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11 07 2015

Exhibition: The Metamorphoses of Książ Castle

At long last – after 70 years, works of art that hung in Książ Castle until 1942 have returned. These authentic testimonials of Książ’s remarkable history are on display throughout the castle, and may be viewed at the Metamorphoses of Książ Castle exhibit

The exhibition has been prepared by the National Museum in Wrocław in Książ Castle in Wałbrzych.

This is, without a doubt, the most important event in the post-war history of Książ Castle. After several decades, works from the former collection of Hans Heinrich XV von Hochberg, and his wife Princess Daisy, have returned to the castle. In all 38 such works, from the National Museum in Wrocław, have been chosen to grace the castle’s rooms.

The MetamorphosesMetamorfozy Zamek Książ, Muzeum Zamku Książ of Książ Castle exhibition will consist of three parts,” explains Dr. Beata Lejman, curator of the National Museum in Wrocław, and of this exhibition. The display will begin in what is known as the Exhibition Room, where the featured works include a scene from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” portraying Pan’s pursuit of the nymph Syrinx; and a series of works of Stephan Kessler, presenting the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. In the second part of the exhibition, the distinctive rooms on the first floor (on the Baroque visitor route) will feature works that were part of the substantial creative output of artists engaged by Konrad Ernest Maximilian von Hochberg in the eighteenth century. Also on view will be portraits, still life works, mythological presentations, and works of animalistic, allegorical and landscape art. The next part of the exhibition is in the Konrad Hall, where a Hall of Fame has been created. There, it will be possible to view the legendary lords of the Czech Premyslid and Polish Piast dynasties, the founders of Silesian culture. The Hochbergs’ relations with the Austrian Habsburg and Prussian Hohenzollern dynasties will be presented in the light of the myth of empire, important in feudal times, and remaining so until it took on a totalitarian aspect in the twentieth century.

Admission to The “Metamorphoses of Książ Castle” exhibition, which has been open to visitors since 11 July, 2015 and continues until 2019, is included in the entry ticket to Ksiąz Castle (castle ticket prices are listed at "Tickets and Prices").

The exhibition features 38 paintings and two sculptures from the collection of the National Museum in Wrocław. They include ten paintings from the Hochberg collection, four Baroque portraits of members of various branches of this dynasty, and other works selected to enhance the castle interior. Preparations for the exhibition opening took place over several months, as it was necessary to ensure suitable conditions for such valuable works of art – very precise conditions, established according to principles of art conservation – and to meet all standards of safety and protection. We should bear in mind, however, that this is only the first stage in the “metamorphoses” of Książ Castle!

“Although today we talk of a few dozen works of art that we wish to present to the public in the famous interior of this charming castle, we share an awareness that we have made a certain breakthrough. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 crew, I dare say that this really is a small step for our museum, but a giant step for museology,” said Dr. Piotr Oszczanowski, director of the National Museum in Wrocław. “The mission of a museum is to collect and safeguard our artistic heritage. It falls to us to conserve this heritage, carry out related academic study and, in the end, to make it generally accessible. However, yet another particular obligation is increasingly making a claim on us: to learn to share the artistic wealth that we are protecting. This is not of course sharing only in a material sense, but a common responsibility to promote this heritage, and make it accessible. Only in this way may a work of art regain its original value: when we admire it, we commune with it.”

To Krzysztof Urbański, chief executive officer of Książ Castle in Wałbrzych Ltd., “the project that we are carrying out is is no exaggeration to say that this is a precedent-setting undertaking in Poland. I would especially like to thank Professor Oszczanowski, who has guided this project from the beginning; Dr. Lejman, who as exhibition curator has brought our idea to fruition, and the dedicated staff of the Museum and Castle. I do not attempt to deny that the contract that was signed on 8 April is only the first stage of further ‘metamorphoses’ at the castle. We now have many plans to develop this project, and to enrich the services that we offer at Książ.”

The patrons of Książ Castle, PGNIG Retail Division and Śnieżka Invest, have been greatly involved from the beginning, supporting the castle’s initiatives and its cultural development. Many thanks!