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National Museum, Warsaw

National Museum, Warsaw

National Museum, Warsaw

The National Museum in Warsaw is the national museum in Warsaw and the largest in the capital. It comprises a rich collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and  Roman art,  an extensive gallery of Polish painting since the 16th century, and a collection of European paintings. The museum also specializes in Nubian Christian art and Medieval Art.

The museum is also home to numismatic collections, a gallery of applied arts, and a department of oriental art, with an extensive selection of Chinese art.

A Virtual Tour of the National Museum, Warsaw

Highlights of the National Museum, Warsaw

  • Jewess with Oranges” by Aleksander Gierymski
    • “Jewess with Oranges” by Aleksander Gierymski shows a Jewish shopkeeper. She has inadequate clothing, a cap on her head, and a scarf on her shoulders. The woman’s face is serious as she carries two baskets of oranges looking for customers. Her prominent wrinkles heighten the effect of hardship and toil, which emanate from her character. The woman is the focal point, and neither the oranges with their bright color or the background of roofs of houses and the Warsaw skyline, detract from the woman they only provide a context.
  • Statue of Amun
    • This statue of Amun is a fragment from the figure of the god Amun, belonging to a group sculpture, commemorating the act of coronation. The original composition would have shown the god Amun sitting on the throne. He would be touching the crown on the head of the ruler, kneeling in front of him, entrusting him with the gesture of ruling over the Egyptian land. This statue fragment was found at The Karnak Temple Complex, which comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other ancient structures in Egypt. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian “The Most Selected of Places” and the principal place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head.
  • Fragment of the interior of Notre Dame in Paris” by Konrad Krzyżanowski
    • “Fragment of the interior of Notre Dame in Paris” by Konrad Krzyżanowski depicts parts of the gothic architectural elements within the famous cathedral. Krzyżanowski, as an early exponent of Expressionism, focused on Notre Dame’s arches and stained glass windows. His use of greens and purples highlight the gothic columns and arches. In the left half of the painting is shown one of the massive rose windows, including some of the lower 18 vertical windows below the rose window.
  • The Discovery of Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes” by Jan de Bray
    • “The Discovery of Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes” by Jan de Bray depicts Odysseus standing in the archway as he carries a basket containing Achilles’s helmet. Achilles, disguised as a woman, stands behind a decorated chest draped with an elaborate Oriental carpet. Achilles clasps the hilt of the sword and rests the tip of the blade on his left hand. The other characters look on in astonishment at his action. The central woman offers him a string of pearls from the jewelry box in an attempt to cover up his exposure. Odysseus and other Greeks had laid a cunning trap with gifts before the women of jewelry, clothes, and other finery, but among them a sword, spear, and shield. When a trumpet was sounded, Achilles instinctively snatched up the weapons and betrayed his identity. This composition, with prominent architecture and dramatically dressed figures, gives the picture the appearance of a classical theatre performance.
  • Leda and the Swan” by Jerzy Hulewicz
    • “Leda and the Swan” by Jerzy Hulewicz is a more modern depiction of the ancient story and subject from Greek mythology. The story tells how the ancient Greek king of gods Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces Leda. In some versions of the myth, Zeus rapes Leda and one of the children that Leda bore was a beautiful daughter who became known later as Helen of Troy. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Helen is the daughter of Zeus and of Leda. Leda was the wife of the Spartan king Tyndareus. Euripides’ play of Helen, written in the late 5th century BC, provides the earliest detailed account of Helen’s birth.
  • Diana the Huntress” by Vincent Malo
    • “Diana the Huntress” by Vincent Malo depicts Diana, who was initially considered to be a goddess of the wilderness and the hunt, a central sport in both Roman and Greek culture. In the Hellenistic period, Diana came to be equally revered as a goddess of the civilized countryside. This painting captures her dual role as goddess of both civilization and the wild, and therefore the civilized countryside. Vincent Malo (1585 – 1649) was a Flemish painter who, after training and working in Antwerp, was mainly active in Italy. Malo was a painter of genre scenes and religious and mythological subjects.
  • Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky
    • “Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky depicts a dark steamship on a dark horizon, billowing black smoke from its funnel while the white sailing ship is brightly lit up by the sun. Aivazovsky was one of the most prominent Russian artists of his time. During his almost 60-year career, he created around 6,000 paintings, making him one of the most prolific artists of his time. A funnel on a ship was used to expel boiler steam, engine exhaust, and smoke. Since the introduction of steam-power to vessels in the 19th century, the funnel has been a distinctive feature of the silhouette of a ship and used for recognition purposes.

National Museum, Warsaw

  • Museum:                            National Museum, Warsaw
  • Polish:                                 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie
  • City:                                    Warsaw
  • Country:                             Republic of Poland
  • Established:                        1862
  • Location:                             Aleje Jerozolimskie 3, Warsaw, Poland

Explore European Museums

Map for the National Museum, Warsaw

A Tour of the Warsaw National Museum

National Museum in Warsaw


“A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year.”
– Polish Proverb


Photo Credit:  Mister No [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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