Jacek Malczewski

Jacek Malczewski (Polish: [ˈjat͡sɛk malˈt͡ʂɛfskʲi] (listen); 15 July 1854 – 8 October 1929) is one of the most revered painters of Poland, associated with the patriotic Young Poland movement following the century of Partitions. He is regarded as the father of Polish Symbolism. In his creative output, Malczewski combined the predominant style of his times, with historical motifs of Polish martyrdom, the Romantic ideals of independence, Christian and Greek traditions, folk mythology, as well as his love of the natural environment.[1][2]

Malczewski was born in Radom,[3] part of Congress Poland controlled then by the Russian Empire. During his childhood and early teen years he was greatly influenced by his father Julian, a Polish patriot and social activist who introduced him to the world of Romantic literature inspired by the November Uprising. On his mother's side, he was related to the Szymanowski family whom they often visited on their country estate in Cygów. Similarly, the beauty of Polish landscape and folklore had been awakened in him by Feliks Karczewski, his uncle and long-time guardian who invited future novelist Adolf Dygasiński to his estate, for Jacek's cognitive benefit.[1]

Jacek Malczewski
Malczewski Self-portrait with a palette
Self-portrait, 1892
Born15 July 1854
Died8 October 1929 (aged 75)

Artistic career

Malczewski melancholia
Melancholia (1894), National Museum in Poznań

Malczewski moved to Kraków at age 17, and began his art education in 1872 under the watchful eye of Leon Piccard. He attended his first art classes in the workshop of Władysław Łuszczkiewicz at the School of Fine Arts. A year later, in 1873, reassessed by Jan Matejko himself, Malczewski formally enrolled in the School, and studied with Łuszczkiewicz, Feliks Szynalewski and Florian Cynk. In 1876 he went to Paris, France and studied for a year at the École des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Henri Lehmann. He attended also the Académie Suisse.[1][3]

Malczewski started his master studies with Jan Matejko already in 1875 before embarking on a trip to France, and completed them in 1879 after his return from abroad back to Partitioned Poland. In spite of considerable aesthetic differences between them, Malczewski was greatly influenced by Matejko's historical painting filled with neo-romantic metaphor and patriotic themes. In 1879, Malczewski completed a master course on composition under Matejko.[4] He was equally impressed with the dramatic art of earlier Polish Romantic painter Artur Grottger. His painting revolved around a few carefully selected motifs, constantly retold and expanded into mythology filled with national symbols. His own awakened imagination enabled Malczewski to free the creative voice within and give rise to new aesthetic ideas defining Poland's school of Symbolism.[1]


Over the course of some 30 years between 1885 and 1916, Malczewski regularly visited Paris, Munich and Vienna. He made several trips to Italy, Greece and Turkey. He also took part in the archaeological expedition organized by his friend Karol Lanckoroński, documenting their scientific findings with his detailed studies. He drew his inspiration from a wide variety of sources often exotic or even biblical, but inadvertently, translated them back into Polish folklore, tradition and motives in his own painting.[2] His most famous canvasses include "Błędne koło" (The Mad Circle, 1895–97), "Melancholia" (1890–1894), "Natchnienie malarza" (Painter's Muse, 1897), "Wizja" (A vision, 1912), the series of Thanatos as well as Bajki (Fairytales), and several notable others. Many of his paintings prominently feature his own self-portraits in elaborate costume; a trade-mark of his style often displaying of a great sense of humor.[1][2]

In 1897–1900 and 1912–1921 Malczewski served as Professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.[5] He was elected Rector of the Academy in 1912.[6] His art has been compared to that of French Gustave Moreau, Swiss Arnold Böcklin, and even Spanish Salvador Dalí. His paintings received high honours at the international exhibits including Berlin in 1891, Munich in 1892, and Paris in 1900.[1][2] Malczewski was married to Maria née Garlewska and had a son, Rafał Malczewski born in 1892, also a painter, who sold all of his father's works in his possession to the National Museum in Warsaw before World War II and settled in Montreal later on. It is believed that the subject of numerous nude studies in Malczewski's paintings, Maria Bal (Balowa) née Brunicka, was also his long-time lover.[7] He lost his vision towards the end of his life and died in Kraków on October 8, 1929. He was buried at Skałka, Poland's national Panthéon.[3]

Selected works

Malczewski Jacek Pokusa fortuny

Temptation of Fortune

Bledne kolo

Błędne koło (Vicious Circle)

Malczewski Jacek Ojczyzna

Motherland. Portrait of Maria Bal

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d e f Irena Kossowska (October 2002). "Jacek Malczewski". Symbolizm w polskim malarstwie przełomu XIX i XX wieku (in Polish). Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk. Culture.pl. Retrieved October 17, 2012. Filled with erotic undertones the existentialist trend in Malczewski's art revealed his deep roots in Polish tradition and his fascination with legend and folk law (Polish: Nasycony erotycznymi podtekstami, egzystencjalny nurt w twórczości Malczewskiego... dawał wyraz zakorzeniania artysty w rodzimej tradycji, jego fascynacji ludowymi legendami i baśniami.)
  2. ^ a b c d Marcin Grota (1996). "Malczewski's Mythology". Malczewski exhibition at the Czartoryski Museum (Warsaw Voice review). University of Buffalo. Info.Poland. Archived from the original on June 25, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2012. [He produced] paintings showing Madonnas with faces and figures characteristic of the type of beauty that in Malczewski's times could be seen in the villages scattered along the Vistula river...
  3. ^ a b c PAP (August 12, 2011). "Obrazy Malczewskich na wystawie w Zakopanem". Wiadomości (in Polish). Gazeta.pl. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  4. ^ Jacek Malczewski at Culture.pl
  5. ^ "Jacek Malczewski (Radom 1854 - Kraków 1929)". Short biography (in Polish). Pinakoteka Zascianek.pl. Retrieved October 18, 2012. Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN, Warsaw 1974.
  6. ^ Polish Press Agency (September 4, 2012). "Biografia Jacka Malczewskiego". Malczewski. Dukt pisma i pędzla (in Polish). Onet.Kultura. Archived from the original on April 16, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  7. ^ Włodzimierz Kalicki (September 14, 2012). "Malczewski u źródła". Ale historia (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved October 19, 2012.

External links

Art in Poland

Art in Poland refers to all forms of visual art in or associated with Poland.

Polish art has often reflected European trends while maintaining its unique character. The Kraków school of Historicist painting developed by Jan Matejko produced monumental portrayals of customs and significant events in Polish history. He is referred to as the most famous Polish painter or even the "national painter" of Poland.Stanisław Witkiewicz was an ardent supporter of Realism in Polish art, its main representative being Jozef Chełmoński. The Młoda Polska (Young Poland) movement witnessed the birth of modern Polish art and engaged in a great deal of formal experimentation led by Jacek Malczewski (Symbolism), Stanisław Wyspiański, Józef Mehoffer, and a group of Polish Impressionists. Artists of the twentieth-century Avant-Garde represented various schools and trends. The art of Tadeusz Makowski was influenced by Cubism; while Władysław Strzemiński and Henryk Stażewski worked within the Constructivist idiom. Distinguished contemporary artists include Roman Opałka, Wilhelm Sasnal, Leon Tarasewicz, Jerzy Nowosielski, Wojciech Siudmak, Mirosław Bałka, and Katarzyna Kozyra and Zbigniew Wąsiel in the younger generation. Tamara de Lempicka was Polish artist creating Art Deco paintings. The most celebrated Polish sculptors include Xawery Dunikowski, Katarzyna Kobro, Alina Szapocznikow and Magdalena Abakanowicz.,Since the inter-war years, Polish art and documentary photography has enjoyed worldwide recognition. In the sixties the Polish Poster School was formed, with Henryk Tomaszewski and Waldemar Świerzy at its head.

Bogusław Bagsik

Bogusław Bagsik (born April 8, 1963 in Bytom, Poland) is a Polish businessman, politician and patron of arts.

He is the founder and owner of ART B. In 1991 Bagsik emigrated to Tel Aviv. As of 1991, Bagsik was the 8th wealthiest person in Poland, according to Wprost magazine.

Café Noworolski

Noworolski is a café located at the ground floor of the Cloth Hall, Kraków, Lesser Poland. It is considered one of the most famous cafes in Kraków.The tradition of the Noworolski dates to 19th century, through the opening of the renovated cafe under its current name took place in the years 1910-1912. It became popular among the elite of Kraków, with artists and professors, thereby competing with Jama Michalika. It hosted famous persons such Jacek Malczewski, Wojciech Kossak, Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Julian Fałat, Fryderyk Pautsch, Karol Hukan, Ludwik Puget, and Karol Hubert Rostworowski.During the Nazi occupation the cafe was requisitioned and access allowed only to Germans. The family Noworolski again lost the place in 1949, when the cafe was nationalized by the communists and renamed. After the fall of communism, the café was restituted to the family in 1992.

Eugeniusz Geppert

Eugeniusz Geppert (born September 4, 1890 in L'viv, died January 13, 1979 in Wrocław) – Polish painter associated with the Colourist movement, organizer of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław.

Received formal training at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow under the tutelage of Jacek Malczewski as well as at the Jagiellonian University. Geppert also studied art in Paris between 1925 and 1927, as well as in 1957. Before World War II he was a member of the Zwornik arts group. He was a cofounder and the first rector of the first Higher School of the Arts in Wrocław. Between 1950-1961 and 1966-1974 he had his own painting studio.

On April 25, 2008 Wrocław's Academy of Fine Arts was renamed to commemorate him.


Malczewski (feminine Malczewska) is a Polish locational surname, which originally meant a person from Malczew or Malczewo in Poland. Variants of the name include Malczewska, Malczewscy, Malchevsky and Malczewska. The name may refer to:

Antoni Malczewski (1793–1826), Polish poet

Jacek Malczewski (1854–1929), Polish painter

Jakub Malczewski, Polish alpine skierAlexey Sergeevich Malchevsky (1915–1985), Soviet ornithologist, dean of biology at the Leningrad State University.

Maria Bal

Jadwiga Maria Kinga Bal (Balowa) of Zaleszczyki, née Brunicka (July 26, 1879 – January 1, 1955) was a Polish baroness and a lifelong muse of Jacek Malczewski, considered Poland's national painter. She served as the live model for a series of his symbolic portrayals of women, as well as nude studies and mythological beings. Most were completed before the interwar period when Poland had not yet achieved independence.

Okocim Brewery

Okocim Brewery (Polish pronunciation: [ɔˈkɔt͡ɕim]), in Brzesko in southeastern Poland, is a brewery founded in 1845.

Polish Hamlet. Portrait of Aleksander Wielopolski

Polish Hamlet. Portrait of Alexander Wielopolski is an oil painting by Jacek Malczewski from 1903, presenting the allegorical grandson Alexander Wielopolski and two different visions of the fate of the Polish nation.

Polonia (personification)

Polonia, the name for Poland in Latin and many Romance and other languages, is most often used in modern Polish as referring to the Polish diaspora. However, as can be seen from the image, it was also used as a national personification.

The symbolic depiction of a country as a woman called by the Latin name of that country was common in the 19th Century (see Germania, Britannia, Hibernia, Helvetia).


Radom ([ˈradɔm] (listen); Yiddish: ראָדעם‎ Rodem) is a city in east-central Poland, located 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Poland's capital, Warsaw, on the Mleczna River, in (as of 1999) the Masovian Voivodeship, having previously been the capital of Radom Voivodeship (1975–1998). Despite being part of the Masovian Voivodeship, the city historically belongs to Lesser Poland. For centuries, Radom was part of the Sandomierz Voivodeship of the Kingdom of Poland and the later Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was an important center of administration, having served as seat of the Crown Council. The Pact of Vilnius and Radom was signed there in 1401, and the Nihil novi and Łaski's Statute were adopted by the Sejm at Radom's Royal Castle in 1505. In 1976, it was a center of anti Communist street protests. Radom is the fourteenth-largest city in Poland and the second-largest in the voivodeship with a population of 214,566 as of 2017, down from 221,287 in 2011.

The city is home to the biennial Radom Air Show, the largest and best-attended air show in Poland, held during the last weekend of August. "Radom" is also the popular unofficial name for a semiautomatic 9 mm Para pistol of Polish design (the Model 35/ViS-35) which was produced from 1935 to 1944 at the national arsenal located in the city, under the directorship of Kazimierz Ołdakowski, after whom a square in Radom is named. The Łucznik Arms Factory (still located in Radom) continues to produce modern military firearms.

The international Radom Jazz Festival and the International Gombrowicz Theater Festival are held in the city.

Society of Polish Artists "Sztuka"

The Society of Polish Artists "Sztuka" (Polish: Towarzystwo Artystów Polskich "Sztuka"; Sztuka means Art in Polish, artyzm means artistic abilities) founded in 1897 in Kraków, was a gathering of prominent Polish visual artists from around the turn of the century (or fin-de-siècle era) living under the foreign partitions of Poland. Its main goal was to reaffirm the importance and unique character of Polish contemporary art at a time, when Poland could not exist as sovereign nation.The immediate inspiration for the founding of the new society came from the ground-breaking art exhibit inaugurated on May 27, 1897 at Sukiennice in Main Square, Kraków. It was held by Polish modernist painters, and called A Separate Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture (Wystawa osobna obrazów i rzeźb). The show was visited by approximately 6,000 guests, and proclaimed a success. The first meeting of Sztuka Society took place on October 27, 1897. Among its founding members were a generation of academics from the School of Fine Arts who also participated in the show, including future Rectors of the Academy: Leon Wyczółkowski, Teodor Axentowicz, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer; as well as artists Józef Chełmoński, Julian Fałat, Antoni Piotrowski, Jan Stanisławski, Włodzimierz Tetmajer and Stanisław Wyspiański.

Symche Trachter

Symche Trachter, full name Szymon Symche Binem Trachter (b. 1890 or 1894; d. 1942 at Treblinka extermination camp) was a Polish painter of Jewish descent.

In his youth he was a pupil of Jacek Malczewski in Cracow, one of the most famous painters of Polish Symbolism. Subsequently he pursued his studies in Vienna in 1918, and in Paris in 1927. He exhibited in Paris in 1930. Symche Trachter was active at Cracow, and also participated in exhibitions organized by the Jewish Society for the Propagation of the Fine Arts.

During the Second World War he was interned in the Warsaw Ghetto, but continued his artistic activities even in detention, decorating with frescoes — together with another painter and fellow detainee, Feliks Frydman — the walls of the main reception hall within the seat of the Ghetto's Judenrat. In 1942 he was deported by the Nazis from the Warsaw Ghetto on one of the first transports to the Treblinka extermination camp, where he was killed in the Holocaust.

Tadeusz Błotnicki

Tadeusz Błotnicki (1858 in Lwów – 1928) - sculptor, active mainly in Cracow.

He was a disciple of Parys Filippi, Marcel Guyski, and Caspar Zambusch from Vienna. He was an author of many sculptures and busts in Cracow and throughout Galicia:

bust of Stanisław Konarski at the entrance to the crypt of the Piarists church [1] and inside the church

bust of Feliks Księżarski on the Palace of Arts, which can be seen from the Planty, made in 1901

allegory of Poetry, Drama and Comedy on the facade of the Słowacki Theatre in Cracow

monument to Marcel Guyski and Oskar Kolberg in the Rakowicki Cemetery

figure of Saint Joseph in the Capuchins church

monument to Adam Mickiewicz (1898) in StanislawowHe was a known figure in the artistic spheres of the pre war Cracow; he was friends with Gabriela Zapolska, Teofil Lenartowicz and Jacek Malczewski who portraited him

The Wedding (1972 film)

Wesele (The Wedding) is a motion picture made in 1972 in Poland by Andrzej Wajda as an adaptation of a play by the same title written by Stanisław Wyspiański in 1901. Wajda also directed "Wesele" for the theatre.

"Wesele" is a defining work of Polish drama written at the turn of the 20th century. It describes the perils of the national drive toward self-determination after the Polish uprisings of November 1830 and January 1863, the result of the Partitions of Poland. It also refers to the Galician slaughter of 1846. The plot is set at the wedding of a member of Kraków intelligentsia (the Bridegroom, played by Daniel Olbrychski), and his peasant Bride (played by Ewa Ziętek). Their class-blurring union follows a fashionable trend among friends of the playwright from the modernist Young Poland movement.

The play by Wyspiański was based on a real-life event: the wedding of Lucjan Rydel at the St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków and his wedding reception in the village of Bronowice. It was inspired in part also by the modernist painting of Jacek Malczewski and Maksymilian Gierymski.

Wacław Wąsowicz

Wacław Wąsowicz (born 25 August 1891 in Warsaw, died 6 October 1942 therein) was a Polish painter and printmaker.Wacław Wasowicz studied art with Wojciech Gerson (1909-1910), afterwards he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1911-1914), where he was taught by Ignacy Pieńkowski. He had also studied at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he was a student of Jacek Malczewski (1914). He had made his artwork using trompe-l'œil, printmaking, watercolour, he painted on fabric, and on ceramic.His wife Janina Raabe-Wąsowiczowa was a social worker, and a member of the Konrad Żegota Committee.


Wernyhora is a legendary 18th century Cossack bard (bandurist) who prophetized the fall of Poland and its subsequent rebirth and flourishing, "from Black to White sea".

He has been a subject of several folklore tales and poems (particularly in the 19th century romanticism in Poland). Most notably he has been a character in works of Seweryn Goszczyński (Vernyhora), Michał Czajkowski (Wernyhora wieszcz ukraiński: powieść historyczna z roku 1768 (1838)), Juliusz Słowacki (Salomea's Silver Dream) and Stanislaw Wyspiański (The Wedding), as well as a subject of a paintings by Jan Matejko and Jacek Malczewski.

Wlastimil Hofman

Wlastimil Hofman (1881–1970) was a Polish painter, one of the more popular painters of the interwar and postwar years.

Hofman was born Vlastimil Hofmann in Prague to Ferdynand Hofmann, a Czech, and Teofila Muzyk Terlecka, a Polish woman. In 1889 Vlastimil's family moved to Kraków in Poland, where he attended St Barbara's School and then the Jan III Sobieski high school. In 1896, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he studied under, i.a., Jacek Malczewski.

In 1899 he went to study painting at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1902 he had his first showings in an exhibition by the "Sztuka" society. Further exhibitions followed in Munich, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Warsaw. In 1904 he painted the first of his village (or peasant) "Madonnas". In 1905 he started the cycle of pictures called "Confession" which brought him international recognition. In 1907 he was the first Polish painter to be made a member of the Gallery of the Vienna Secession. When his professor, Jacek Malczewski, was appointed the Rector of the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts in 1912, Hofman obtained a teaching post there. With the outbreak of World War I, in 1914–1920 he lived in Prague and then in Paris, marrying his beloved Ada in 1919. Back in Kraków in 1921, he and his wife lived in a villa on Spadzista Street, later renamed Hofman Street in his honour. Sometime around 1922, influenced by his friendship with Jacek Malczewski, he changed the spelling of his name from Czech to a Polonised 'Wlastimil'.

Malczewski died in 1929. In September 1939 Hofman fled from the Nazi invasion, mainly as a result of hiding Czech refugees (including later President, Ludwik Swoboda). Escaping the German Nazis he and his wife found themselves on the part of the Polish territory invaded by the Soviet Red Army after 17 September 1939. He managed to avoid Soviet captivity, though in Pomorzany he witnessed Polish soldiers being transported to camps inside Soviet Russia, among them officers sent to Kozelsk. He reportedly "showed the Polish POWs a lot of compassion and tirelessly painted their portraits on small pieces of cardboard. The portraits were then to be sent to their families." On all accounts it is then that he befriended Zdzisław Jastrzębiec Peszkowski, who on the day before the transport to Kozelsk left in Hofman's care the regiment's money. According to Hofman biographical notes, he managed to join the soldiers of the Czech Legion and with them travelled through Ternopil, Istambul, Haifa and Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem Palestine, which is where he spent the remainder of the war. In 1942, he published a book of poetry called Through Darkness to Freedom. He returned to Kraków in June 1946. In May 1947 at the suggestion of his friend Jan Sztaudynger the Hofmans moved to Szklarska Poręba in the Sudety mountains. In July they received a house there, which they called 'Wlastimilówka'. In the period 1953–1963 he produced religious paintings for the local church, including "Four Evangelists" "The Way of the Rosary", "The Way of the Cross", "The Adoration of the Child". He also produced many portraits of local people, sports figures - especially footballers from his favourite Wisła Kraków team - and also self-portraits. In 1961, he was awarded the Cross of the Order of the Polish Renaissance. Wlastimil Hofman died on March 6, 1970 and he and his wife are buried in the parochial cemetery in Szklarska Poręba, next to the Corpus Christi Church, run by the Franciscan Fathers and decorated with pictures and banners painted by Wlastimil Hofman with the painting entitled “Jesus Christ with the Holy Eucharist” in the main altar.

Władysław Mikos

Władysław Mikos (November 19, 1885 —November 3, 1970) was a Polish painter.

Mikos was born in Brzóza, Poland under Russian occupation. He was a graduate of Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts and student of Jacek Malczewski, Teodor Axentowicz and Leon Wyczółkowski. He is famous as a dedicated South Mazovia region painter and achieved many awards for his works and became famous in Poland in the mid-wars period. He died in Radom, Poland, where one of its streets now bears his name.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.