New Exhibition: Metamorphoses and Transmutations

Exhibition „Metamorphoses and Transmutations”
19 May -18 June 2023

Museum of the Lubomirski Princes
Ossoliński National Institute
ul. Szewska 37
Sale pod Kopułą


Exhibition opening times:
Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission free


The exhibition tells the story of alchemy and transformation in nature and the ways in which they are represented in art. The starting point for the exhibition are two valuable paintings from a private collection.

Mythology: Metamorphoses

The ancient poem by Ovid, The Metamorphoses, was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for modern artists. Themes from it often provided the starting point for intricate pictorial allegories and rebus paintings.

1. Illustration: Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hendrik van Balen, Nuptials of Proserpina (The Rape of Proserpina), ca. 1600, oil on canvas, private collection

Alchemy: Transmutations

Enigmatic symbolism and illustrations of the transmutation process appeared not only on the pages of alchemical treatises, but also in the paintings of the great masters. Moreover, the painter himself was someone of an alchemist, as he prepared the paints himself and used them to transform the flat surface of the canvas into the illusion of a separate reality.

2. Illustration: Jan Brueghel the Elder, Landscape with Hermes, Helios and Selene, ca. 1600, oil on parchment, Museum of the Lubomirski Princes in the Ossoliński National Institute

Nature: Transformations

Symbolic representations of changes in nature often referred to mythology, which featured stories explaining, for example, the changes of the seasons. Another example of the artistic representation of the unchanging rhythm of nature are the series popular in the 17th century illustrating the twelve months.

3. Illustration: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Children eating grapes and a melon, ca. 1650, oil on canvas, private collection


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Princes Lubomirski Museum
Ossoliński National Institute
Co-financed by the KGHM Foundation

Download the English version of all exhibition descriptions and labels: Metamorphoses and transmutations

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