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Czartoryski Museum in Krakow / Muzeum Czartoryskich 

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Krakow’s Princes Czartoryski Museum

The Czartoryskis Museum (Muzeum Ksiazat 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 and sometimes serves as a venue for concerts and other events. 

The Princes Czartoryski Museum is closed for remodeling till 2015.  

From May 2012 Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine is temporarily displayed in the Western wing of the Krakow Royal Castle of Wawel.  

 

Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

'Lady with an Ermine' by Leonardo da Vinci in Krakow's Czartoryskich Museum 

Permanent exhibitions of The Czartoryskis’ 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. 

The 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. 

The 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.

The Armoury displays ancient weapons and armor – European, Polish, and Oriental.

The Gallery of Antiquities shows artifacts dating back to the ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman Empire.

All of the museum’s permanent exhibitions are accessible with a single ticket. 

National Museum in Krakow and the Princes Czartoryski Museum

Under an intricate arrangement between the Krakow National Museum and The Princes Czartoryski Foundation the former has custody of The Czartoryskis Museum and its collections. The Princes Czartoryski Museum is organized as a branch of the National Museum in Krakow and its exhibitions include also possessions of the National Museum alongside exhibits owned by The Princes Czartoryski Foundation.

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 has retained the custody over the collections.

Tickets and opening hours of The Czartoryski Museum

Regular tickets cost 10 zloties, reduced 5 zloties. Also available are family tickets for adults with children priced at 20 zloties that allow to see permanent exhibitions. Group tickets cost 8 zloties per person. Admission is free on Sundays.

The Czartoryskis Museum is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays. 

Note: Thorough refurbishment of The Princes Czartoryski Museum takes place in the years 2010 through 2014 so it is to stay closed over that period.  

Taking photos and video in the museum

After paying extra 15 zloties in addition to the ticket visitors can shoot pictures and films in the Czartoryski Museum with their cameras and video recorders. But the use of lights, flashes, and tripods is banned. On paying the camera charge one is issued a special badge for which the box office demands a returnable deposit of 20 zloties.

Contact information of The Princes Czartoryski Museum

Postal address: Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich, ul. sw. Jana 19, 31-017 Krakow, Poland. 

Phone (+48) 124225566 or 124212956 

fax: (+48) 122926464 

email muz-czart@muzeum.krakow.pl 

 

 

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