Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The neo-Renaissance main building of the Academy of Fine Arts has been and is also today an important, nearly dominant, architectural accent of Matejko Square - the public space shaped in the 19th century in the place of the former Kleparz market square, to expose one of the most beautiful views of the old Cracow with the Barbacan, Floriańska Gate, and towers of St Mary's Basilica.


The building was designed by municipal architect Maciej Moraczewski, and it was erected in the years 1879-1880, to house the oldest artistic university in Poland, established in 1818 as the Painting School, part of the Literature Department at the Philosophy Faculty of Jagiellonian University. In 1833, it was liquidated as a university faculty and merged with the Institute of Technology to form the School of Fine Arts. In 1873, Jan Matejko became its director, and the School of Fine Arts (SFA) was separated from the Institute of Technology. After the death of Matejko (1893), the SFA was headed by W. Łuszczkiewicz, and in 1895, J. Fałat became its director. On 24 February 1900, the FSA was renamed to the Academy of Fine Arts (AFA). At that time, the number of students doubled which aggravated housing difficulties of the university, despite the apparent spaciousness of the building. Confined space and overcrowding resulted in students strikes, which in 1909 led to the resignation of Fałat from his position. In the years 1914-1918, the building was occupied by military authorities. After the outbreak of the World War II, Germans liquidated the Academy and founded a Kunstgewerbeschule in its place, or a school of a School of Handcraft, which existed until March 1943. At a later time, the occupants organised an orphanage for German children and military barracks in the building. Today the Academy, recreated after 1945, operates continuously. At present, at Matejki Square, there is painting faculty and sculpture faculty. Since 2003, the Social Committee for Restoration of Cracow Monuments has supported financially conservation works on the façades, roof, and reconstruction of griffins.


The building was built in Kleparz - a town chartered by Casimir the Great, which in the 19th century was only neglected suburbs of Cracow. The building's location was in line with the so-called "ring" urban concept, modelled on the Vienna architectural solutions - a representative avenue built up with monumental buildings surrounding the mediaeval city centre. The neo-Renaissance front façade of the building is closed on the sides by avant-corps topped with cupolas, and windows with surrounds, skilfully arranged in the brick surface of the wall, give lightness to the building. The brick walls are partitioned by flat pilasters, which removed the impression of a heavy, barrack building. Over the entrance to the building, a bust of Jan Matejko was placed. Unfortunately, as a result of many years of negligence, the beauty of brick and stone patterns of the façade hid behind a thick layer of dirt. They were removed only during the renovation in the 20th century. The massive edifice is situated between Basztowa Street and I. Paderewskiego Street.

The monument is accessible during the courses.

compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 20-03-2015.


  • Akademia w Krakowie, Kraków 2012
  • Czterej Mistrzowie i ich pracownie. Malarstwo i rysunek ze zbiorów Muzeum Akademii Sztuk, Kraków 2011
  • Dutkiewicz J., Materiały do dziejów Akademii, Kraków 1969.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, T. I, Województwo krakowskie, Warszawa 1953
  • M. Rożek, Przewodnik po zabytkach i kulturze Krakowa, Kraków 1993

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Matejki 13, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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