The Palace full of Beauty

How could you possibly ignore such a claim?  I ventured into several museums on my recent visit to Kraków, but none more beautiful. Pałac Pełen Piękna makes no false claim.  More properly known as the Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace, it was built originally between 1501-1503, for the Bishop of Płock.  Erazm Ciołek, secretary to King Alexander Jagellion, was a diplomat, humanist and a patron of the arts.

The architecture of the building features traditional Gothic elements and influences from the Italian Renaissance.  It was added to down the centuries, including the frescoes which took my breath away.  Austrian occupation turned it rather incongruously into a police station and prison in 1805.  Rescue was forthcoming and in 1996 it became the property of the National Museum of Kraków, and was restored to its former glory.  Today it houses art of Old Poland, 12th-18th Centuries- medieval, Renaissance and Baroque.





It was the beautiful frescoes and the incredible painted wooden ceilings that captured my imagination, as much, if not more than, the collected art works.  I gazed upwards in awe.  I apologise for the poor quality of my photographs, but I mean only to give you a sense of what I felt.



The building is as beautiful as its contents in my eyes.  I’m no appreciator of medieval art.  I’m just thankful that it has been preserved so that I can share with you a tiny fraction of its splendours.  The museum is to be found at Ul. Kanonicza 17.

Paula is featuring Traces of the Past again in this week’s Thursday’s Special.  Don’t miss it!


  1. Wonderful captures, such interesting stories these frames tell – no bad words about the people painted, but the most fascinating in my eyes – are every thing else both in the paintings and in the rooms – excellent work, Jo… 🙂

    1. I’ve walked past this place a time or two before, Drake, and felt a bit intimidated, but it was exactly as beautiful as it said on the sign. I was so glad I went inside. Thanks to you! (I’ve just been jaunting around Copenhagen in the company of a lovely lady called Erin- sadly, only on the blog 🙂 Someday!).

      1. Sure you would enjoy visiting some places in Denmark – of course Copenhagen and Aarhus, but smaller places like Skagen, Ribe, Ebeltoft Svendborg too… 🙂

      1. Busy. Been getting a lot of work. And I’ve been battling another rib-based injury (if you’d believe it). Only muscular and on the opposite side but still a pain (literally). I’m finding when I do have some down time all I want to do is lie on the couch and binge-watch episodes of Downton Abbey. 😀 School holidays in a couple of weeks so hoping to get some more time out in blogging land. 🙂

      2. Good about the work, bad about the ribs 🙂 I always picture you running eveywhere but I’ll fine tune the image to a prone one. Take care of yourself! No hugs- too painful!

  2. immagini davvero grandiose! le memorie storiche ci riportano la Bellezza negli occhi, una memoria talvolta semplice ed ingenua, un modo gi guardare e di dipingere che ci riporta al tempo serenamente
    grazie per questo grande dono, scusa se arrivo quasi sempre in ritardo, passo quando il jo tempo melo concede, ed con vera gioia
    un bacione

    1. There’s never any hurry to come here, Annalisa. I know that you will always come when you can, and with appreciation and an armful of kisses. Rainy Sunday morning hugs! 🙂 🙂

  3. I too love it when the building a museum is housed in is as fascinating as the contents and would really enjoy a visit to this one…thanks for taking me on the next best thing😊

  4. I love old buildings Jo and you have really captured the feel of the ceilings and old frescoes here 🙂 I am no art expert either but I do love looking round galleries and museums and the artworks here are very beautiful! 🙂

      1. I’ve always thought it would be a lovely place to visit Jo. Mlle slightly put me off as she and her friends went in mid winter a few years back and a couple of her friends got harassed by a guy at the youth hostel but these things can happen anywhere. I think I’d want to go in the warmer months – certainly not in mid winter! The old buildings look lovely and right up my street 🙂

  5. Love the stone creature – a griffin? Who knows with those medieval sculptures! And I’d definitely get a neck ache looking at the ceilings. You are a bit of a culture vulture then, our Jo. No end to your talents 🙂

  6. I find medieval stuff interesting but the images of people aren’t attractive, it is magnificent though and harks back to times of great wealth for some and amazing creativity. Some of this looks like it could have inspired William Morris doesn’t it?

    1. Yes 🙂 The ceilings were amazing. Lighting not great to give you a proper impression. I’ve seen them somewhere else in Poland but can’t remember where. Possibly Wawel Castle in Krakow. 🙂

  7. A police station and a prison? What were they thinking? I’m glad they restored it to its former glory.

    For those of us on the West Coast of the United States, it’s such a wonder to see beauties from so long ago preserved and available for the public to see.

    1. Anywhere was fair game during the occupation, Nicki, and those walls are pretty solid. 🙂 Looking at Vienna, it’s not as though the Austrians don’t have a sense of beauty.

    1. Funny, Anabel asked me about that one and I couldn’t supply any information. Random fragments of sculpture were grouped on the wall and I didn’t pay close attention to the labeling. 😦 I often take a separate photo of the label as a memory prompt but I missed this one. You’ll have to use that wild imagination of yours 🙂 🙂 Have a happy weekend!

    1. My Polish is ‘okropny’- terrible!!! Though after all these visits you’d think… 😦
      I’ll be in the Algarve for the last couple of days of Wimbledon, so I’ll be able to forget about the tennis a bit, though our son will be keeping an eye on Murray. No TV/Wifi won’t make it easy. And then there’s the footie too. James’ll be slitting his throat by the time he comes home. 🙂 When are the Olympics? It does look like the glory days are over, doesn’t it, but I still love him. 🙂

      1. The link just says ‘fragments of architectural sculptures from all over Poland’. As vague as me! I did have another shot of that gallery but didn’t include it. I’ll have a look at my photo for ‘clues’ 🙂

  8. We have seen some beautiful Medieval art on our travels in Europe and I always love looking at the paintings. They are so full of detail and intricate work. It’s almost as if the subjects could stand up and step out of the paintings. The paintings you have here are like that – stunning. Aren’t we lucky they’ve survived over the centuries.

    1. It is pretty amazing, Carol. Did you have a look at the link to the museum website up at the top of the post? There is some beautiful stuff in there. 🙂

      1. No, but I will this evening! There are so many fantastic places in this world I have yet to visit, which is why I enjoy reading everyone’s blogs. I can visit vicariously any time I want.

    1. Hi, Ad 🙂 As always with these things, there are a few stories to be told! But the short version is that I totally loved the place. 🙂 Thanks, hon.

    1. Good, aren’t they? 🙂 There are so many museums in Krakow! I’m gradually getting around them but the one I really wanted to see has been under restoration forever! 🙂 Well, almost.

    1. Really? 🙂 I’ve walked down Kanonicza and looked a few times but it never looks very inviting and I’ve been a little shy to go in. I thought it was perhaps a student place. So glad I did. 🙂

  9. Precious art. I’m with you – not my favorite style – but amazing that it has been preserved and can be enjoyed by all, in the museum, or through your blog!

  10. Thanks for mentioning the website, truly remarkable and well worth the time spent on it. So glad you managed to see the interior. Web views never quite make up for that feeling of awe when looking at the actual work of art. You posted a nice selection of images too.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 I need to go back and spend some more time there myself. I need some details on some of the other museums too. It’s a very remarkable building and I loved being in there.

  11. Well, it looks to me that you are – an appreciator of medieval art 🙂 I am happy to report that the word for bishop is the same in Polish and Croatian 🙂 Thank you for sharing bits of Polish past with us.

    1. The building itself was the star for me, Paula, and those ceilings! I have often passed by and been a little shy to go in. It looks like a private place but the inside is wonderful. I know you don’t have time but the website does give lots of details. Favourite? Maybe the ‘suspended’ knights or that last medieval tryptych is reasonably clear. They’re not great quality and I’m happy to go with your judgement. 🙂

      1. They are fine, Jo, not too noisy, and it is a thorough and beautiful presentation. I can easily see why the place impressed you so much.

  12. I love the garlanding, and the ceilings: even the ornateness of that last frame, which is a work of art in itself. I’m not usually a fan of ornate. I detect your quirky eye in a few of these photos. I love the name of the museum: how did you find it? I need ideas for planning limited time in Gdańsk. Hope sun, both real and metaphorical, is shining.

    1. No sun. 😦 I looked at Gdansk flights and they are super prices but Doncaster-Sheffield airport is too far for me to ask Mick to ‘drop me off’. 😦 😦 The ceilings were spectacular, Meg. I have often wandered down Kanonicza and glanced that way but been a little unsure what was beyond. Just inside the door is a beautiful cloistered courtyard. Have a look at the link. It will take you around all the museums in Krakow. Hugs, darlin. 🙂

      1. I am disappointed – but delighted that you got as far as checking flights. It was a lovely thought. I’ll head to the link and save it for my sometime-visit to Kraków. I’ve just registered what you meant by your strange comment about playing hunt-the-post and I’ve binned the post on snippetsandsnaps: it’s still on current blog.

  13. So beautiful and exquisite. A most aptly named museum and thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed looking at the art works, frescos and paintings. I don’t think you have to be an expert on an era to appreciate the beauty and serenity of these pieces. Wish I could visit! 😀

    1. The building was an absolute star, Annika! I’ve walked past it a number of times, but in Krakow it’s but one of many. So glad I ventured inside. The link at the top takes you to the website if you’re interested. 🙂

      1. Thank you for the prompt, Jo. I’ve just spent a lovely time looking around their website – so well designed, even navigable slide-shows – wow! Just amazing. This is a gem of a museum.

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