The ERHG patronizes the exhibition ‘Plants and animals’ at the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

The ERHG patronizes the exhibition ‘Plants and animals. Atlases of natural history in the age of Linnaeus’ at the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów from May 7th

Less than a year since its inauguration, the exhibition ‘Plants and animals. Atlases of natural history in the age of Linnaeus’ is back – in a new incarnation. First shown at the International Cultural Centre in Kraków, it now returns in dialogue with the historic interiors of the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów.

The narrative structure of the original exhibition showcasing the print collections of the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals at the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Library of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków has now been supplemented with exhibits loaned from the National Library in Warsaw, and by prints from the private collection of the exhibition’s creator, Krzysztof Radoszek.

Viewers will have the opportunity to explore this artistically unique collection of prints and natural history albums. Of particular note are the works by Ulisses Aldrovandi, Georges Cuvier, and Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon. The exhibition is also a rare chance to see several editions – preserved in Polish collections – of the opus magnum of Maria Sibylla Merian, the culmination of her research into the flora and fauna (primarily insects) of Suriname.

Those already familiar with the exhibition will undoubtedly be surprised by the unexpected transposition of its original layout: in its new surroundings the artworks enter into dialogue with the architecture of the palace interiors. A further connection with its new space is the inclusion in the display of ceramic ware from the Wilanów collection, including a dessert service decorated with botanic motifs inspired by the famous Copenhagen service ‘Flora Danica’, and exquisite plant-themed creations by Johann Joachim Kändler, a highly skilled producer of Meissen porcelain.

Nature and artistry of printmaking techniques

These masterpieces of nature and artistry of printmaking techniques, and the array of colours of the exhibits, juxtaposed with the splendour of this royal residence and the diversity of its natural surroundings, are harnessed to weave a remarkable, complex story. This is a visual feast for art lovers, a fascinating curio for anyone with an interest in the biological sciences, and a marvellous journey into the exotic life of the jungle for children.

The exhibition brings together past and present in a single focus, eliciting our wonder at the beauty of the world and our admiration for the creators of these natural history atlases, but also prompting us to reflect on the rate of civilizational development, and challenging us to make more sustainable use of the resources of our planet.

Visit Wilanów’s royal residence, a place that has always been a home to both plants and animals,  and experience our museum of culture and nature!

Organizer

Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów, International Cultural Centre in Kraków.
With: the Scientific Library of the PAU and PAN in Kraków, the PAN Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals in Kraków, and the National Library
Patron: European Route of Historic Gardens
Duration: 7 May – 14 August

About European Route of Historic Gardens