Dom Malarek w Zalipiu

In south-eastern Poland, where the Vistula and the Dunajec Rivers meet, you can find Zalipie, one of the most unique and beautiful places in the old Polish countryside.

In Zalipie, folk art is much more vivid than in other Polish regions.  This folk fame has resulted from a local specific ornamentation tradition, which began in the late nineteenth century.  In that times houses lacked chimneys and the smoke from the cottage hearths, floating around the main room, blackened the interior.  To brighten the insides of their dwellings, women and girls used to paint white lime spots on walls dark with soot. Their brushes were birch sticks shredded at the end.Over time, women not only learned to make finer brushes but began to use color and so the primitive spots evolved into simple flowers — peonies, roses and lupines like those blooming in their village fields and gardens. Then grandmothers taught the floral art to daughters and granddaughters and by the 20th century the custom had fully evolved into a tradition of painting the detailed colorful flower compositions.

Today the more talented women of Zalipie not only decorate walls, they paint flower garlands on their furniture, china, glass and around window and doors. They also richly ornament the exteriors of their homes, barns, chicken coops and dog houses.  Some of them make beautiful decorative papers hung in windows or embroider traditional costumes and tablecloths.  There is no limit for their imagination and self-expression as it is art of the heart, and the art of the hearth & home-making.

To encourage the painters to cultivate the tradition of covering houses with floral designs and prevent its disappearance, since the 60s the Ethno-graphic Museum of Tarnow organizes a “Painted Cottage” competition.  Every spring, right after Corpus Christi in June, many women from Zalipie and surrounding villages create new art and enter their houses and farms in the contest.  Everyone wins a prize.  It is worth mentioning that Zalipie has many beautifully decorated buildings available for sightseeing.  One of them is Catholic parish church with painted presbytery and collection of liturgical attire embroidered by local women.  Another is the Museum of Felicia Curyło, the most popular of local artists.  However, the cultural life of the village is focused in the building of the House of Painters.  There you can not only admire painted bouquets on the walls or buy souvenirs but also see women at work on the beautiful local crafts. It is the place where you can get information concerning the tradition of decorating, take part in workshops on painting, see the exposition of folk art and photography documenting the “Painted Cottage” contest and also familiarize yourself with the work of the Powisle Dabrowskie artists.