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The Tatras in winter

The next exhibition of the Poznań Fotoplastykon (Kaiserpanorama) will take you to the south of Poland. Gaze into the vintage device and be transported to the Tatras where you will savor the unique landscapes of these mountains, their wild nature and the daily lives of the highlanders. You will see the Tatra peaks the way they appeared to tourists over six decades ago. Within one rotation cycle of the stereo photograph machine, you will view all the major stunning highlights of Poland's tallest mountain range.

photo: the Warsaw Fotoplastikon
photo: the Warsaw Fotoplastikon

The Tatra Mountains embody nature at its most romantic. It is no coincidence that so many of the romantics and artists of the Young Poland movement weaved the mountains into their work. The stereo images will make you feel like a character from the famous painting Wanderer above the Sea of ​​Fog by Caspar David Friedrich. Peer into the device and see the snow-covered Tatra crests and towering spruces overgrowing the mountain slopes above your head. Such landscapes were described by the great poets Jan Kasprowicz and Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, their majesty depicted in the batty prose of Witkacy and in the paintings by Leon Wyczółkowski and Jan Stanisławski. The views of the Tatras captured on the stereo photographs have one huge advantage over the works of all these great artists. The mountains you will see are made to look very realistic with a 3D effect that no other form of art can produce. What a treat - you get to contemplate these enormous massifs without ever leaving the capital of the Wielkopolska region.

A description of the Tatra Mountains would not be complete without mentioning the unique architecture of the region, and particularly the Zakopane style created by Stanisław Witkiewicz (the father of Witkacy). Characterised by distinctive sloping roofs, log walls and Art-Nouveau-inspired ornaments, the style was hoped to lay the foundation for Poland's future national style of architecture whose aesthetics would draw heavily no those of the Podhale highlanders. One of Witkiewicz's remarkable projects was the Jaszczurówka chapel in Zakopane. One of the stereo photographs depicts the chapel on a high stone foundation covered with a high snow-capped roof. The Zakopane style was never reserved for sacred architecture and public buildings alone. The majority of the cottages and guesthouses in the photos are endowed with distinctive "highlander" qualities that would be hard to spot in any other part of the country.

As with previous Fotoplastykon exhibitions, the display has gone beyond what the venerable device can show, given all of its limitations. An additional collection of photographs has been put up on walls around the "wooden barrel", provided courtesy of the National Digital Archives. In addition to vistas of mountain summits and pristine nature, the collection portrays the daily lives of Podhale inhabitants. Its most distinctive figures are men, especially those clad in characteristic hats (kłobuk), shirts, woolen trousers with stripes along their legs and sheepskin vests. Do not miss the picture portraying an outing by horse-drawn sleigh headed for a folk music performance, the riders holdnig string instruments in their hands.

All these views await you during the mountain hike of under twenty minutes (which is the duration of the complete exhibition cycle). See up close the lives of one of Poland's most unique folk cultures. Do not miss your one and only chance to travel to Zakopane without leaving a small swivel chair...

Marcel Skierski

translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski

Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania wishes to thank the National Digital Archive of Warsaw and the Warsaw Fotoplastikon for allowing it to publish iconographic materials free of charge.

  • The Tatras in winteran exhibition in the Poznań Fotoplastykon
  • Centrum Informacji Kulturalnej (Cultural Information Centre), ul. F. Ratajczaka 44
  • 2.12.2019 - 10.03.2020; opening hours: Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm, Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday closed, last admission 1 hour before closing time
  • tickets: regular admission - 5 pln, reduced admission - 2 pln, family tickets - 10 pln, group tickets (groups of 10 or more) - 20 pln

© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2019