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  • Magdalena Herman

Ars Graphica Polska in the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cracow

On 27th April Ars Graphica Polska visited Polska Akademia Umiejętności (Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences) in Cracow. It was a very intensive day! Our meeting was divided into three parts run by Joanna Dziewulska, Krzyszfof Krużel, and Adam Korczyński.

Firstly, after an early trip from Warsaw to Cracow, we were generously greeted with breakfast and an introduction to the PAUart project by Joanna Dziewulska. If you don’t remember the previous post about this project, please find it here.

Joanna Dziewulska talked about the mission of the project, funding sources, and future plans. She also underlined that the platform had been constructed with the greatest care for users – its purpose was to provide high-quality images in public domain and easy-to-use interface. Moreover, the authors of this database aimed at creating user-friendly database software for researchers who input the records. Our host presented the specially designed programme Collectio which allows to describe precisely all the records and involves extended tagging system along with the use of Iconoclass classification. She also introduced us to many technical issues concerning the server room, backups, hardware, photography and scanning equipment. This short glimpse into PAUart team project made us realize even better how well every part of this platform is thought-out and how engaged all the people are in its development.

Afterwards, we went to the Print Room, where Krzysztof Krużel was already waiting with his selection of prints from 15th to 19th centuries. The Print Room is a part of the Scientific Library of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow. The prints collection is one of the most valuable in Poland. It numbers over 98,000 prints. At the very beginning, Krzysztof Krużel presented a hand-coloured Hartmann Schedel’s Chronicle of the world, published in 1493 which was still bound in an early leather binding.

This visit was a wonderful opportunity to admire and to study closely works in various techniques by artists such as Martin Schongauer, Lucas van Leyden, Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Antonio da Trento, Hendrick Goltzius, Rembrandt, Claude Mellan, William Hoghart, Richard Earlom. Krzysztof Krużel shared insightful remarks on the presented prints. He also introduced us to the history of the collection. Currently, 5,000 objects from the collection are available at PAUart, but the records’ number is still being updated. If you want to learn more, we highly encourage you to visit a page on the history of the collection and the PAUart!

In the afternoon, Adam Korczyński invited us to see the Lanckoroński Phototeca. This collection is not so well-known and it is a huge mistake. The Lanckoroński Phototeca has belonged to PAU since 1929 when Karol Lanckoroński donated his collection of approximately 60,000 photographs. The collection nowadays contains over 40,000 photographs. The collection is still being organized and digitalized.

It comprises works of many famous photographs and photographic ateliers. The range of subjects is very wide. It includes photographs of many artworks (from antiquity to the 19th century), archeologic expeditions, and Karol Lanckoroński’s travels documentation.

The collection could constitute a wonderful resource for studying various subjects from a post-colonial perspective, conducting research on the history of archaeology, ethnology, anthropology, and finding early images of monuments and artworks. Last but not least, it should be studied for the art of photography itself.

Ars Graphica Polska is very grateful for a wonderful, intensive and thought-provoking meeting. We truly admire the competence, dedication and passion of our hosts!

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