Culture

Artist whose paintings helped resurrect Warsaw goes on show in stunning new exhibition

To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Warsaw’s best-known city portraitist Bernardo Bellotto, the Royal Castle in Warsaw is hosting an exhibition about him on a scale never seen before in the country. There is no other source that reveals more about how the capital looked during the boom-time of the reign of the last king of Poland in the late eighteenth century. Bellotto's city landscapes, or vedutes, let us see Warsaw how it really looked in astonishing photographic detail. So

Govt. launches ‘Empty Frames’ campaign to help regain WWII looted art

With an estimated half a million works of art destroyed or stolen from Poland during World War Two by Germany and the Soviets, the ministry of culture is doubling up on its efforts to regain some of Poland’s lost heritage. Empty Frames, a campaign that aims to remind people about Polish works of art and culture stolen during World War II by both the German and Soviet occupiers, was launched today by culture minister Piotr Gliński. As part of the campaign, special plaques providing information

Recipes and memories of Holocaust survivors shared in new cookbook

The miserable rations of food prisoners received at Germany’s extermination camp Auschwitz were poor quality, insufficient for life and often withheld from starving inmates for even minor infringements of petty camp rules. According to the Auschwitz Museum, prisoners received three meals per day. In the morning, they were given only half a litre of a liquid euphemistically called coffee. The noon meal consisted of about a litre of thin ‘soup’ with a few chunks of vegetables normally used to fe

Campaign to save Kashubian language gathers steam

A foundation in Kashubia is seeking to create the first professional online dictionary dedicated to the endangered Kashubian language. The Internet Dictionary of the Kashubian Language, or Jinternetowi Słowôrz Kaszebsczégò Jãzeka, is needed, say the Kaszuby Foundation, to keep the language alive. Though dictionaries of the regional language exist in book form, the foundation says that the world has changed so much that an online dictionary is now required to serve the interests of younger gene

Emotional donkey film chosen as Poland’s Oscar nomination

A film in which the main role is played by a sad-eyed donkey will be the Polish candidate for the Best International Film at next year’s Oscars. Announced yesterday, the film named EO by veteran filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski was selected from among seven other titles: The Balcony Movie, Illusion, Silent Earth, Woman on the Roof, Broad Peak, Fucking Bornholm and Filip. The Polish-Italian co-production tells the story of a donkey, who, wandering around the world, suffers cruelty at the hands of ma

Poland’s most bankable film director turns camera on himself

Patryk Vega has been Poland's most bankable film director for many years with hits including Pitbull, Women of Mafia and Secret Wars. Now, the controversial filmmaker has turned the camera on his own turbulent life with the film Niewidzialna Wojna (Invisible War) to hit cinema screens at the end of September. A trailer for the biopic, directed by Vega himself and featuring Quentin Tarantino actor Rafał Zawierucha (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) in the lead role as well as Anna Mucha, has just

Powerful images reveal ordinary lives in war torn Ukraine

An exhibition of photographs showing Russia’s war in Ukraine through the eyes of ordinary Ukrainians has opened on Kraków's market square. Over 90 photos by award-winning photographer Justyna Mielnikiewicz focus on the emotions of ordinary people. Many of Mielnikiewicz’s photographs show people who, after much personal drama, managed to escape from Mariupol.Łukasz Gągulski/PAP In the photographs at the International Culture Center, viewers will not see blood, destruction or burnt-out Russian

Survey reveals pork and cabbage still Poles’ number one dish

Pork chop and cabbage is still the favourite dish of Poles across all ages, according to a recent survey. Carried out by Kantar for weekly current affairs magazine Polityka, the survey looked into the eating preferences of Poles by age, income, education level and region. It also looked at preferences for eating out among Poles, how much they spend and who they like to eat with. While culinary fashions are changing, the slice of breaded and fried pork loin served with potatoes and cabbage is

Coca-Cola arrived in Poland 50 years ago this week

In the first two decades of communism in Poland, Coca-Cola was seen by the authorities as a symbol of ‘rotten capitalism’, ‘liquid imperialism or even the dreaded ‘Colorado potato beetle on a bottle’. So, when the drink first rolled off the production line at a brewery in Warsaw 50 years ago this week, it marked a huge change for ordinary Poles, for whom Coca-Cola quenched their thirst for freedom, albeit symbolically. For the communists, the drink ushered in socialism with a human face. On 2

Witkacy exhibition explores one of Poland’s most important and influential artists

An exhibition devoted to the work of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, one of the most outstanding European artists of the 20th century, opens today in Warsaw’s National Museum. Eclectic, mercurial and eccentric, Witkiewicz, known to the world as Witkacy, was a versatile artist, philosopher, writer, photographer and penetrating critic of civilisation. A visionary ahead of his time, his insights and catastrophic prophecies make him as relevant today as he was in his lifetime. The exhibition rejects

Bronze cast of Chopin’s deathbed hand goes on sale for £18,000

A cast of Chopin's hand made from a mould taken on the day of the composer's death in 1849 has gone on display in the UK as part of a sale of classical music treasures at London Art Week. One of several casts made by French sculptor and friend of Chopin, Auguste Clésinger, the cast is unique in that it is the only one with the sculptor's signature on it. Clésinger made the touching bronze cast using a chiselled technique, meaning that the surface has a deliberate rough texture.The Fryderyk Cho

Kapuściński flat finally recognised with commemorative plaque

The apartment where Poland’s best known reporter and globally beloved writer Ryszard Kapuściński wrote some of his most renowned books has been recognised by a commemorative plaque. Kapuścińśki lived in the post-war, four-storey block on Pustola street in Warsaw’s Wola district with his wife Alicja and daughter Rene from 1965 to 1988. On his returns from his many trips to Africa, the Americas and the Middle East, the famous Polish Press Agency reporter wrote the books that would earn him globa

Chicago’s Milwaukee Av. to be renamed in honour of city’s Poles

Settled by Poles fleeing after the fall of the November Uprising, Chicago is said to be the largest Polish city after Warsaw. The large Polish community in the city would go on to become the inspiration for John Travolta and his crew of T-birds in the hit film Grease. Now, Poles in Chicago are to be honoured by having part of the iconic Milwaukee Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in the city, named the Polish Heritage Corridor. Milwaukee Avenue gained the nickname ‘Polish Corridor' as it

‘Unique villa’ looking to popularize Poland’s long-forgotten artists

The museum set in beautiful forest surroundings in Konstancin near Warsaw is home to the country’s most important private art collection and perhaps the largest collection of paintings in private hands worldwide by artists from the famous Paris School. The collection gathered by businessman Marek Roefler has now grown so large that it recently expanded into a stunningly refurbished neighbouring villa, making the complex one of the most astonishing cultural sites in the country. Roefler’s colle

Incredible story of how da Vinci portrait came to Poland revealed in new book

When an American writer stumbled across Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece Lady with an Ermine while visiting Kraków a few years ago she was so surprised one of the world’s most renowned and valuable paintings was in the city that she had to find out how it arrived there. What she discovered was a 530-year journey full of mystery and intrigue that was so remarkable that she decided to tell the story in a book published later this month. What the Ermine Saw: The Extraordinary Journey of Leonardo d

Historically turbulent Chopin monument celebrates unveiling anniversary

An iconic monument of Frederik Chopin which has one of Poland’s most turbulent histories today celebrates the anniversary of its unveiling. A jewel of the Art Nouveau era, the monument in Warsaw’s Łazienki Park depicting Chopin plunged into contemplation under a rustling willow tree was first unveiled in 1926. However, in 1940, the Nazis blew it up, cut it into pieces and transported it to Germany to be melted down and used to make weapons. After performing at the Court Theatre in St Petersbu

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