By Helena and Stefan Kozakiewiczowie
At the beginning of the 16th century, the new style in its pure form was transplanted fro Italy to Cracow - then the capital of Poland - by Tuscan architects and sculptors who were sent for by the Polish King to work on the conversion of the Castle on Wawel Hill. From the royal residence - together with the activities of the magnates, following their ruler, and later of rich townsmen and the gentry - the Renaissance spread throughout the country, expressing itself in an individual form, notably in the domain of achitecture and sepulchral sculpture. Gradually, the Italian artists were assimilated by the local milieu and their art inspired native talents to produce works which are a Polish original variety of Renaissance. The authors discuss this developmental process, giving examples from all branches of art, and introduce a division into three periods, followed in the composition of the present album. By way of splendid photographs, taken specially for this album, the works of the Polish Renaissance are in many cases revealed to us anew, in compositions that bring out values frequently overlooked, and thus the efflorescence of art in Poland during the Renaissance is made more vivid and illustrated more fully and comprehensively that ever before.