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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Cafe Szal - Frenzy of Exultations

Dearest hearts,

Have you ever heard of the painting, “Frenzy of Exultations” by Podkowinski Wladyslaw? Podkowiński started to paint in Warsaw between 1893 and 1894. The creation process lasted at least three months and according to a friend: at the end he was painting from his bed. The painting was shown at the Zachęta exhibition on 18 March 1894. The exhibition was accompanied by an atmosphere of sensationalism and scandal but around 12,000 people saw the picture, making nearly 350 rubles for the gallery. Despite the success of the painting, it couldn’t find a buyer: 3000 rubles was offered but the artist asked for 10,000.
On the morning of 24 April 1894 (37 days since the exhibition opening), just before the planned end, the painting was cut with a knife by its creator. The reasons for this act are unclear. The artist’s decision may have contributed to the rumors that the image portrayed a woman towards which the artist had an unfulfilled affection. The destruction of the image, and Podkowinski’s death fueled the speculation, adding to the legend of a suicide. Providing a rationale for this explanation are the traces of cuts on the canvas showing that only the image of the woman was under attack. The object of the artist’s feelings could be Ewa Kotarbińska, whom he met during his summer stay in a palace near Warsaw. She was a brunette, but some record that her family saw a similarity between her and the woman in the painting and harshly condemned him.
After Podkowinski’s death the painting was restored by Witold Urbański. The restored work was lent to other exhibitions in Łódź, Kraków, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Finally, the canvas was purchased by Feliks Jasieński in 1901 for 1,000 rubles, and in 1904 was given to the National Museum in Kraków. (source) Now the paiting can be found on the 2nd floor of the Sukienicce, at the National Museum - The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice. I always admired it, ever since I first lay my eyes on it, back in 2013. The colors, the brush, the emotion of the lady, the crazyness of the steed... it all seems very appealing and hard to pass by it without noticing it!
Cafe Szal - making refference to the lovely piece of art I was telling you about - is located on the 1st floor of the Sukienicce. The place is positively for non-smokers and it offers one of the best views of the main market square. The entrace is the same as you would go to The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice but instead going up to 2nd floor you stay at the 1st one. There is indoor and outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sun (like we did!) or run away from the rain. The opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 11 pm, and you can have there a small lunch or just coffee & drinks. If you do not have currency with you, do not worry! as they accept credit cards as well (American Express included!).
I just loved our waitress here! She was very polite and smiling and she was right on time with taking the order, bringing the products and bringing the check & change - we did not have to wait and waste one second! :) The wave of people coming in is quite frequent so the rotation on the tables is quite fast. Kudos to the ladies working there! The prices are the same as the terraces below, in the Sukienicce's sides, so if you are in the area go upstairs for the upgrade of the view (on no cost!) - I had a milk cocktail with blueberries and it was cold, refreshing, smooth, filling and yummy and it cost only 12 zloty (around 3 euros). Smoothies are also more or less the same price and that is what I am planning to try next time ;) Marek had an iced coffee - chocolate - whipped cream treat (with extra biscuit on the side!) and that was on the same price. How he manages to pick the sweetest things in the menu, I will never know ;))) I recommend this place on a summer afternoon - sit underneath the big umbrellas, enjoy the breeze and watch the people in the Main Square :) Relax!

**I didn't receive anything for this review, just wanted to share the love! Prices given were valid in July 2015 - but don't worry, the zloty is one of the most ferm and unchanging currencies and Poland loves to keep a good eye on its economy! so the prices will not change much. **

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Beautiful Views Provided By Coffee Shops