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As our focus drifts now a little to babies (and as we did some huge bookshelf cleaning recently), we remembered one of the first artsy books that our son liked: ABC by Bruno Munari. Bruno Munari was quite a fascinating Italian artist and children’s books were just a small part of his wide artistic and scientific explorations – but it’s the one we’re most familiar with. ABC is a classic letters primer, which uses very elegant, high-contrast typography and lovely, slightly old-fashioned illustrations. While this might not be a book in which you find new tiny details during each re-reading, its very simplicity appeals to children and its high aesthetic level develops their sensitivity.

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This is one gorgeous onion.

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Last time we talked about the huge Wyspiański exhibition we saw in Kraków and how impressed we were by the number of exhibits. But because of a mess of circumstances we didn’t get to spend as much time on the exhibition as we wanted to so we were glad to find a large, reliable catalog, presenting all the objects with descriptions.

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(We don’t necessarily agree with all the design choices made for the catalog but we don’t know how it was created and under what circumstances. We’re mostly just happy to have such a huge, nicely printed book full of Wyspiański’s work.)

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This week we went on a somewhat eventful trip to Kraków, where we visited a large exhibition of works by Stanisław Wyspiański.

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Wyspiański (1869–1907) is one of the most brilliant Polish writers who also created wonderful art in different genres, particularly pastels. But the exhibition in Kraków focuses more on his ventures into applied arts, which makes it particularly interesting as he dabbled in pretty much everything. He designed theater costumes, furniture and particularly elements of large-scale interior decoration (including stained glass windows) for churches.

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A kids lesson about designing and creating stained glass windows.

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Wyspiański was impressively good at drawings resembling Gothic paintings on stained glass.

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The exhibition is discreetly but adeptly designed. Here a little ornamental decoration presumably drawn from Wyspiański’s work.

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The exhibition shows not only the finished products of his work but also preliminary stages – sketched, designs – which we found fascinating. It might have been too specialized for some visitors but we drank it up.

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One room shows better-known works: paintings and pastels,

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including this lovely drawing of a boy.

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Supposedly this furniture was meant to be uncomfortable so that the city council would not spend too long sitting in it.

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Fragment of staircase that we would totally have in our place. It wouldn’t match anything but who cares.

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We fully recommend seeing this extensive collection, should you happen to be in Kraków one of these months.

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Our son has caught a nasty summer cold, which means he’s not sleeping and so neither are we. It’s a zombified household over here. So real posts have to wait a week, but we have a couple of nice recent things we did to share with you then.