sigismund II Augustus

    The Renaissance collection of books gathered by King Sigismund II Augustus is considered to be the most famous Polish royal library. Among its diverse collection of books are historical works, as well as legal, literary, and a large collection of medical texts, acquired by the royal doctors most likely in connection with the ruler’s health problems

    Medical books belonging to King Sigismund II Augustus

    Medical books belonging to King Sigismund II Augustus

    Library of the Congregation of the Mission, ul. Stradomska 4

     

    The Renaissance collection of books gathered by King Sigismund II Augustus is considered to be the most famous Polish royal library. Among its diverse collection of books are historical works, as well as legal, literary, and a large collection of medical texts, acquired by the royal doctors most likely in connection with the ruler’s health problems. Two of these medical books were discovered several years ago in the Stradomska Library and are today among its most precious treasures. The works take the form of adligat, or a bound block composed of several separate prints contained within one cover. Medical books are bound in brown leather on wood, decorated with beautiful gold and blind embossing. On the cover there is a royal supralibros, and the ownership formula: SIGISMUNDI AVGUSTI REGIS POLONIAE MONVMENTVM, which confirm the provenance of the prints. After the king’s death, the volumes were passed by Anna Jagiellon to her doctors – Sylwester Roguski and Hieronimus of Poznań, which is confirmed by the preserved provenance notes. It is unknown what the fate of the books was before they reached the Library of the Congregation of the Mission.

    Photographs: Library of the Congregation of the Mission

  • Almanach cracoviense ad annum 1474

    Almanach cracoviense ad annum 1474 is the oldest preserved Polish print in the Latin language. It took a lot of research work to determine what press it originated from, because there is no annotation regarding the author, printer, or the time or place of publication on the calendar.

    Almanach cracoviense ad annum 1474

    Almanach cracoviense ad annum 1474

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

    Almanach cracoviense ad annum 1474 is the oldest preserved Polish print in the Latin language. It took a lot of research work to determine what press it originated from, because there is no annotation regarding the author, printer, or the time or place of publication on the calendar. Research shows that its author was a wandering Bavarian printer, Kasper Straube, who is considered to have been the first printer in Polish territory, whose work began the Gutenberg era. During his time in Poland, Kasper Straube has published four prints, one of which was the astronomical-medical almanac. Beside descriptions of the phases of the moon, much attention has been given to instructions for improving effectiveness of doctor’s procedures, such as the bloodletting that was popular at the time. The calendar notes the specific days of the year when the procedure should be performed in patients of a specific age, gender, and personality. The almanac is printed on one-sided cards, once used as a wall calendar. Few calendars from the Old Poland period have been preserved to this day, mainly due to their short-lived, fleeting character. The almanac print was discovered in the 1840s, forgotten behind the shelves of the Collegium Maius university library.

    Photographs: Jagiellonian Library

  • Panoplia evangelica sive de verbo Dei evagelico libri quinque with Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński’s autograph

    Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński figures in the pages of Old Polish literature as the leading representative of the metaphysical poetry movement. His biography, however, is shrouded in many mysteries. There are few documents which would allow for the reconstruction of the life and creative path of the poet – almost 250 years had to pass from the author’s death to the moment when the only existing copy of his poetry volume Rytmy albo wiersze polskie was found.

    Panoplia evangelica sive de verbo Dei evagelico libri quinque with Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński’s autograph

    Panoplia evangelica sive de verbo Dei evagelico libri quinque with Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński’s autograph

    Library of the Dominican House of Studies in Krakow, ul. Stolarska 12

     

    Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński figures in the pages of Old Polish literature as the leading representative of the metaphysical poetry movement. His biography, however, is shrouded in many mysteries. There are few documents which would allow for the reconstruction of the life and creative path of the poet – almost 250 years had to pass from the author’s death to the moment when the only existing copy of his poetry volume Rytmy albo wiersze polskie was found. In this light, the discovery made in the Dominican order’s library appears extraordinary. The order has for many years stored the only autograph of the poet known to date, preserved in the form of a provenance entry in the book Panoplia evangelica sive de verbo Dei evagelico libri quinque by William Damasus Lindanus. The book was the property of Sęp Szarzyński’s confessor, Fr. Antonin of Przemyśl, and after his death it became part of the Lviv library collection, which was enfolded into the Dominican library in Krakow in 1946. The poet has inscribed a Latin poem, attributed to Henryk Bebel, on the title page, along with a profile of a soldier integrated into the book’s title. A friar’s calligraphed note is also found in the book, confirming the authenticity of the note: [własność] o. Antonina z Przemyśla OP/ Po szlachetnej śmierci czcigodnego pana Mikołaja Sępa, męża nad innych świątobliwego i uczonego, z którym w wielkiej zażyłości żyłem, w dowód wiecznej miłości ową pamiątkę [ów wpis] daję. [[property of:] Fr. Antonin of Przemyśl OP/After the noble death of the venerable Mikołaj Sęp, a man more holy and learned than others, with whom I lived in great familiarity, as proof of eternal love I give [this inscription].]

    Photo: Katarzyna Płaszczyńska-Herman, Library of the Dominican House of Studies in Krakow

  • Banderia Prutenorum by Jan Długosz

    The mid-15th century manuscript Banderia Prutenorum is an attempt to describe and faithfully illustrate 56 Teutonic banners captured by the Polish-Lithuanian forces in glorious combat – at the Battle of Grunwald, the Battle of Koronowo, and the Battle of Dąbki near Nakło (in the years 1410-1431).

    Banderia Prutenorum by Jan Długosz

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

    The mid-15th century manuscript Banderia Prutenorum is an attempt to describe and faithfully illustrate 56 Teutonic banners captured by the Polish-Lithuanian forces in glorious combat – at the Battle of Grunwald, the Battle of Koronowo, and the Battle of Dąbki near Nakło (in the years 1410-1431). The work has three authors – Jan Długosz, who worked on the descriptions of the banners and was the initiator of the document, a Krakow painter, Stanisław Durink, who in 1448 prepared the illustrations, and a third, unknown author who expanded and completed Długosz’s descriptions. Banderia Prutenorum consists of 48 parchment pages measuring 18.6 cm by 29.3 cm, written in Latin. This was the first historical document created in Poland, as well as a pioneering and almost the only complete collection of army banners created in the Middle Ages. Before 1940, the manuscript was stored in the Wawel cathedral, and during World War II Hans Frank had it moved to the castle in Malbork. Later fate of the document is unknown until it surfaced in London, from where it reached the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw. In 1963, as part of the 600th anniversary of the founding of the Jagiellonian University, it was donated to the Jagiellonian Library. The work has been entered onto the Polish national “Memory of the World” UNESCO list along with 11 other Polish historical written works.

  • Bogurodzica

    The oldest known manuscript of the hymn Bogurodzica (Mother of God) along with the sheet music is stored in Krakow. The first two verses of the song have been preserved, surviving as the lining of the lower inset in another manuscript – a collection of Latin sermons copied by a vicar from Kcynia, Maciej of Grochów.

    Bogurodzica

    Bogurodzica

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

    The oldest known manuscript of the hymn Bogurodzica (Mother of God) along with the sheet music is stored in Krakow. The first two verses of the song have been preserved, surviving as the lining of the lower inset in another manuscript – a collection of Latin sermons copied by a vicar from Kcynia, Maciej of Grochów. The artefact is dated from 1407, although the song itself was probably already known at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. Bogurodzica is the first Polish song recorded in writing, as well as the first preserved poetic work in Polish literature. The hymn accompanied the most important events in Polish history, through which it came to be considered as a wartime song – it accompanied Polish knights in the Battle of Grunwald, for example. In 1934, the artefact was separated from the manuscript it was a part of and underwent conservation work. Currently, it resides in a special case, designed to protect the priceless treasure. The hymn first appeared in print in 1506 in Krakow, in Statut Jana Łaskiego.

    Photograph: Jagiellonian Library

  • Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils, Stefan Fridolin

    The shelves of the Krakow library of the Dominican order store a unique copy of a luxury edition of the work Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils, dated for 1491. The book was published by one of the most respected printers of the time, the Nuremberg printing house owned by Anton Koberger.

    Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils, Stefan Fridolin

    Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils, Stefan Fridolin

    Library of Dominican House of Studies in Krakow, ul. Stolarska 12

    The shelves of the Krakow library of the Dominican order store a unique copy of a luxury edition of the work Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils, dated for 1491. The book was published by one of the most respected printers of the time, the Nuremberg printing house owned by Anton Koberger. The text of the work, edited by Franciscan monk Stefan Fridolin, is based on the Bible and tells the story of the life and passion of Christ in one hundred events, embellished with full-page illustrations. The author’s premise for the work was to refer to the Middle Age Biblia Pauperum, which combined text with eloquent illustrations, composed so that the religious content could also reach illiterate persons. In preparation of this edition, the formal values were carefully attended to, and the work was enriched with magnificent woodcut illustrations, as well as luxurious book binding. The woodcuts in the book were made by Michael Wolgemut, the master and inspiration of Albrecht Dürer.

    The work may be viewed at the following link: http://bc.dominikanie.pl/publication/1084

    Photograph: Katarzyna Płaszczyńska-Herman, Library of the Dominican House of Studies in Krakow

  • Evangeliary of St Emmeram

    The manuscript, which is a representative example of the art of Bavarian illumination, was created in the 11th or 12 century in the Regensburg scriptorium at St Emmeram’s Abbey.

    Evangeliary of St Emmeram

    The Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter, Wawel 3

    The manuscript, which is a representative example of the art of Bavarian illumination, was created in the 11th or 12 century in the Regensburg scriptorium at St Emmeram’s Abbey. The evangeliary is decorated with animal and floral initials; however, its particular value is due to the miniatures it contains, among them images of the evangelists, St Emmeram presented on a throne with an open book, as well as German kings, whose identity, which may have helped to determine the exact date of the work’s composition, remains a matter of dispute among researchers. Further difficulty is posed by attempts to find a connection between the content of the evangeliary and the graphical layer of the work, since the miniatures do not serve an illustrator function for the text, which is a meaningful and surprising characteristic of the work. The evangeliary arrived at the Wawel cathedral most likely through Judith of Swabia, daughter of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, or as part of the dowry of Agnes of Babenberg, wife of Władysław II the Exile.

    Photograph: The Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter

  • Gradual of King John I Albert of Poland

    This extraordinary written artefact was donated to the Wawel cathedral over 500 years ago. The work, funded by King John I Albert, known for his love for art and beautiful books, was created between 1499 and 1506. The music book manuscript is composed of three richly illustrated tomes, which are proof of the artistic skill of Krakow miniaturists and the dynamic development of book illumination of the time

    Gradual of King John I Albert of Poland

    Gradual of King John I Albert of Poland

    The Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter, Wawel 3

    This extraordinary written artefact was donated to the Wawel cathedral over 500 years ago. The work, funded by King John I Albert, known for his love for art and beautiful books, was created between 1499 and 1506. The music book manuscript is composed of three richly illustrated tomes, which are proof of the artistic skill of Krakow miniaturists and the dynamic development of book illumination of the time. The manuscript contains 47 miniatures, as well as numerous margin illustrations maintained in a colour scheme typical of the Gothic – dominated by reds, greens, and blues, accented by gilding. The work was written down by two scribes: Tomasz and Stanisław, while the illustrations were most likely done by several artists, which the stylistic diversity of the tomes speaks to. The most important of these is considered to be Maciej of Drohiczyn.

    The illustrations are a reflection of the continual intermingling of the sacred and the profane. The initial miniatures, which usually have a symbolic character, express spiritual values and theological content, and introduce an atmosphere of prayerful gravitas and exaltedness. The 18 miniatures refer to secular topics, inspired by folk imagination, as well as motifs typical for courtly love romances and legends. The margin adornments, mainly figural ornamentation, are a colourful praise of the material world, not lacking in comical and trivial elements.

    Photograph: The Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter

  • Carmelite Gradual of Fr. Stanisław of Stolec

    The Carmelite gradual is probably one of the most magnificent relics of the epoch, due to the impressive size (52 cm x 70.5 cm) and the richness of the decorations and illustrations. The parchment manuscript is the work of Carmelite friar Stanisław of Stolec, who lived for most of his life in the Carmelite monastery in Piasek.

    Carmelite Gradual of Fr. Stanisław of Stolec

    Carmelite Gradual of Fr. Stanisław of Stolec

    Carmelite Archive and Library in Piasek, ul. Karmelicka 19

     

    The Carmelite gradual is probably one of the most magnificent relics of the epoch, due to the impressive size (52 cm x 70.5 cm) and the richness of the decorations and illustrations. The parchment manuscript is the work of Carmelite friar Stanisław of Stolec, who lived for most of his life in the Carmelite monastery in Piasek. Work on the gradual was finished in 1644, and its culmination is a work of 258 sheets, eye-catching because of their beautiful graphic design – the friar placed almost a hundred miniatures in the work, along with numerous initials and page decorations, kept in warm, intense colours, enriched with gilding. In his work, Fr Stanisław showed great creative freedom; however, the miniatures are incorporated into liturgical text and illustrate its content – showing the story of Christ’s life and passion, apocalyptic visions, the life of the friars, and scenes portraying events known to the author. Today, the gradual is a superb exhibit, reflecting both the traditions of the Carmelite order in Krakow and the religiousness of the Baroque connected with the notion of the world of the time.

    Photograph: Carmelite Archive and Library in Piasek

  • Balthazar Behem Codex

    The Balthazar Behem Codex, completed in 1505, is a collection of the statutes and privileges of the city of Krakow, along with guild bylaws regulating the work of Krakow craftsmen. As a whole, it is a colourful attestation of the burgher life, showing a panorama of socio-cultural phenomena. The manuscript is written in Gothic capitals in three languages: Latin, German, and Polish, by a city notary, Balthazar Behem.

    Balthazar Behem Codex

    Balthazar Behem Codex

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

     

    The Balthazar Behem Codex, completed in 1505, is a collection of the statutes and privileges of the city of Krakow, along with guild bylaws regulating the work of Krakow craftsmen. As a whole, it is a colourful attestation of the burgher life, showing a panorama of socio-cultural phenomena. The manuscript is written in Gothic capitals in three languages: Latin, German, and Polish, by a city notary, Balthazar Behem. Because of Behem’s early death, the work was not finished by him, and the name of the person who completed the book is not known. The reader’s eye is delighted by 27 colourful miniatures, showing the professions of the time, guild and merchant coats of arms, and the city landscape and the charms of everyday life at the beginning of the 16th century. The author of the miniatures is also unknown – they were most likely created by several illuminators, overseen by a master known traditionally as the Master of the Balthazar Behem Codex. The codex illustrators are a testimony to the important turn in Polish illumination art, which had until that time focused on the subject of the sacred and consciously avoided secular topics.

    Photograph: Jagiellonian Library

  • De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Nicolaus Copernicus’ autograph

    The manuscript of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium stored in the Jagiellonian Library is considered to be the most famous in the collection. Copernicus presented his heliocentric theory in the work, irreversibly changing the way people thought about the world. For a long time, the work was in the banned books index.

    De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Nicolaus Copernicus’ autograph

    De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Nicolaus Copernicus’ autograph

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

     

    The manuscript of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium stored in the Jagiellonian Library is considered to be the most famous in the collection. Copernicus presented his heliocentric theory in the work, irreversibly changing the way people thought about the world. For a long time, the work was in the banned books index. The manuscript is well-preserved, and consists of 213 paper sheets 28 cm x 19 cm in size, making up the text of the six books of De revolutionibus, written in humanist cursive in Latin and Greek. Copernicus added his autograph between 1520 and 1541; however, it did not constitute a direct basis for publishing in print. It did serve as the original for the copy made by Copernicus’ student, Georg Joachim Rheticus, who undertook work on publishing the first edition in 1543 in Wittenberg. Stored at the Jagiellonian Library since 1952, the manuscript was added to the international “Memory of the World” UNESCO list in 1999, due to its great value to the development of humanity and science.

    Photographs: Jagiellonian Library

  • Juliusz Słowacki’s Ksiądz Marek [Father Mark] Autograph

    Juliusz Słowacki’s drama in three acts touches on the subject of the Bar Confederation and shows the poet’s position regarding national liberation struggles. It is not, however, a faithful representation of the intricacy of the legendary historical figure of the Carmelite father Mark, but rather Słowacki’s own interpretation of the Bar myth that was so popular at the time, as well as an artistic debate with Adam Mickiewicz’s interpretation of the events.

    Juliusz Słowacki’s Ksiądz Marek [Father Mark] Autograph

    Juliusz Słowacki’s Ksiądz Marek [Father Mark] Autograph

    Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow,
    ul. Sławkowska 17

     

    Juliusz Słowacki’s drama in three acts touches on the subject of the Bar Confederation and shows the poet’s position regarding national liberation struggles. It is not, however, a faithful representation of the intricacy of the legendary historical figure of the Carmelite father Mark, but rather Słowacki’s own interpretation of the Bar myth that was so popular at the time, as well as an artistic debate with Adam Mickiewicz’s interpretation of the events. The work, written in 1843, during his so-called “mystical period”, was published by the author the same year in a Paris printing house. Shortly after the work was published, Słowacki gifted the autograph to his friend, Józef Reitzenheim. Since then, the manuscript had three more owners, known for their love of books – Teofil Lenartowicz, Kazimierz Władysław Wójcicki, and Cyprian Walewski, who donated over ten thousand books to the Academy of Learning, including the valuable memento of Słowacki. Luckily, the drama was not damaged during World War II; however, several decades of storage in improper conditions meant that conservation work to preserve and secure the autograph was needed. The autograph is stored in the Special Collection of the Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow.

    Photographs:

    Portrait of Juliusz Słowacki, Antoni Oleszczyński, print J. Unger 1858, ms. 1920 Special Collection of the Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow

    Title page of the Ksiądz Marek autograph by Juliusz Słowacki, 1843, ms. 1920 c. 1, Special Collection of the Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow

  • Franciszek Karpiński’s Laura i Filon [Laura and Philo]

    Laura i Filon is probably the most recognisable idylls of the Polish sentimental movement, repeatedly inspiring artists to reproduce the motifs and poetic imagery created by Franciszek Karpiński.

    Franciszek Karpiński’s Laura i Filon [Laura and Philo]

    Franciszek Karpiński’s Laura i Filon [Laura and Philo]

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

    Laura i Filon is probably the most recognisable idylls of the Polish sentimental movement, repeatedly inspiring artists to reproduce the motifs and poetic imagery created by Franciszek Karpiński. The work was first published in 1780 in a tome of poetry, Zabawki wierszem i przykłady obyczajne [Games with verse and examples of customs], which the author dedicated to Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski. In the manuscript stored at the Jagiellonian Library, the idyll bears a different title than the one that readers are familiar with – the working title was simply Laura. Sielanka [Laura. An idyll.]. Three melodic lines are associated with the poem, one of which became the inspiration for Frédéric Chopin’s Fantasy on Polish Airs.

    Photograph: Jagiellonian Library

  • First edition of Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz

    The first edition of the national epic was published in 1834, in the printing house of Aleksander Jełowicki, in three thousand copies. The poem was the result of two years of Mickiewicz’s intensive creative work during his emigration in France.

    First edition of Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz

    First edition of Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

    The first edition of the national epic was published in 1834, in the printing house of Aleksander Jełowicki, in three thousand copies. The poem was the result of two years of Mickiewicz’s intensive creative work during his emigration in France. Although Pan Tadeusz is today considered to be the most important work in the history of Polish literature, it did not enjoy great popularity in the years after publication. This prompted Jełowicki in 1838 to add the unsold copies to a collection of the bard’s poetic works. The first edition of the epic consists of two volumes, each of which has a separate title page. A characteristic element of the first edition is the bust of Adam Mickiewicz on the first page of the poem, as well as a few illustrations that enrich the text.

    Link to Digital Jagiellonian Library: oai:jbc.bj.uj.edu.pl:232571
    Photographs: Jagiellonian Library

  • Manuscript of Praedicationes (Ms. 140, c. 100v)

    The collection of Lent sermons known as Praedicationes is the oldest manuscript artefact in Poland, with the date of creation estimated to be the year 800. The Manuscript was probably created in one of the medieval scriptoria in northern Italy by an Irish monk. Praedicationes consists of 107 parchment pages decorated with initials, as well as zoomorphic and knotwork ornamentation, maintained in shades of green, brown, and yellow, characteristic for pre-Romanesque art.

    Manuscript of Praedicationes (Ms. 140, c. 100v)

    Manuscript of Praedicationes (Ms. 140, c. 100v)

    The Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter, Wawel 3

    The collection of Lent sermons known as Praedicationes is the oldest manuscript artefact in Poland, with the date of creation estimated to be the year 800. The Manuscript was probably created in one of the medieval scriptoria in northern Italy by an Irish monk. Praedicationes consists of 107 parchment pages decorated with initials, as well as zoomorphic and knotwork ornamentation, maintained in shades of green, brown, and yellow, characteristic for pre-Romanesque art. The manuscript contains one full-page miniature showing the crux gemmate, or jewelled cross – a symbolic iconographic image found mainly in Early Christian and Early Medieval art. The symbols of the four Evangelists are inscribed into the space around the arms of the cross: the lion, the angel, the eagle, and the bull. Besides the text of Lenten sermons, the work also contains descriptions of previous stones and the extraordinary values ascribed to them, as well as a collection of weather exorcisms. The precious manuscript was brought to Krakow by Polish archbishop Aron. The work is kept at the Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter in Wawel.

    http://www.katedra-wawelska.pl/images/Image/_8.jpg

    http://www.katedra-wawelska.pl/images/Image/_8.jpg

    Photograph by courtesy of The Archives and Library of the Krakow Cathedral Chapter

  • Manuscript of Liber viginti artium by Paulus Paulirinus of Prague

    The legendary meaning of the book is connected with the mysterious history, most likely from the 17th century, according to which the authorship of the codex was ascribed to the master of the magical arts, Jan Twardowski. And despite the fact that belief in the sorcerer’s existence is viewed by historians with a large dose of scepticism, it is impossible to deny that the character is deeply rooted in folk and literary tradition, enticing the bold few to seek out memorabilia of the master’s work.

    Manuscript of Liber viginti artium by Paulus Paulirinus of Prague

    The legendary meaning of the book is connected with the mysterious history, most likely from the 17th century, according to which the authorship of the codex was ascribed to the master of the magical arts, Jan Twardowski. And despite the fact that belief in the sorcerer’s existence is viewed by historians with a large dose of scepticism, it is impossible to deny that the character is deeply rooted in folk and literary tradition, enticing the bold few to seek out memorabilia of the master’s work. The parchment codex Liber viginti artium, also known as Księga Twardowskiego [Twardowski’s Book], was considered to be tangible proof of the mage’s existence. As legend says, the master’s students found the book in an old quarry, and one of the pages bore the Devil’s handprint. Page 141 of the book stored in the Jagiellonian Library bears a large black stain that is supposedly a trace of the devilish power… In reality, the book was not written by Twardowski, but one Paulus Paulirinus of Prague, also known as the Jew, who created the extensive, encyclopaedic work in the 15th century. What about the devil’s handprint on the parchment? Well… it’s only a stain made by spilled black ink.

    Link to Digital Jagiellonian Library: oai:jbc.bj.uj.edu.pl:150217

  • Album Umarli i żywi [The dead and the living], Teofil Lenartowicz

    The album, assembled by Teofil Lenartowicz over the course of almost 30 years, is a unique work, impressive both because of its valuable content, but also because of the collector’s passion that much have accompanied its creation.

    Album Umarli i żywi [The dead and the living], Teofil Lenartowicz

    Album Umarli i żywi [The dead and the living], Teofil Lenartowicz

    Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow,
    ul. Sławkowska 17

     

    The album, assembled by Teofil Lenartowicz over the course of almost 30 years, is a unique work, impressive both because of its valuable content, but also because of the collector’s passion that much have accompanied its creation. In his album, Lenartowicz gathered very diverse material: 47 literary works (from 29 artists, including Aleksander Fredro and Józef Ignacy Kraszewski), about 40 drawings and watercolours (including Julian Fałat’s watercolours), an immense collection of letters from over 50 senders, as well as the likenesses of known persons and photographs of friends. Among the particularly valuable memorabilia gathered in the album are the so-called Norwidiana, which consist of six autographs of Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s poems (W albumie, Do Teofila Lenartowicza, etc.) and watercolours. The album consists of 300 pages filled with the artistic legacy of the most prominent creators of the period. Many of them knew about Lenartowicz’s idea and sent him pieces to be included in the collection, which is evidenced by the many dedications and titles of the gifts. For years, the form in which the album was assembled was preserved, but it appears impossible to indicate the key according to which they should be read. The collection is not arranged chronologically or by subject, but it is still a very interesting picture of Polish romantic culture and the artistic imagination of the period. The work was donated to the Polish Academy of Learning by Ignacy Chrzanowski, and it is kept in the Special Collection of the Academic Library of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow,

    Photographs:

    Head of a girl, watercolour, Julian Fałat from 1889, Special Collection, Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow

    Pragnę… [Christ on a cross], etching, Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Special Collection, Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow

    Portrait of Cyprian Kamil Norwid, photograph, Special Collection, Academic Library of the Polish Academy of Learning and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow

  • Wesele [The Wedding], Stanisław Wyspiański

    Among the collection of literary rarities of the Jagiellonian Library is the first edition of Stanisław Wyspiański’s most famous drama – Wesele. The play was published in Krakow in 1901 by the author, in a Jagiellonian University printing house.

    Wesele [The Wedding], Stanisław Wyspiański

    Wesele [The Wedding], Stanisław Wyspiański

    Jagiellonian Library, ul. Oleandry 3

     

    Among the collection of literary rarities of the Jagiellonian Library is the first edition of Stanisław Wyspiański’s most famous drama – Wesele. The play was published in Krakow in 1901 by the author, in a Jagiellonian University printing house. The drama is considered to be one of the most important literary works that take up the subject of Polish national identity. It is also a colourful representation of the customs of Bronowice, a village near Krakow. There is no need to convince the readers of the literary value of the work, the edition also delights through its form. Wesele has been enhanced with colourful watercolour illustrations painted by a Young Polish painter, Kazimierz Sichulski. Musical notation of wedding music that was popular at the time in village customs has also been added. The whole of the book is bound in a colourful, Krakow shawl. The intensification of the methods of expression and the care taken with the formal dimensions show Wyspiański’s aspirations towards fully expressing his creative vision.

    Photograph: Jagiellonian Library