Sep 012012
 

A dreary day in Krakow, with clouds and occasional rain — Just like the forecast.  But inside it didn’t matter — especially for a couple of Krakow’s highlights.

A dreary day in Krakow — From the Cloth Hall towards St. Mary’s.

Nowe Sukiennice/National Museum in Krakow, Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice

For the first time in four visits to Krakow, the improvements in the Market Square are completed.  The renovations to the Sukienice took place between 2006 and 2010, and a whole new museum dedicated to the centuries of Krakowian history, was built under the square in an area roughly covered by the left half of the photo above.

About half of the “Chełmoński Room: Realism, Polish Impressionism, Beginnings of Symbolism.”

Some of the paintings I liked:

Four-In-Hand, Jozef Chelmonski, 1881

Powerful imagery of horses racing across a barren landscape…One of the Museum’s signature pieces, it is a big painting, as you can tell from the objects to each side.

Four-In-Hand

A Meeting on a Bridge, Jozef Brandt, 1886

A Meeting on a Bridge

Christmas Eve in Siberia, Jacek Malczwewski, 1892

Christmas Eve in Siberia

School of Talmudists, Samuel Hirzenberg, 1887

School of Talmudists

Saint Mary’s Basilica, and the Veit Stoss Altar

Occupying a corner of the Market Square from the end of the 13th Century, St. Mary’s shares major landmark duties with the Cloth Hall, as well as being a functioning house of worship.  What draws visitors is the High Altar, carved by Bavarian Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz) between 1477 and 1489.  Opened, it is about 13 meters high and 11 wide.  When the wings are closed, there are 12 scenes of Mary’s suffering.   At the start of WWII it was taken apart by the Poles, crated, and hidden around the country.  The Germans discovered it, and sent the altar to the basement of Nuremberg Castle.  It was repatriated in 1846 and restoration was completed in 1957.

The walls of the presbytery are lined with painted and gilded relief sculptures, and the ceiling is painted blue with golden stars.  Wall paintings by Jan Matejko and windows by Stanislaw Wyspianski and Jozef Mehoffer.

 

View along the side of the Presbytery towards the High Altar.

The main panels of the Veit Stoss High Altar.

The Presbytery from altar to ceiling.

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