March 8th, 2014 | General |
Wawel from the Vistula river © Sharx/cc-by-sa-2.5
Wawel is a fortified architectural complex erected over many centuries atop a limestone outcrop on the left bank of the Vistula river
at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. The complex consists of many buildings and fortifications; the largest and best known of these are the Royal Castle
and the Wawel Cathedral
which is the Basilica of St Stanisław and St Wacław). Some of Wawel’s oldest stone buildings, such as the Rotunda of the Virgin Mary can be dated to 970AD. There are also wooden parts of the complex which date to about the 9th century. The castle itself has been described as “one of the most fascinating of all European castles.” Together with the old town of Kraków, Wawel is an UNESCO world heritage site.
From this early period of the Wawel’s history originates the popular and enduring Polish myth of the Wawel dragon. Today, it is commemorated on the lower slopes of the Wawel Hill where by the river, is a modern fire-breathing metal statue of the dragon
. The statue is sited in front of Smocza Jama
, one of the limestone caves scattered over the hill. The dragon, Smok Wawelski
, was a mystical beast which supposedly terrorised the local community, eating their sheep and local virgins, before (according to one version) being heroically slain by Krakus
, a Polish prince, who legend relates founded the city of Kraków and built his palace above the slain dragon’s lair. The oldest known literary reference to the Wawel dragon comes from 12th century, in the work by Wincenty Kadłubek
Wawel is a place of great significance to the Polish people
: it first became a political power centre at the end of the first millennium AD and in the 9th century, the principal fortified castrum
of the Vistulans tribe
. The first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland
(965–992) of the Piast dynasty
and his successors: Boleslaw I the Brave
(992–1025) and Mieszko II
(1025–1034) chose Wawel to be one of their residences. At the same time Wawel became one of the principal Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque
buildings were erected there including a stone cathedral serving the bishopric of Kraków in the year 1000. From the reign of Casimir the Restorer
(1034–1058) Wawel became the leading political and administrative centre for the Polish State.
Until 1611, the Wawel was the formal seat of the Polish monarchy
; this was because Kraków was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569 and of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
from 1569 to 1596. Later, it became the Free City of Kraków
from 1815 to 1846; the Grand Duchy of Cracow
from 1846 to 1918; and Kraków Voivodeship
from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship
. Therefore the fortress-like Wawel complex which visually dominates the city has often been viewed as seat of power. Wawel Cathedral
was not only a place of coronation for the Kings of Poland, but also their mausoleum
. Later, it became a national pantheon
Read more on Wawel Museum
and Wikipedia Wawel
. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.
March 5th, 2014 | General |
The Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom’s national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art. It is a network of four art museums and a complementary website. One of the Tate’s most publicised art events is the awarding of the annual Turner Prize, which takes place at Tate Britain.
Tate Britain © Adrian Pingstone
The gallery is situated on Millbank
, on the site of the former Millbank Prison
. Construction, undertaken by Higgs and Hill
, commenced in 1893, and the gallery opened on 21 July 1897 as the National Gallery of British Art
. However, from the start it was commonly known as the Tate Gallery
, after its founder Sir Henry Tate
, and in 1932 it officially adopted that name. Before 2000, the gallery housed and displayed both British and modern collections, but the launch of Tate Modern
saw Tate’s modern collections move there, while the old Millbank gallery became dedicated to the display of historical and contemporary British art
. As a consequence, it was renamed Tate Britain
in March 2000. Tate Britain
has attempted to reach out to a different and younger audience with Late at Tate Britain
on the first Friday of every month, with half-price admission to exhibitions, live music and performance art. Other public involvement has included the display of visitors’, as opposed to curators’, interpretation of certain artworks. Tate Britain
is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to the present day. As such, it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world. Only the Yale Center for British Art
can claim similar expansiveness, but with less depth.
Read more on Tate Britain
and Wikipedia Tate Britain
TATE MODERNTate Modern
Tate Modern © geograph.org.uk – Christine Matthews/cc-by-sa-2.0
is a modern art
gallery and Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year. It is based in the former Bankside Power Station
, in the Bankside
area of the London Borough of Southwark
. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art from 1900 until today. The main collection displays consist of 4 wings each taking up approximately half a complete floor of the main building. Each wing has a named theme or subject. Within each wing there are some rooms that change periodically showing different works in keeping with the overall theme or subject of the wing.
Read more on Tate Modern
and Wikipedia Tate Modern
TATE LIVERPOOLTate Liverpool
Tate Liverpool © G-Man
is an art gallery and museum in Liverpool
. The museum was an initiative of the Merseyside Development Corporation
. Tate Liverpool
was created to display work from the Tate Collection
which comprises the national collection of British art from the year 1500 to the present day, and international modern art. The gallery also has a programme of temporary exhibitions. Until 2003, Tate Liverpool
was the largest gallery of modern and contemporary art
in the UK outside of London.
The gallery opened in 1988 and is housed in a converted warehouse within the Albert Dock
on Liverpool’s waterfront. The original conversion was done by James Stirling
but the building was given a major refurbishment in 1998 to create additional gallery space. In 2007, the foyer area was redesigned by architects Arca to create an updated appearance and better proportions, as well as to improve visitor handling. The centrepiece of the space is a new timber desk with an undulating orange fascia, which links to the retained colour scheme of the original conversion work by Stirling. A colour-changing wall acts as a backdrop to the simplified brick volume, visible from across Albert Dock. Behind the scenes, the architects also made alterations to the hospitality, cloakroom, events and education areas.
Read more on Tate Liverpool
and Wikipedia Tate Liverpool
TATE ST IVESTate St Ives
Tate St Ives © geograph.org.uk – Sarah Charlesworth/cc-by-sa-2.0
is an art gallery in St Ives
, exhibiting work by modern British artists. The Tate also manages another, earlier, property in St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
which it opened in 1980. The three-storey building, designed by architects Evans and Shalev, lies on the site of an old gas works, overlooking Porthmeor Beach.
An extension to the gallery has been proposed in response to the large numbers of visitors the gallery attracts, with the aims of providing better education spaces and accommodating larger works of art. The plans have met with fierce objections from some parts of the local community. On 20 July 2010, Cornwall Council
successfully bought the land for the proposed extension from the Penwith Housing Association
which has pledged to use the money to build more homes for elderly people in the town.
Read more on Tate St Ives
and Wikipedia Tate St Ives
TATE ONLINETate Online
Tate Online © tate.org.uk
is the Tate’s web site. Since its launch in 1998, the site has provided information on all four physical Tate galleries under the same domain. Tate Online helps visitors prepare and extend visits to the physical sites but also acts as a destination in its own right. Other resources include illustrated information on all works in Tate’s Collection of British and Modern international art, structured and informal e-learning opportunities for all visitors, over 600 hours of archived webcast events, all articles from the magazine Tate Etc.
, and a series of bespoke net art commissions.
In addition to providing information about the galleries and organisation, Tate Online
has been used as a platform for Internet art exhibits, termed Net Art
, which are organised as part of Tate’s Intermedia Art
initiative covering new media art
. So far, 13 net art exhibitions have been shown since the initiative started in 2000 including Tate in Space
(2002) which was nominated in the Interactive Art category for the 2003 BAFTA
Read more on Tate Online
und Wikipedia Tate Gallery