Two-voiced Credo

Muzeum Narodowe Ziemi PrzemyskiejExhibition at: Main Building, 1, Joselewicza Square, 2nd floor.

Exhibition presents the items from National Museum of Przemyśl District’s holdings, concerning sacral art of two nations i.e. Poles and Ukrainians that were creating together the history of these terrains of the Polish Commonwealth. That is why the title of the exhibition is: The two-voiced Credo.

Historical objects documenting multi-national structure of the local community were being collected from the very beginnings of our museum. During one-century history of the museum we acquired circa 800 icons and a great number of various items of Eastern Church liturgy (like Epitaphios images, antimensia, liturgical vestments and accessories). Also abundant is our collection of sacral art of Western Church; such items like collection of pictures representing different schools, collection of altar sculptures, engravings (mainly book engravings) and many fine and interesting patterns of artistic craftwork.

The exhibition consists of two parts, each one in a different background color of wall. The curator devoted one part to cultural heritage of the West and the second one to Eastern sacral art. The both supplement each other.

Among the masterpieces of the Western Art circle one can see depictions originating both from such masters as Mabuse, Tintoretto, Rafael, Francesco Bassano, Winzens Fischer, Michelangelo, Unterberger, Pinsel, Tomas Hutter as well as art works of regional artists like Mikołaj Tereinski, Stefan Grodzicki, Józef Wilk, Paweł Karczmarzyk, Lela Pawlikowska, or artists from Przemyśl City and from Przemyśl District like Michał Feliks Wygrzywalski and Jan Ekiert, and anonymous works waiting still to be discovered.

The Eastern Church Art commence with a unique Byzantine gem dating back to 11th – 12th c. It is one of five heliotrope-made Hystera type gems survived in the world. Apart from its magic message the gem is a relic of special significance to the Przemyśl Museum as its being found by chance in 1897 inspired Kazimierz Osiński, the future founder of Przemyśl Museum, to start to collect relics. Beside the gem there are placed some early mediaeval pectorals. Also visitors can see numerous icons that were previously parts of iconostases and furnishings of the churches, i. e. Holy Doors, Deacon’s Doors, procession crosses, Good Friday-Epitaphios images and even a sacristy cupboard. Interesting is the collection of icons from nearby Rybotycze village, the place of so called Rybotycze Icon Painting School. Worth noticing are rich vestments and various liturgical accessories of a characteristic style.

The arrangement of the exhibition is basically made according to chronological system; therefore the visitor can follow stylistic changes in the art of the both cultural circles. Simultaneously the exhibition allows the visitors to run parallel between the Western sacral art and Eastern one. Moreover it allows noticing both convergences (as common thematic threads, cult of Virgin Mary and the saints or mutual penetration of ideas both in the depictions and in the formal context) and richness of differences and immanent and original input to sacral art.

Józefa Kostek