Seminar ‘Death and Magic in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia’

Death and Magic in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia
Interdisciplinary Research Seminar on Pre-Christian Scandinavian beliefs

21.06.2017, Bonn (Germany)

The Pre-Christian beliefs of the Scandinavians, and especially their approaches to death and the supernatural world, are currently some of the most widely debated topics in Old Norse and Viking studies. As a result of new methodological and theoretical developments, scholars are becoming increasingly interested in finding innovative ways to move beyond the strictly defined disciplinary borders. It is now more clear than ever that any meaningful study of pre-Christian beliefs in the North must seek to combine different categories of sources from a range of disciplines, including archaeology, iconography, textual scholarship and history of religions.

In order to help students and young scholars to develop sensible methodological skills in approaching, assessing and critically combining sources from these different fields of research, together with Professor Dr. Rudolf Simek we will hold an open seminar entitled “Death and Magic in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia”. The seminar will provide graduate and post-graduate students with essential background knowledge on how to approach and critically filter the rich material and textual sources and effectively use them in interdisciplinary research on various aspects of pre-Christian beliefs in the North. [source]

More information on the website of the Abteilung für Skandinavische Sprachen und Literaturen

In the poster is presented an artistic reconstruction of a grave form Nordre Kjølen (Norway) which was painted by Mirosław Kuźma.

World Bathed in a Spring Mist

These photos have been taken near Wodzicki’s palace in Igołomia (near Kraków) on 9th March 2017.

The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice

Below, I present photos which I took in The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice in Kraków on 5th March 2017.

In the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice

‘Frenzy of Exultations’ by Władysław Podkowiński

‘A Gathering of Storks’ by Władysław Malecki

‘Water Nymphs’ by Witold Pruszkowski

‘Cranes’ by Józef Chełmoński

‘Nero’s Torches’ by Henryk Siemiradzki

Other Paintings

In the National Museum and Old Market Underground Museum

Below, I present photos which I took in the National Museum and the Old Market Underground Museum in Kraków on 5th March 2017.

In the National Museum in Kraków

Art in the National Museum in Kraków

In the Old Market Underground Museum


On 3rd February 2017, I took part in the Early Medieval Forum (Fórum včasného stredoveku) in Bratislava, and I presented there the paper entitled “Viking Re-enactment in Poland: Beginnings, Development, and Current Problems“. The whole symposium was dedicated to the early medieval re-enactment and experimental archaeology. I would like to thank all participants for a nice reception, fantastic event and very interesting discussions during the Forum.

On 4th February, I visited the Slovak National Museum in the Bratislava Castle. I saw there contemporary exhibition “Celts from Bratislava“, and constant exhibition devoted to the Prehistory, the Migration Period, and the early Middle Ages in Slovakia. Moreover, I visited the beautiful old part of  Bratislava.

Contemporary exhibition “Celts from Bratislava” in the Slovak National Museum

Exhibition dedicated to the Prehistory, Migration Period,

and early Middle Ages in Slovakia


In the Gallery of Master

Najprościej byłoby powiedzieć, że idzie o rzeczywistość marzenia lub snu. Dla mnie ma on charakter czysto wizualny, ale za tą wizją ukrywa się przeżycie, które jednak nie jest przekładalne na słowa.

It would  be easy to say that this is all about dreaming or fantasy. For me it has a purely visual character, but beyond the vision there is hidden an emotional experience that cannot be put into words.

Zdzisław Beksiński

On one Saturday (28.01.2017) I visited the Gallery of Zdzisław Beksiński in the Historical Museum in Sanok. I really would like to saw again this amazing place (my first visit took place on 14 November 2014) and reminded myself how this huge collection of Beksiński’s works (c.a. 600 – according to the Museum’s website) looks life.

The exhibition in the Gallery begins with the rooms dedicated to works which this very talented Artist has manufactured in Sanok – the city in which he was born, and lived till 1977. In the first room are presented heavy and disturbing metal sculptures, metal reliefs, ceramic heads, drawings and early paintings. The second smaller, room is devoted only to the black and white photographies. I like these amazing moments, Artist’s visions, and mysterious sceneries immortalised on a celluloid.

The next room of the Gallery is unique. In it is placed the full-sized reconstruction of the original Warsaw studio. The Warsaw studio was a place in which this Artist created the most famous of his paintings. This part of exhibition allowed us to see how this artist worked, what kind of paints he used, and what genres of music he listened during work.

The following part of the Gallery (placed behind Warsaw studio) is also dedicated to the Beksiński’s  works manufactured in Sanok. In this room part of the Artist’s works are hanging on the walls, but more of them lying in drawers of metal cabinets. This part of the exhibition consists of drawings, various black and white photos, colourful paintings on glass, monotypes, computer graphics, ceramic heads, and several paintings. In my opinion, the exhibition presented in this room allows us to know better the various aspects of the creative output of this unusual Artist.

The next part of the Gallery is dedicated only to the paintings. There are presented paintings, which have been reproduced in the numerous albums, i.a. AA72 (known among Beksiński fans as “the Valley of Death”), AA83AA78, and Y (the last painting of the Artist). Lots of paintings exhibited in this room are my favourite Beksiński’s artworks. I like to look at these paintings and admire intricate brush’s strokes compose on these remarkable “depictions”. As far as I am concern, every detail of every single Beksiński’s artwork could be a separate picture.

The last room of the Gallery consist of “the Labyrinth” in which also are exhibited wonderful paintings of the artist. In the Labyrinth are mainly presented artworks which have belonged to the collections of Zofia Beksińska or Tomasz Beksiński. I believe, that these unusual and fascinating pictures, which for some people could be terrifying, struck spectator with a multitude of details and strange visions. Moreover, I am of the opinion that these artworks ‘tell’ us stories about dreams and fears hidden deep in the nook of the artist mind. I think also they are also pictured stories from fantastic, weird worlds, which have been frozen in time on hardboards.


‘AF76’ is one of my favourite Zdzisław Beksiński’s paintings. I really like these entangled hands, hanging heart and mysterious stone doors which have been frozen in time. In my opinion, this painting has also wonderful colouring (these greens and yellows are simply amazing!).

To conclude, this visit was an extraordinary experience for me. I enjoyed this metaphorical travel between different worlds depicted on Beksiński’s drawings or paintings. I would like to recommend the Gallery of  Zdzisław Beksiński in the Historical Museum to the every person who will plan to visit Sanok!

For more information about life and works of Zdzisław Beksiński, visit:

You can also support the campaign aims to raise funds for a documentary about the Beksinski family entitled “From the Inside” (“From the Inside” campaign).

In the Historical Museum in Sanok

These photos I took in the Historical Museum in Sanok on 28.01.2017. This museum is located in the Sanok Royal Castle which is situated on a hill in Sanok (Poland).

In the Marian Kruczek’s Gallery

Archaeological Exhibition in Historical Museum in Sanok

The archaeological exhibition is placed in the one of the basements of the Sanok Royal Castle.  On this small exhibition they are presented archaeological finds discovered in Southern Poland. Here can be see examples of unique hoards from the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age, but also artefacts from the Neolithic, the Iron Age, and the Middle Ages.


In the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok

Today, I visited the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok (Poland). It is one of my favourite open-air museum, and I really like to visit it for time to time. It was very nice to walk and look at old, beautiful cottages, reconstructed  Galician town and beehives in winter scenery.

Today visit in the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok was my third visit in this place. Photos from the two previous visits can be found in galleries ‘Formerly on Polish Village…‘ and ‘In the Galician Town‘.

Hrafn Photography’s Stats of 2016

In 2016 I uploaded many photos on Hrafn Photography. According to the stats the most viewed galleries on my blog in 2016 are:

  1. Im Schloss Gottorf (published in 2015)
  2. Im Wikinger Museum Haithabu (published in 2015)
  3. In the Museum of the First Piasts at Lednica and on the Ostrów Lednicki Island (published in 2015)
  4. Durch Epochen (published in 2014)
  5. 17th Slavs and Vikings Festival (published in 2013)
  6. “Die Wikinger” – Ausstellung in Berlin (published in 2014)
  7. My Mjölnir pendant (published in 2014)
  8. 22nd Slavs and Vikings Festival (published in 2016)
  9. Four Mighty Staffs (published in 2016)

I would like to thank you for visiting Hrafn Photography, viewing my photos, and sharing of my photo-galleries in 2016!

Happy New Year! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

Frohes Neues Jahr! Gott Nytt År!


My personal review of 2016


was a very important and fruitful year in my life: I met fantastic people, I visited some amazing places in four countries (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Poland), I took part in several unforgettable international conferences, and last but not least I took numerous photos during my travels.

In March I was, for the first time, on the international conference. I took part in the 9th Aarhus Student Symposium on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian Subjects at Aarhus University (17-18.03.2016). I presented there my paper entitled Viking re-enactment in Poland. Popularisation or depreciation of the past? concerning fascinating phenomenon in modern culture of Poland. During it, I got to know many nice people, I listened a lot of interesting papers concerning the Viking Age, and also I visited beautiful city Århus. After this fantastic event, I visited amazing Moesgaard Museum (which is one of my favourite museums). From Århus I went to Kiel. I spent there one week working in the fantastic library of the Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, University of Kiel.

In April, my friends and I took part in the 8th Archaeological Workshops in Poznań (06-09.04.2016). During, this event we listened many interesting archaeological lectures and took part in some fascinating workshops. We visited a lot of museums and interesting places in Poznań, Giecz, Grzybowo, and in Gniezno. At the end on this month, I took part in the Student Conference ‘Reading the Past’ at Institute of Archaeology, University of Rzeszów (21-22.04.2016). I presented there my paper entitled Zaklęte Przedmioty. Współczesne różdżki obrzędowe (tzw. seiðr-staffs) (Eng. Enchanted objects. Modern ‘seiðr-staffs’). In my presentation I talked over modern reconstruction and replicas of Viking staffs.

In May, I had honour to be a guest lecturer during  Leszek Gardeła’s lecture entitled Magiczne różdżki w epoce wikingów. Literatura, archeologia, eksperyment  (Eng. Magic staffs in the Viking Age. Literature, Archaeology, Experiment) at Institute of Archaeology University of Rzeszów (12.05.2016) [Photo-relation is available here]. I presented there results of my archaeological experiment with replica of artefact from Trekroner-Grydehøj (grave A505).

In August, I visited archaeological sites by lakes in Ostrów Lednicki, Żółte, Nętno, and Bnin (I talked over weapon finds from this areas of water in my Master’s thesis). After three years, I visited the Slavs and Vikings Festival in Wolin at last! I spend there three, unforgettable days taking photos and talking with numerous re-enactors. Moreover, I was (for the first time) on Dymarki Świętokrzyskie festival in Nowa Słupia (13.08.2016). It was very nice to saw Iron Age and Antique re-enactment live. After one-day adventure in the Iron Age, I came back to the Viking world and I visited the Carpathian Archaeological Festival ‘Two Faces’ in Trzcinica (20.08.2016).

The beginning of September was a very important time for me. On 8 September 2016 I successfully defended my Master’s thesis entitled Uzbojenie z IX – XI wieku z terenu północno-zachodniej Polski w kontekście wodnym (Eng. Weaponry from 9th to 10th century from north-western Poland in the water context).

In last but one month of 2016 I participated in a unusual and unforgettable event. I took part in conference in Cork entitled Rediscovering the Vikings: Reception, Recovery, Engagement  (25-26.11.2016). During this event I present my paper entitled Women in Viking Re-enactment in Poland. I also listened many fantastic and interesting lectures and papers which I really enjoyed. In my opinion, Rediscovering the Vikings was the best conference on which I have ever been!

I would like to thank you all for fantastic 2016!

I wish you a good health, happiness, many amazing adventures, unusual photos,  and a lot of successes in the upcoming year 2017!