Rembrandt’s Landscape with the Good Samaritan and an urn holding a bone of Poland’s first monarch, Bolesław I the Brave– these objects speak volumes of the ideas behind the creation of the collections of the first public museum in our part of Europe.
Named the Temple of Memory, it was opened by Princess Izabela Czartoryska in Puławy in 1801. In the spirit of the epoch, she collected precious Polish and European artworks, arts and crafts and historical, patriotic and sentimental memorabilia. As well as items symbolising the glory of the Polish nation, she acquired objects linked with famous people, such as the alleged relics of Abelard and Heloise and a chair which supposedly belonged to Shakespeare.
The exhibition at the Arsenal of the Princes Czartoryski Museum presents selected works from the collection of around 86,000 items acquired last year by the Polish state. Originating from different periods, the paintings, handicrafts, militaria, sketches and early prints are shown alongside a selection of curios. We will also see the key to the museum in Puławy, caduceus-shaped with the inscription “Mnemez Anoigo Hieron” (“I Open the Temple of Memory”). (dd)