The 'TRANSALPINUM' exhibition, opened at the National Museum in Warsaw on 17 September 2004, was a highly untypical contemporary museum venture. Its general conception and practical realisation inspire reflections on the essence of combining the history of art and art collecting as well as museum studies with research delving into the sociology and psychology of the reception of artistic phenomena. Idea of the exhibition - the year 2002 witnessed the inauguration of two large-scale exhibitions based on the Polish collections in Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The shows inspired the conception of presenting the masterpieces of European painting amassed by outstanding Habsburg collectors at an exhibition to be held in Warsaw and demonstrating the mutual impact of north and south European painting. The display was initially entitled 'North-South. Dialogues of the Masters', and after subsequent research was given the additional title of 'TRANSALPINUM'. The inner order of the exhibition was delineated by two perspectives: artistic, devoted to distinguished artists and their outstanding works, and collection, demonstrating the topography of the activity of patrons and collectors. The latter was divided into two parts: dealing with the themes and genres pursued by painters regardless of the topographic location of their studios, and depicting assorted art centres on both sides of the Alps. Thesis of the exhibition and its setting - the prime research thesis assumed that the shape of modern painting in Europe was not so much the effect of the impact exerted by Italian Renaissance and antique tradition upon art in the remaining regions of Europe, as the result of a complicated network of influence and dependence, with extremely strong emphasis placed on the significance of the expression of Northern art, which affected sixteenth-century Italy. A virtual project of the exhibition was prepared in order to portray this process, the instalment of descriptions and installations was carefully planned, and maps illustrating the routes traversed by the artists were included. Educational programme - the presence of so many important paintings inclined the organisers of the exhibition to devise a programme of museum lessons. Exhibition financing and budget - the prime sponsor of the National Museum in Warsaw was Polkomtel S. A., and partial financing of security measures by the UNIQA company made it possible for the exhibition to take place.