„[…] ta korona po pięciu wiekach z grobu wychodząca na świat, na jasne słońce” – ekslibris Muzeum Narodowego w Krakowie
In 1901, the association Polska Sztuka Stosowana (Polish Applied Arts) announced a contest for a bookplate to be featured at the National Museum in Kraków. It was the fi rst competition of this sort in the Polish lands, and the result was the fi rst artistic Polish bookplate created by a traditional technique. Its author was Jan Bukowski, then starting his career in typography and illustration. Marking books with a decorative label, usually pasted onto the front endpaper, was becoming fashionable among bibliophiles and was an expression of their taste, education and artistic culture. For the following twenty or so years, the contest became a model for many other similar competitions. This article analyzes the form and content of the bookplate in question, which for many years became the trademark and logo of the National Museum in Kraków. It was also the paragon of the Polish exlibris valuable not only for its artistic but also Polish national features. Lastly, it was an object of exchange between the museum and Polish and foreign institutions,
on the one hand, and between collectors, on the other.