Poland – "Divine Maestro... guide our hands...": 15 years of Art Workshops and Exhibition 2022 under the care of the Kruczek brothers, SDB

01 July 2022
Photos: B. Wnęk e R. Kruczek

(ANS - Krakow) - At the Salesian church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Krakow-Dębniki, Fr. Leszek and Fr. Robert Kruczek, Salesians and twin brothers, have been holding art workshops for fifteen years: icon-writing, easel painting, small forms of sculpture... Classes are held regularly, every Monday from October to June. Most of the participants are older people for whom this meeting is a real joy because, as one of the participants said, it is often the only joy they can look forward to all week. Each Monday the meeting begins with a prayer:

"You, Divine Master of all that exists,

enlighten and direct the souls and bodies of Thy servants,

guide our hands that we may worthily and perfectly present

Your image,

the image of Thy holy Mother and all the saints

For the glory, joy, and beautification of Thy holy Church."

Each year the workshops conclude with an exhibition organized in the basement of the Dębniki church. This year, on June 19, was a special exhibition because it was organized after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. Although activities have always continued, in a reduced form, it had not been possible to organize the exhibition in previous years.

Exhibition 2022 brought together 76 works in various techniques: works on panel, canvases, small sculptural forms, painted in tempera, oil and acrylic. 

Workshop participants are inspired not only by famous icon artists but also by great masters of Western painting from various parts of the world. There are also those who create according to their own ideas and styles, making images of the Virgin Mary, the Lord Jesus, many saints and angels. Among the works presented, there is also a small group of so-called "secular" works, including a railway diorama made by a very young participant, 11-year-old Szymon.

Each edition of the exhibition testifies that the works are becoming more mature, rich in imagery, and unique, and for many visitors, visiting it is a mystical experience. Icons, incense, an Orthodox choir that could be heard in the background, and interesting interior design created a unique atmosphere of reflection on the invisible.

After the exhibition, and the solemn Holy Mass, all the works of the "sacred" group were blessed.

All this would not be possible without the great commitment and dedication of the Kruczek brothers, Salesian priests. Despite their many priestly duties and artistic activity, the two also teach painting and sculpture and have been animating the Art Workshops - School of Icon Writing, at the Salesian church in Dębniki for fifteen years. They also organize annual exhibitions, which summarize the work of course participants. Above all, they serve everyone with good advice, cheerfulness, a smile, and great trust and faith in the power of the Almighty.

Paintings, statues, bas-reliefs, and busts of Kruczek priests can be found in many important places in Poland, such as at the Shrine of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, and St. John Paul II in Toruń, at the church in Kielce-Niewachlów, and around the world: in Vilnius (Lithuania), in Colle Don Bosco (Italy), as well as in Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Peru, Venezuela, and many other places...

The joy expressed by the faces of the sculpted or painted figures is a hallmark of the Kruczek brothers' work. "Art should lift people up and bring them closer to God," argue the twin Salesians, who experience the greatest joy when their works serve to foster concentration, prayer, and generally a relationship with the Creator.

Finally, the Kruczek brothers are also known for their extremely faithful and realistic works depicting St. John Paul II. In their sculptures, the Pope is as if he were alive, as can be seen in the Kraków-Dębniki church chapel, the Market Square in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the Museum of Coins and Medals of John Paul II in Częstochowa, and many other places where the Kruczek brothers' works are displayed. 

Ewa Rużyło-Malarz e Alicja Rafalska-Lasocha


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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