What are the oldest art collections depicting life in Poland?
November 29, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking specifically for paintings/art that depict what daily life was like for non-royal people in Poland. It's easy to find lot's of art depicting royalty but I'm looking for the oldest paintings that captured what the houses and villages and people looked like outside of the castles and royal families.

Just found out I'm nearly a FOURTH polish! I know nothing about Poland and I want to SEE visually the history of Poland. I'm interested in other aspects of polish history including folklore/recipes/witchcraft/herbalism/music/story telling.

I'm not very interested in the history of royal classes, not opposed to hearing about it, it's just most of my ancestors were not living that life and I'm not that interested in it and history tends to be dominated by an inflation of the importance of people who had the money to dictate their lives were in fact more worthy of being commemorated than anyone elses.

So I'm looking for the most visual history resources anyone knows of that focuses on rural and non-royal Poland, but am open to any historical sites or books that people have found interesting (websites will be easier to access sooner, but I like knowing of books I can look up if I can ever get to a library).

I don't speak polish but I'm also interested in any websites where people who are from Poland share their experiences/recipes or photography whether in english or polish just for curiosities sake about the language.

Thanks Mefites!
posted by xarnop to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Welcome to the club! If you can prove your Polish heritage via birth & marriage certificates, you can actually get Polish citizenship (aka EU status). According to the Polish gov't it is reclamation of your citizenship i.e. Poland owns your ass, it's like the mafia, you can never leave. (Trust me, I tried.)

You may have felt all your life some unexplicable desire for the following:
- pierogies (must be purchased at the local Polish-Catholic church to be any good)
- thin stretchy crepes (nalesniki)
- French culture and classy clothing
- putting syrup in your beer
- getting drunk and yelling at people about old grudges from 20+ years ago

That last one might just have been my family though.

You also have a lot to be proud of, including:
- Marie Curie
- Chopin
- the fall of communism
- and Roman Polanski

posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:53 AM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: "getting drunk and yelling at people about old grudges from 20+ years ago"

Gaaahaha! That explains a lot...

That's really interesting about the citizenship, I wonder if I can find out more about the details.
posted by xarnop at 9:20 AM on November 29, 2013

re: citizenship - check the link I posted, as it explains pretty clearly if you are eligible.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:25 AM on November 29, 2013

Best answer: This blog deals with Polish history shown on paintings and has a chronological index.
You can explore this online collection of Polish art, for example paintings by Aleksander Gierymski. He painted contemporaries, so this is just the end of XIX century. History in paintings is shown here, but it consists mostly of battles.
Bear in mind that the Polish high culture, especially of the Renaissance, the Golden Age of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was created and consumed almost entirely by the nobility, which at the peak comprised about 10% of the population. Thus the contemporary depictions of the life of the other classes (the townsfolk and peasants especially) are rare.
posted by hat_eater at 5:31 AM on November 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

My wife reminded me also about the "Warsaw types" artworks that were popular throughout the XIX century (for example by Piwarski, Rapacki, Dzier┼╝oniowski).
If you have any particular questions, feel free to memail me.
posted by hat_eater at 5:08 AM on December 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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