„Thousand Treasures of Krakow: History and Art„ at hand’s reach – the International Cultural Centre presents a monumental album that tells a new story of the city through the lens of the most valuable objects of material heritage from Krakow’s public, church, and private collections. This publication seeks to present a new narrative of the city that includes the most recent and often dynamically changing state of research on its history and tradition.
The ICC’s recent publication, titled Thousand Treasures of Krakow: History and Art is a result of more than three years of research inspired by the Municipality of Krakow. A team of acclaimed specialists, invited to work on this project by Professor Jacek Purchla, made a choice of the titular “treasures”, while results of their work made an exceptional publication that presents Krakow’s thousand-year-long history and its multicultural and complex identity.
Discussed objects come from a variety of epochs, from the most remote times to the present day. The publication presents not only the most treasured historic objects and artworks, but also valuable urban layouts, cultural phenomena that were important for Krakow, as well as non-material heritage. Apart from iconic works related with the city, such as the altar by Veit Stoss, the globally famous Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci, or Jan Matejko’s The Prussian Homage, the album contains also less obvious examples that create a new narrative of the city. Of special interest are the Krakow nativity scenes (szopki), a priceless collection of German airplanes at the Polish Aviation Museum, a collection of musical autographs of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach at the Jagiellonian Library, the mosaic at the wall of the Biprostal high-rise, or Andrzej Mleczko’s drawings.
The book is divided into 6 chronological chapters, each featuring two specialists. In each chapter, a historian defines the political, religious, economic, and social background of the era. An art historian, on the other hand, completes this picture with a synthesis of broadly understood artistic culture. Special role is played by 20 “capsules”, i.e. separate, independent texts on particular objects or examples of non-material heritage.
The titular treasures are collected in catalogues placed at the end of each chapter, offering a rich illustrative material. Notable is the fact that the authors decided to present them in the context of the city’s history, rather than actual date of their making. “The Lady with an Ermine” from the 15th century is featured in the chapter on 19th-century collecting, while the tombstone of the Queen Jadwiga is discussed in the context of restoration works in the Wawel cathedral in the early 20th century. For this reason, Thousand Treasures of Krakow can be approached on several levels. The texts offer a synthesis of Krakow’s history and art. Illustrations, as a visual complement, play the role of guides around the collections and individual treasures.
The publication is thoroughly modern – excellent graphic design, professional photographs and insightful as well as accessible and colourful texts will certainly be appreciated by those passionate about Krakow’s history, as well as by a wide group of readers. The album can, therefore, offer a key to understand the great popularity of Krakow in recent years, as well as a perfect tool for its promotion. A sophisticated graphic layer makes the book both a useful compendium of knowledge on history and culture, as well as a beautiful and luxurious souvenir.
Publication of the book was sponsored by the Municipality of Krakow.
Scientific editors of the project Thousand Treasures of Krakow: Jacek Purchla, Joanna Ziętkiewicz-Kotz
Scientific board of the project Thousand Treasures of Krakow: Andrzej Betlej, Krzysztof J. Czyżewski, Stanisław Dziedzic, Łukasz Galusek, Marcin Fabiański, Kamila Follprecht, Karolina Grodziska, Michał Niezabitowski, Katarzyna Olesiak, Jacek Purchla (przewodniczący), abp Grzegorz Ryś, Krzysztof Stopka, ks. Jacek Urban, Marek Walczak, Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik, Joanna Ziętkiewicz-Kotz (sekretarz)
Editor-in-chief: Paulina Orłowska-Bańdo
Authors of chapters: Andrzej Chwalba, Krzysztof J. Czyżewski, Karolina Grodziska, Anna Król, Waldemar Łazuga, Michał Niezabitowski, Zdzisław Noga, Jacek Purchla, Krzysztof Stopka, Marek Walczak
Authors of capsules: Kamila Follprecht, Edyta Gawron, Mateusz Grzęda, Anna Król, Jakub Link-Lenczowski, Leszek Mazan, Michał Niezabitowski, Magdalena Oleszkiewicz, Karolina Pachla-Wojciechowska, Zdzisław Pietrzyk, Magdalena Piwocka, Elżbieta Pobiegły, Jacek Purchla, Andrzej Iwo Szoka, Janusz Wałek