This collection contains almost four thousand graphics, pictures and watercolors. The main objective of this constantly growing collection is to present the city and architectural changes to some of its buildings. The collection contains unique iconographic documentation of Kraków and its neighborhoods. One of the most important and valuable sets of graphics is the collection of general views of Kraków from the15th to 20th century.
One of those graphics is the oldest view of Kraków which originates from the Chronicles of World by Hartmann Schedl (Nurnberg 1593). This portrayal of the city is not exactly representative of the true view of the 15th century city. Nonetheless, it does show the location and the general order of Kraków and the adjacent cities of Kazimierz and Kleparz. This xylograph is probably based on the description provided by the German humanist - Konrad Celtis.
Among other views, two prepared for the monumental George's Braun and Franz's Hogenberg (Kolonia 1617) publication called Civitates Orbis Terrarum are worth of pointing out. In the work which describes every important city of the contemporary Europe only Kraków was presented with two separated captures. One of those, engraved according to Egidio's van der Rye picture, represents the city view from the South side--the Krak's mound.
Especially interesting however, is the panorama view of Kraków from the North - West side. This anonymous copperplate, invaluable as an iconographical source, is based on pictures created in Kraków in years 1602 - 1605. Because of the unusual precision and details, this panorama represents great artistic form. For almost 200 years, it served as the template for numerous replicas.
At the end of 18th century, the original (based on measurements) panorama and the city plan were created. It was named the Kollontaj Plan after its sponsor. This huge and exceptional ink picture was created in 1785 and is regarded as an interesting relic and valuable research material.
We also have pictures and watercolors from the 18th and 19th centuries by Michal (1768 - 1825) and Teodor Baltazar (1800 - 1873) Stachowicz.
In the first half of the 19th century, the most important as a recorder of Kraków was the professor of the art school - Jozef Brodowski (1781-1853). He had left more that 200 pictures and sketches, which are very valuable because of the fact that very often they are the only source of information about reconstructed or destroyed monuments and buildings, quite often drawn just before their demolition.
Our museum also owns very interesting and valuable items: for example works of Aleksander Plonczynski( 1820 - 1858), Jan Nepomucen Glowacki (1802 - 1847), Bogusz Steczynski, Jan Kanty Wojnarowski and Teofil Piatkowski.
Museum also owns very interesting and valuable items: for example works of Aleksander Plonczynski( 1820 - 1858), Jan Nepomucen Glowacki (1802 - 1847), Bogusz Steczynski, Jan Kanty Wojnarowski and Teofil Piatkowski
The 19th century sparked the beginnings the graphical arts era mainly because of wide dissemination of new lithography technique. This relatively inexpensive technique of reproduction was very often used to production of albums dedicated to city's views. In 1860 the "Album of the Kraków's and neighborhood's views" was published by the publishing house "Czas" (Time). Henryk Walter authored several different views. Later Jedrzej Brydak authored most drawings for the "Czas" (Time) publishing house. The creator of the next album of views was Franciszek Stroobant from Belgium, who has prepared album entitled "Kraków's cathedral in the Wawel Castle" and other 13 colorful lithographs attached to "Ancient buildings of Kraków" album. We should also mention the common works of two Krakówians - Stanislaw Tondos and Juliusz Kossak. They have created the series of the 24 watercolors, copied with the color lithography technique and published in the album "City of Kraków Gems" (1881). It shows the architectural changes which have been made in Kraków as a result of plans for "beautification" and modernization of the city.
In this collection, there are works of artists with different talents as this can clearly be seen in artistic quality of their works. However, it is important to remember that main criterion for being kept in the collection is their documentation value.
Modern works or series created in the 20th century presenting ancient Kraków are in different category. This category contains works and graphics series of Bronislaw Schonborn (1909 - 1971). Those are based on study by Zygmunt's Wierciak and Jan's Gumowski's scientific documentation.
More of the above mentioned items have been bought by the museum as a part of wide collection of famous bookseller and president of city of Kraków - Józef Friedlein. The collection is constantly being enlarged by purchasing of gifts and transfers. At present the moment, the collection contains valuable collections of Ludwik Lepkowski including drawing catalog of antique portals, Kraków's tenements attics, drawings and watercolors of Erazm and Stanislaw Fabijanski which describes development of the Kraków and Kazimierz and other works of 20th century's artists: Franciszek Turk, Leon Getz, author of almost 500 drawing with the yards and halls of the Kraków's tenements, Antoni Wasilewski and Alf Welski.
Except for illustrations gathered for their iconographic value, this collection has recently been enlarged by the works showing trends and techniques of modern art. Works of participants of International Graphic Biennale and Triennale Exhibition in Kraków and other exhibitions arranged by the museum from the "From the studio of our artists" series have been attached: Stanislaw Wejman, Roman Baszewski, Zbigniew Lutomski, Jerzy Panek, Andrzej Pietsch, Konrad Srzednicki, Jacek Waltos and the representatives of the newest trends in art such as: Romuald Oramus, Roman Zygulski, Andrzej Folfas, Marian Siwek, Jacek Sroka and others.