Krakow’s Princes Czartoryski Museum
The Czartoryski Museum (Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich aka Muzeum XX. Czartoryskich), which dates
back to 1801, is the oldest museum in Poland. The museum can boast
the country’s most valuable collections of art, ancient handicrafts,
and memorabilia connected with historical figures. Its best know
exhibit is Leonardo da
Vinci's famous ‘Lady with an Ermine’, a superb
portrait of a teenage mistress of Lodovico Sforza il Moro,
Milan's ruler of the late 15th century.
The Princes Czartoryski Museum occupies three old buildings at the
corner of Pijarska and Sw. Jana street on the northern edge of
Krakow’s Old Town historical center by the
medieval city walls. The 19th-century neo-Gothic palace of
The Czartoryskis aristocratic family and the 18th-century former
monastery opposite contain permanent expositions, while the adjoining
16th-century municipal Arsenal holds temporary shows downstairs and an
exhibition of ancient art upstairs.
'Lady with an Ermine' by Leonardo da Vinci in Krakow's Czartoryskich
Permanent exhibitions of The Czartoryski Museum
The museum consists of four parts called respectively Gallery of European
Painting, European Decorative Arts and Pulawy Memorabilia, Armoury, and Gallery
of Antiquities. They reflect the diversity of collections garnered in The
Princess Czartoryski Museum.
Gallery of European Painting shows old masters such as paintings by Leonardo
da Vinci and Rembrandt among outstanding works of art by other Western European
artists. Exhibits represent the continent’s artistic glories from the Middle
Ages through the 18th century.
European Decorative Arts and Pulawy Memorabilia is an exhibition that
combines exquisite masterpieces of the Western European handicrafts from the
Renaissance to the Baroque with items formerly owned by the great men of the
past or otherwise connected with them. The exhibits include richly decorated
luxury goods, porcelains, period furniture, tapestries, glassware, etc.
Armoury displays ancient weapons and armor – European, Polish, and
Gallery of Antiquities shows artifacts dating back to the ancient Egypt,
Greece, and Roman Empire.
Most wanted in Krakow
National Museum in Krakow and the Princes Czartoryski Museum
Up to 2016, under an intricate arrangement between the
Krakow National Museum and The Princes Czartoryski Foundation the
former had custody of The Czartoryskis Museum and its collections. The Princes
Czartoryski Museum has been organized as a branch of the National Museum in Krakow and
its exhibitions included also possessions of the National Museum alongside
exhibits owned by The Princes Czartoryski Foundation. In December 2016 the
Polish government purchased
The Princes Czartoryski Museum and The Czartoryski Library with the intention of
incorporating them into the National Museum in Krakow.
History of The Czartoryskis Museum
The museum has developed from the private collection of art, objets d'art, and
various curiosities amassed by Princess Izabela Czartoryska nee Fleming (born
1746, died 1835) in her vast and opulent country estate in Pulawy. In the face
of looming confiscation by the Russian invaders, the family’s movable
possessions were taken to Paris in 1831. Princess Izabela’s grandson and heir,
Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski (born 1828, died 1892) brought the collections to
Krakow in 1876. Its city council donated the building of the former municipal
arsenal to facilitate the creation of a museum available to the general public.
Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski added the adjacent former Piarist monastery he
purchased and two buildings opposite, which he bought and turned into a palatial
residence. The buildings were converted into a museum complex meant to house
both the collections and The Czartoryski Library. In 1961 the library has been
moved to a purpose-built building situated a block away, at 17 Sw. Marka street.
In 1950 the Princes Czartoryski Museum as well as the Czartoryski Library and
Archives were incorporated into the Krakow National Museum. In 1991 former
possessions of the Czartoryski family have been transferred to a charity founded
by Adam Karol Czartoryski, the heir of the previous owners yet the National
Museum in Krakow retained the custody over the collections. In December 2016
The Princes Czartoryski Foundation has sold the museum and the library, complete
with all their possessions, to the Polish government for euro 100 million.
Tickets and opening hours of The Czartoryski Museum
Regular tickets cost 35 zlotys, reduced 20 zloties. Also available are family tickets for adults with children priced at 45 zloties that allow to see permanent exhibitions. Group tickets cost 15 zloties per person. Admission is free on Sundays. It's advisable to book tickets online well in advance.
Free admission on Tuesdays (permanent shows only).
The Czartoryskis Museum is open
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The museum stays closed on Mondays.
Taking photos and video in the museum
As at other branches of the Nation Museum in Krakow visitors can
shoot pictures and films in the Czartoryski Museum with their cameras, video recorders, and smartphones free of charge though it applies to permanent exhibitions only (at least officially). But the use of lights, flashes, and tripods is banned.
Contact information of The Princes Czartoryski Museum
Postal address: Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich, ul. sw. Pijarska 15, 31-017 Krakow,
Phone (+48) 123705460
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