"A Gift of Beauty" essays

The third edition of To Touch Culture was accompanied by the exhibition A Gift of Beauty. Works donated to the Jagiellonian University in the collections of Collegium Maius showcasing magnificent exhibits offered to the Jagiellonian University.
We invite you to read the essays by Professors Krzysztof Stopka and Andrzej Chwalba below, which describe donations made for the University over the centuries.

Krzysztof Stopka, "Founders, patrons and endowments for Krakow University in the Old Polish period"

“In 1662, two years before the tercentenary of the establishment of a University in Cracow, Professor Marcin Radymiński, philosopher and historiographer of the Cracow Academy ordered that a black marble plaque be placed in the walls of the Collegium Maius courtyard as a unique thanksgiving altar – ara gratiarum – immortalising and praising the services of the founding kings, founders and protectors, princes of the Church and representatives of the nobility (knights) thanks to which the light of scientific disciplines was extended over many nations near and far. Radymiński knew well enough that without their engagement, dedication and gifts the “pearl of various areas of knowledge” would not shine with all its splendour.(…)

The knowledge the University historian transferred to his successors restored the memory of its founder, the last king of the Piast dynasty Casimir III the Great. As his work was never finalised, the University community for long did not consider him its founder. The University never received the proceeds from Wieliczka salt mines promised in 1364 or any others. As the ruler failed to meet that requirement, he was not mentioned in University prayers for benefactors and donors since the title of a founder was due to donors of a benefit, that is endowment…”

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Andrzej Chwalba, "Patrons and gifts for the Jagiellonian University since the nineteenth century onwards"

"Making gifts to the Jagiellonian University was not – also after 1795 – any unusual or surprising phenomenon in its history. On the contrary, it was rather typical and expected. Just like other European universities with a long history, Cracow’s university over 650 years of its existence continuously accumulated its wealth thanks to the dedication of the public. In that way, it acquired a number of movable property and real estate, to became one of the most attractive institutions in that regard..."

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