WE DIFFER IN FAITH. PROOFS OF MULTI-RELIGIOUS COEXISTENCE IN THE FIRST POLISH REPUBLIC IN OLD PRINTS FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM IN KRAKOW.
The exhibition presented rare religious prints and old maps of the area of the First Polish Republic.
The display was arranged in two rooms. The Library Hall presented fifty-eight prints dating back to the period from the 15th to the 18th century, including liturgical texts, theological treatises, religious polemics, collections of sermons and hymns as well as catechisms and prayer books of various denominations: Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Uniate. It also featured some of the religious heritage of Judaism and – to a lesser extent – Islam. The most valuable exhibits included the Protestant Bible in the Polish language, called Radziwiłłowska or Brest Bible, printed in Brest-Litovsk in 1563 thanks to Prince Mikołaj Radziwiłł the Black. It is the second translation of the Scriptures into Polish after the famous translation by Jan Leopolita in 1561. Another noteworthy object is the Catechism by Walenty Kuczborski dating back to 1568. Its original was published in Latin in Rome in 1566 and constituted a compendium of the truths of the Catholic faith, presented in response to Protestantism taking root in Europe. Poles could read this translation after only two years.
In the Cartographic Room, visitors could see twenty-three examples of beautiful old maps and atlases (16th - 20th century). One of the most valuable exhibits was Feliks Nagrajkowski's map, depicting the location of Bernardine monasteries in the province of Wielkopolska and providing a list of provincials. The elaborate copperplate dates back to the year 1821. Another interesting object for visitors from the Małopolska region was certainly a map of the Krakow province during the period of the Great Sejm, made by Karol Buczek and published in 1930. It features, among other things, the boundaries of estates belonging to secular and regular clergy in the area. The map included information about the churches, chapels, monasteries and convents, with notes determining whether the buildings were made of wood or brick.
Exhibitions of valuable old prints and cartography from the collection of the National Museum in Krakow – numbering approximately thirty-six thousand volumes – are held regularly in the well-preserved private library of the Emeryk Hutten-Czapski Museum – Branch of the National Museum in Krakow. Hutten-Czapski, a numismatist and collector, was a founder of the private museum, which after his death was transferred to the National Museum by the decision of the widow, Elżbieta Czapska neé Meyendorff, and her sons, Karol and Jerzy Czapski.
- We try to arrange our regular displays of old prints, often very rare in Polish collections, on the basis of their intriguing themes – says the exhibition curator Iwona Długopolska, a curator in the Department of Old Prints, Manuscripts and Cartography of the National Museum in Krakow. - After the exhibition titled Bloody Mars. Military old prints in the collections of the National Museum of Krakow – where the viewers could admire objects such as old chronicles featuring battle descriptions or presentations of battle scenes – we have prepared a display which tells the story of the coexistence of citizens of different faiths, cultures and traditions in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which continued for centuries.
Exhibition curator: Iwona Długopolska – curator in the Department of Old Prints, Manuscripts and Cartography of the National Museum in Krakow.