Europa Jagellonica 1386−1572. Art and Culture in Central Europe under the Jagiellonian Dynasty

10 November 2012 – 27 January 2013


Sacra Conversazione: Virgin and Child with Saints Felicity and Perpetua
ca. 1520–1525, National Museum in Warsaw

10 November marks the opening of an international exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw and the Royal Castle in Warsaw devoted to the period in which the Jagiellonian dynasty was the dominant political and cultural force in this part of Europe. The timeframe covered by the exhibition is defined by two historical events: the coronation of Jogaila (Władysław Jagiełło) in 1386, and the death of Sigismund II Augustus, the line’s last male heir, in 1572. Visitors will be able to explore the period during which the majority of Central Europe was under the sovereign rule of members of the Jagiellonian dynasty or their close kin.
Thanks to prudent political alliances, the Jagiellons ascended to the thrones of Bohemia and Silesia in 1471 and of Hungary in 1490. The resulting commonwealth of nations – Europa Jagellonica – spanned vast territories with a total area surpassing two million square kilometres, from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic Seas. At the same time, strategic marital unions arranged for Polish princesses expanded the family’s influence to include the Reich states – Brandenburg, Braunschweig, Bavaria and Saxony. This unique amalgamation in Central Europe left its mark on not only the political atmosphere there but on the economies of the individual nations, the intellectual culture and social mentality of the day, and the arts. 
The aim of the exhibition is to portray the various aspects of Jagiellonian rule through artistic remnants from that era, such as paintings, sculptures, graphic art and works of goldsmithery from all of the lands belonging to Jagiellonian Europe – Lithuania, Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, Germany and Croatia. This approach will highlight the period’s unique circumstance of cultural diversity amidst unity – the coexistence of regional cultures and the formation of a common tradition. From such a perspective, the old Jagiellonian commonwealth becomes a fascinating reference point for reflections on modern times.
The Polish edition of the exhibition (organised by the National Museum in Warsaw and the Royal Castle in Warsaw) is but one element of a joint project that has already visited the Czech Republic from May to September 2012 (Galerie Středočeského kraje, Kutná Hora) and will be shown in Germany from March to June 2013 (Haus der Brandenburgisch-Preußischen Geschichte, Potsdam). 
The section of the exhibition on display at the Royal Castle in Warsaw is centred on the history of the dynasty, the individual rulers from the house of Jagiellon, figures from their surroundings and matters of court etiquette. Meanwhile, the National Museum in Warsaw houses the portion of the exhibition that addresses the civilisational legacy of Jagiellonian Europe, with particular attention to issues such as the wealth and diversity of artistic output, the function of universities, models of religious practice and art’s social transformations. The exhibition is a component of the National Museum in Warsaw’s 150th anniversary celebrations taking place under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski.
A Polish-language guide will be issued to accompany the exhibition.

Exhibition organisers:
Concept by: Jiří Fajt, Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas an der Universität Leipzig
Małgorzata Kochanowska, National Museum in Warsaw
Artur Badach, Royal Castle in Warsaw
Susanne Jaeger, Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum für Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas an der Universität Leipzig
Assistant to the curator:
Zofia Herman, National Museum in Warsaw

Partners and assistance:
Galerie Středočeského kraje, Kutná Hora
Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas an der Universität Leipzig
Haus der Brandenburgisch-Preußischen Geschichte, Potsdam
National Museum in Warsaw
Royal Castle in Warsaw

Ticket common to both parts of the exhibition: 25 zlotys
regular rate - 20 zlotys
reduced rate - 15 zlotys