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Information Text: Krakow - Renaissance - Painting and sculpture

During the reign of the Jagiellons, Kraków was adorned with the works or numerous artists.

Among the Polish artists, the figure of the Cistercian monk, Stanisław Samostrzelnik, stands out. He is said to have painted the Franciscan portrait of Bishop Piotr Tomicki. The portrait was placed in the Franciscan portrait gallery of the Kraków bishops. The portraits of other bishops such as Andrzej Zebrzydowski, Jan Latalski and Piotr Gamrat can be found there. Stanisław Samostrzelnik is also the author of the decoration of the illuminated manuscripts for the highest social strata and the royal couple.

Marcin Kober was the painter who created the first so called official portrait in Poland, and this is why he is considered to be the precursor of that painting style. His most famous works include the portraits of the following monarchs: Stefan Batory (1583), Zygmunt II Waza (1590) and Anna Jagiellonka (1595).

There was also a big group of foreign painters working in Kraków: Hans Dürer (the court painter of Zygmunt I Stary), Antoni from Wrocław (the author of some Wawel friezes), Michał Lentz from Kitzingen (he painted for the King and Bishop Konarski), Piotr Wenecjanin, Hans Suess from Kulmbach (commissioned by Jan Boner), Jerzy Pencz (one of the most eminent of the so called Small Dutch Masters), and  Lukas Cranach, the painter connected with the Saxon environment and the author of the miniature portraits of the royal family.

Moreover, the Balthasar Behem Codex deserves special consideration here. This collection of the privileges and statutes of the city of Kraków was compiled in 1505. It is an example of miniature painting consisting of 27 scenes from the daily life of burgher guild workshops and Kraków streets.

Arrases represent unique rich tapestries. They were already at Wawel during the wedding of Zygmunt I with Bona who brought numerous arrases as part of her dowry. Afterwards, both of them imported arrases from Flanders. However, it was Zygmunt August who adorned Wawel with them on a large scale. He amassed a huge collection of 356 Flanders arrases.

Arrases: decorative wall hangings made by hand with the tapestry technique. They depict biblical, mythological, martial, knightly and love scenes, as well as landscapes.