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Therefore, the Blessed Virgin Mary must see her profaned seat” – Malbork between politics and the sacred (1772-1856)

Data: 12 stycznia 2023 - 20 stycznia 2023


The Castle Museum in Malbork with branches in Kwidzyn and Sztum invites you to the exhibition “Therefore, the Blessed Virgin Mary must see her profaned seat” – Malbork between politics and sacrum (1772-1856), which will be available to visitors from September 24, 2022.

-The Malbork Castle is one of the most important monuments in the world. In 1997, it was inscribed on the UNESCO list, which is a confirmation of its importance for all mankind. From the very beginning, it aroused interest and admiration, and for over 200 years systematic research and conservation work have been carried out here. This exhibition tells the story of the beginnings of this process, which continues to this day, in which scientific, conservation, but also ideological arguments were used. Malbork is not an ideologically neutral object. It is inscribed in the complicated history of the lands of today’s northern Poland, combines the history of pagan Prussian tribes, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Kingdom of Prussia and united Germany, and an inseparable element of its history (not only medieval) is the Teutonic Order and its legend with positive and negative overtones. All these factors influenced the functioning of the castle and its reconstruction in the 19th and 20th centuries. The presented exhibition is a story about the castle, with particular emphasis on the beginnings of its reconstruction in the first half of the 19th century. – comments dr hab. Janusz Trupinda, Director of the Castle Museum in Malbork

The exhibition will be a kind of story about how the contemporary image of the Malbork fortress was shaped, which has its roots in the turbulent history of the castle at the turn of the 17th and 19th centuries. The curator of the exhibition is Justyna Lijka from the Department of Arts and Crafts of the Castle Museum in Malbork, who prepared the exhibition in curatorial cooperation with dr hab. Janusz Trupinda, dr hab. Christofer Herrmann, Bartłomiej Butryn, Artur Dobry and Bartosz Skop.

The exhibition will reveal the backstage of the loss of the castle’s original identity as a result of the utilitarian construction and adaptation works undertaken by the Prussian administration in the last quarter of the 18th and early 19th centuries, which were part of the general strategy of developing new provinces. They stripped the Teutonic stronghold of the symbolic meanings that had been legible for centuries and the architectural attributes of the majesty and territorial power of the great masters. They completely changed its image in the topography of the city and Żuławy Wiślane, turning the castle into a military unit subordinated to the central authority in Berlin.

-The turbulent history of the castle and its historical significance have not been erased from collective memory. They were still alive in historiography, travel literature. Reminded by the voice of the ancients, who saw in the works of the past an important element of identity, shaping social bonds and a sense of Prussian patriotism, in the first decades of the 19th century led to far-reaching changes in the approach of the Prussian authorities to the Malbork castle, which culminated in its first restoration inaugurated in August 1817 .- Comments Justyna Lijka, curator of the exhibition.

The exhibits available at the exhibition will guide visitors through the history of the construction changes of the Malbork Castle, presenting its half-ruined appearance from the end of the 18th century along with the stages of the Prussian Pantheon – a political creation from the Romantic era. They will discover a new perspective on the post-Teutonic stronghold proposed by Friedrich Gilly and the beginnings of the Prussian “white legend” about the German Order. An important element of the exhibition is the series “Schloss Marienburg in Preussen”, the first album of graphic views of the Malbork Castle from the late 18th century, which significantly influenced the perception of the role of the brick stronghold in the circles of the enlightened Prussian elite. The exhibition will present ideological themes, showing the Teutonic castle in Malbork as an element of patriotic praise of the Order in Prussian society, when it became a romantic symbol, a kind of sign of remembrance, uniting all inhabitants of the Prussian province under the patronage of the Hohenzollerns. The exhibition will also show how Theodor von Schön’s historical policy influenced the romantic restoration of the Malbork Castle (1817–1856) and how the work of the German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel looked like in the process of rebuilding the fortress. Visitors will be able to get to know the exhibits showing the symbols of the unity of the Prussian monarchy and its subjects created in that period, as well as outstanding examples of historical painting and stained glass glazing. The texts that are part of the exhibition and descriptions of the exhibits have been prepared in the ETR format, which is easy to read and understand, which will help people with intellectual disabilities to familiarize themselves with the subject of the exhibition.

– The exhibition is the result of many scientific queries carried out in recent years and shows their effects. It presents for the first time in such a wide scope, so far still little known, period in the history of the Malbork Castle and the historical interpretation related to it, dealing with the ideological background of the romantic restaurant, which took place with the significant support of the inhabitants of the province of various states and the royal family. We will see a non-existent portrait of a monument from the first half of the 19th century, already obliterated in the subsequent stages of reconstruction. The artifacts from German collections gathered at the exhibition will in many cases come to Poland for the first time, which is the result of good cooperation and the rank of the exhibition – adds Justyna Lijka

The exhibition, organized with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, will feature exhibits from the collection of the Malbork Castle Museum with branches in Kwidzyn and Sztum, as well as those lent by the Museum of the Princes Lubomirski in the National Institute of Ossoliński in Wrocław, the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork, the National Museum in Gdańsk, the National Museum in Kraków, the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Elbląg Library, the Gdańsk Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the State Archives in Gdańsk, the State Archives in Malbork and German institutions: Akademie der Künste in Berlin , Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Kupferstichkabinett, Kunstbibliothek, Münzkabinett, Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin–Brandenburg in Potsdam: Aquarellsammlung, Gemäldesammlung , Archiv Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur Berlin, Archiv / Schatzkammer des von Deutschen Ordens in Wied, and private collections.


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