The Oświęcim Chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów, is an extension to the Gothic Franciscan Church in Krosno. Founded in 1647–1648 by a prominent representative of the Oświęcim family, it is also commonly known as the 'Chapel of Love'. Associated with the romantic legend of Stanisław Oświęcim's love for his sister Anna, the building is one of the finest artistic achievements of its era. It represents a type of early Baroque burial chapel built on a square plan, with a dome topped by a lantern inspired by the early Renaissance Sigismund's Chapel.
The designer of the chapel was Vincenzo Petroni from Milan. The rich stucco decoration was the work of the most outstanding stucco decorator of 17th-century Poland, Govanni Battista Falconi. The chapel was built on a square plan, with a dome topped by a lantern. At the entrance, there is a richly carved marble portal and a decorative grille.
The elaborate floral designs are enriched with winged putti. The decoration of the interior is not typically religious as it glorifies the founding family. The coat of arms and military insignia invoke the Oświęcims' noble traditions.
The main furnishing is the altar from 1890 (a faithful copy of a mid-17th century original) with ornaments, woodcuts and paintings dating from the chapel's foundation. The central painting depicts St. Stanislaus resurrecting the deceased knight Piotr with Stanisław and Anna in the background.
The entrance to the crypt beneath the chapel is covered with large boards. The two coffins along the wall contain the remains of Stanisław's father and uncle. Four others were placed in small niches, the smallest coffin indicating the deceased was a child. The centre of the crypt houses the coffins of Anna and Stanisław.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.