Tadeusz Błotnicki’s commemorative plaquette

A commemorative plaquette featuring Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło (Jogaila) by Tadeusz Błotnicki is a donation from the company Niedźwiecki i S-ka. It is 46 cm long vertically and 32 cm long horizontally and made in terracotta. On the reverse side, there is the embossed inscription "Niedźwiedzki i Ska Dębniki pod Krakowem" ("Niedzwiedzki and Co, Debniki near Krakow").

The following description is by Róża Książek-Czerwińska, an art historian from the JU Museum. The tactile graphics were prepared by the artist-painter Lech Kolasiński. Thanks to the graphic adaptations, blind and partially sighted persons can now experience the plaquette by touch.

Description

A commemorative plaquette with images of Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło for the 500th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University

A reproduction in the tactile graphic format

Upper section

The commemorative plaquette was made on the occasion of the Jubilee year 1900 when the 500th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University was celebrated. Horizontally, the neo-gothic relief is divided into two parts. The upper section features a double profile portrait of Queen Jadwiga and King Władysław Jagiełło, next are two dates, 1400 and 1900, and the coat of arms of the Jagiellonians – the Columns of Giediminas – a geometrised abstract character, maybe an architectonic feature.

On the photos: on the left -"A commemorative plaquette with images of Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło for the 500th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University"; on the right - its reproduction in the tactile graphic format.

Royal couple

The royal couple is shown wearing high crowns encrusted with precious stones and topped with stylised Angevin lilies. The profiles of the royal spouses overlap. In the foreground is a profile of the queen, partly obliterated by that of her husband. Jadwiga is shown as a beautiful young woman with a noble, stern face, classic features and long, flowing hair. She is looking ahead, serious and determined. Put slightly to the fore, the profile of Władysław is not fully visible. The king is presented as a handsome, serious-looking man. His Roman nose and a slightly protruding lower jaw suggest a strong character, energy and determination. The faces of the royal couple resemble their images seen on the sarcophagi at the Wawel Cathedral.

Below the portrait

Below the portrait of the royal couple is a Latin inscription made with gothic font: "Regini Poloniae recepimus dyadema ut ipsum regnum claritate doctorum personarum illustrem" ("From the queen of Poland and the kingdom of light we received insignia and illustrious doctors") and below, centrally placed: Poland’s coat of arms, a crowned eagle, that of the Jagiellonian University, two sceptres crossed on a shield, and that of Lithuania, the Pahonia, showing a knight charging on horseback with a sword raised above his head. Most visible is the coat of arms of the Jagiellonian University: it is put slightly to the fore and placed between those of Poland and Lithuania, party obliterating them.

An adaptation made by Lech Kolasiński

On the photo: an adaptation made by Lech Kolasiński.

How it was created

The plaquette was commissioned by the workshop of Józef Niedźwiecki which specialised in manufacturing tile stoves and faience and whose owners used to engage in initiatives promoting the revival of Polish arts and crafts. Adam Kirchmayer, one of the owners, supported the Krakow Heritage Society and was donor to the Technical and Industrial Museum in the city. Executed by the eminent Lviv-based sculptor Tadeusz Błotnicki, the plaquette was shown at exhibitions in Krakow and made the manufacturer popular. At the exhibition which accompanied the first industrial congress in the city, the columnist Karol Rolle offered the following review of the piece: "executed in terracotta, in light yellow so precisely and so perfectly that one just cannot believe it is a product of our workshop, and not some famous foreign one which has been flooding the world with terracotta for years. The price is low, even very low, given the considerable size of the medallion; the moment it commemorates as well as its artistic and meticulous execution make it an object which should adorn a wall in every home" (“Przegląd Ceramiczny” 1901, no 14, p. 117).

Plaquettes featuring the images of Queen Jadwiga and King Władysław Jagiełło can be seen in such places as the National Museum in Krakow, the National Museum in Plock and the Jagiellonian University Museum.