Ornamentation, Painters’ House, Zalipie

Zalipie is a small village located in the Małopolska region in the Olesno County (‘gmina’). Whatever the season, here you can admire the colourful flowers that ‘bloom’ on all sorts of farm buildings, houses, wells, cellars, roadside shrines, and dog kennels.

Zalipie ornamentation was already known more than 120 years ago and originated from simple spots, the so-called ‘packi’, painted with lime using a brush on soot-covered surfaces – usually bread ovens and low-set roofs. The originally very simple, geometric, even primitive painting took on more complex forms over time, which was related to, among other things, the availability of better quality paint and brushes. Nowadays we use acrylic paint. The flowers of Zalipie are flowers of the imagination; there are no rigid rules or principles, and there is a great deal of freedom in form and colour scheme. Each painter has their own distinctive and recognisable style.

Every spring, on the first weekend after Corpus Christi, Zalipie hosts a competition called ‘The Painted Cottage’. It is one of the oldest folk art competitions in Poland. Every year, around 100 people from Zalipie and neighbouring villages enter. The participants decorate of refresh their houses to impress a panel of ethnographers and experts in folk art. The panel of judges visits the participating houses and, in accordance with the rules, awards prizes in three categories:

1. for new paintings, made especially for this year’s competition,

2. for paintings from previous years, refreshed and presenting high artistic value,

3. for supporting folk art. The ‘Painted Cottage’ competition has now become a long-standing tradition and a symbol of the entire region. It is often entered by multi-generational families.

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