Wawel – Cathedral Museum and Grip Tombs, Kraków
Description of realization:
Wawel with a new light over the darkness of history
The Cathedral Museum at the Royal Castle in Krakow – the very name suggests the thought about the history of our country. It is here that the national treasures associated with the key moments of Polish history are stored. Guests of the Royal Hall can admire the magnificent regalia and symbols of the burial of rulers who were entrusted with the fate of their homeland in the first centuries of its existence and in times of stormy wars for its survival.
It is the Wawel Hill that hides the most important memorabilia of our statehood. We have proudly prepared a lighting project for the magnificent museum facilities at the Wawel Cathedral: royal tombs, sarcophagi and polychrome, as well as the coronation coat of Stanisław August Poniatowski – the last crowned king of Poland, who ruled at an extremely difficult moment in its history.
The coat, in which the ruler appeared during the ceremonial coronation over 250 years ago, is therefore an object of inestimable meaning. Due to the specificity of the place in which it is exposed, it requires special care. Low temperature, significant humidity, blackout – these are the conditions that are a huge challenge for those responsible for the technical and aesthetic protection of this unique object. Thanks to the extremely meticulous work of the Wawel restorers of the monuments, the coronation of Stanisław August Poniatowski’s coat gained clarity in the smallest elements. Excellent maintenance has allowed to properly preparing an exhibit, which is characterized by high sensitivity to light. Wanting to extract the most important elements of the coronation jacket, without exposing it to harmful effects, we decided to use external lighting. Thanks to the fact that the light source is outside the display cabinet, the object is not exposed to harmful radiation of temperature and UV. We have brought out the splendour of the object with the light, directing it in such a way as to accentuate it in the immediate surroundings. Royal swords placed behind the mantle are in the background of the most important figure of the eighteenth-century celebration.
The new splendour has also been gained by other key places in the Wawel Castle. Visitors can admire, among others, a new light of sarcophaguses, inter alia, in the Crypt of St. Leonard – one of the most beautiful Romanesque interiors in the country. This is a place with a special atmosphere, which we emphasized with narrow light streams. Visitors can feel both the dignity of the place of burial of the great personalities of our history and the gravity of the centuries-old tradition. In a natural crypt deprived of natural light, the sarcophagi acquired a full glow without disturbing the atmosphere of the place. For people who are passionate about history, technical parameters may not be important, but we should know about one parameter. Thanks to the highest colour rendering index CRI / Ra we can look at unusual details, such as the finishing of the bas-reliefs, the contours of the imaginary figures and costumes, the colours of the decorations. We have also taken care to emphasize the gilding of the insignia and restoring the former splendour to the polychromes decorating the sarcophagi. We have managed to bring out the faded colours given to the works by old artists. So you can admire them in a shape similar to the original one. Each object in the crypt received its light, focused beams so as to emphasize its character and to focus on what is most important.
The Wawel Cathedral Museum has gained not only modern and safe lighting for priceless art objects. Visitors will see the symbols of our history in a light adapted to their specificity and ensuring aesthetic satisfaction.