on February 17, 2007
The Czartoryski Museum is an eclectic and interesting collection of artwork and curios begun by Princess Isabella Czartoryski in 1800 and continued by her descendants. Originally situated in the Polish town of Pulawy the collection was brought to Krakow in the early 1870s where is has remained since except for the disruption and removal of various pieces during the First and Second World Wars.The archaeology gallery contains an impressive selection of classical statuary, sarcophagi and - always a source of fascination - mummies including mummified cats and birds. There is also an exhibition of weaponry and armour, much of it Turkish captured after the Battle of Vienna on 1683.For many, though, it is the art gallery on the second floor which is the main attraction of the museum. The Dutch paintings are especially interesting and include Rembrandt’s “Landscape with the Good Samaritan” however the highlight is probably Leonardo Da Vinci’s sublime “Lady With an Ermine.” Thought to be a representation of the mistress of Duke Lodovico Sforza of Milan the painting, c.1482, is wonderfully executed and with that air of mystery that imbues many of Da Vinci’s portraits. The Czartoryski is a fascinating museum and the diversity of the exhibits, almost as if they were assembled by reason of the simple fancy of the buyer rather than a strict adherence to a theme, gives it a relaxed, endearingly chaotic nature like the display cabinet of a well travelled aunt.Most of the exhibits are labelled in Polish and English and there is also a guide book available but with some rooms closed it was at times difficult to get ones bearings. For opening times – which do vary - visit the website http://www.muzeum-czartoryskich.krakow.pl/prawe/muzeumf.htm. The site is in Polish but ticket prices and opening times are fairly self-explanatory.
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