The Szołaysky House houses the Stanisław Wyspiański Museum, which was moved there in 2003 following a careful restoration of the 19th-century building.The museum is a division of the National Museum in Krakow. Its extensive collection includes works by Wyspiański, memorabilia and items relating to his times. The museum also has a permanent exposition dedicated to Feliks “Manggha” Jasieński.
The collection was started by Wyspiański who presented the National Museum with his designs of stained glass windows for the Wawel Cathedral and, upon his death, bequathed his late works to the museum. For many years, the National Museum had a gallery dedicated to the artist, and in 1983 a separate division in his name was created.
Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907) was a playwright, painter, poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. He was one of the most outstanding and multifaceted artists of his time in Europe, successfully joining the trends of modernism with themes of the Polish folk tradition and Romantic history.
Stanisław Wyspiański was born to sculptor Franciszek Wyspiański and Maria Rogowska. Due to alcohol problem, Stanisław’s father could not fulfil his parental responsibilities. Stanisław was adopted by his aunt Joanna Stankiewiczowa and her husband Kazimierz. In 1887 Wyspiański enrolled in the Philosophy Department at the Jagiellonian University and the School of Fine Arts in Krakow. While studying at the University, he attended lectures in art, history and literature. Jan Matejko, the dean of the School of Fine Arts recognised Wyspiański’s talent and asked him to join in the creation of a polychrome inside St Mary’s Basilica. Later Wyspiański travelled across Europe and studied in France, which he considered particularly beneficial to his artistic development. In August 1894 he returned to Krakow. He designed and partially made a polychrome for the church of St Francis of Assisi, as well as the stained glass windows. As a painter, interior designer and poet he cooperated with the Municipal Theatre in Krakow. All the while he also wrote. His symbolic dramas touched relevant issues of patriorism, cultural heritage and artistic expression. In 1900 Wyspiański married the mother of his four children Teodora Pytko. In November the same year he participated in the wedding of his friend Lucjan Rydel in Bronowice, a village near Kraków. The wedding party was an inspiration for his well acclaimed play “Wesele” (“The Wedding”). In 1906 Wyspiański became professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, he was also a member of the City Council. In his last years Wyspianski’s health condition deteriorated, as a result, he underwent medical treatments in Rymanów and Bad Hall. Then he settled in his small cottage in a village of Węgrzce. He died of then incurable syphilis. His funeral took place in Krakow and became a national manifestation. Wyspiański was buried in the Crypt of the Distinguished in the Skałka Church.