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Didactic Commentary: Krakow - Renaissance - Culture

The subject “Culture in Kraków in Renaissance Times” consists of five parts.

In the first part entitled “Patrons,” special attention is given to the role of patrons as the architects of the new style. The fact that those 16th century “sponsors” came from various social strata and sometimes represented national minorities is also emphasized. The text clearly demonstrates that the richness of Renaissance life and culture in Kraków was due to its international character and influences. It also raises the question as to why and how such a peaceful coexistence of so many nationalities was possible in the 16th century European city, when it seems so difficult nowadays. The subject can be used for a classroom discussion. It can be especially interesting to students with a comprehensive knowledge of the modern world, able to correlate information from diverse subjects. The discussion can be based on materials (for example, press articles) pre-prepared by students and the teacher. The discussion subject “Is peaceful multi ethnicity in cities possible in the contemporary world” can be introduced earlier.


Part II – “Architects and their work” – in an accessible way, the chapter presents the architects of the Renaissance rebuilding and redecoration of Kraków.

Part III – “Music of 16th century Kraków” – in this part, the musical life of Kraków and its musicians (both composers and performers of their own works) is described.

Part IV – “Literary figures of 16th century Kraków” - the chapter presents outstanding literary and political thought figures and their most important works.

Part V – “Painting and sculpture” – the chapter focuses on the artists who greatly contributed to the beauty of the architectural works built in a new style.

Below the chapters, the tasks and source materials can be found. The level of the individual questions differs, and the questions can be modified so that they can meet students’ abilities and interests. The first questions require a recall of information from the text. The remaining questions induce careful consideration of the presented problems, support discussion and facilitate the development of argumentative techniques. The more difficult tasks, as well as creative tasks, are marked with an asterisk. The most difficult task is a short essay assignment in the “Literary figures” chapter. The given tasks and source materials encourage students to apply their practical skills from various knowledge areas. A contour map of Europe is necessary to fulfil Task 2 in “Painting and sculpture.” That is why it should be prepared earlier. Since the tasks are not connected with each other, they can be undertaken in any order. They can be solved in groups or individually.