The painting reflects the impressions from a journey to Italy and to North Africa which took place in the 1930s. The Meeting is the result of Cybis's enchantment of indigenous people of Africa. Glistening of their smooth skin is contrasted with rough walls of homes resulting in certain realism. Cybis sympathetically details the lines of their faces and marks the scars of the girl's face.
The whole scene is possibly an allusion to the story of the "Meeting at the Golden Gate", a depiction of the parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim and Anne rejoicing after a long period of separation. Following this interpretation we can find a reference to one of the most famous illustrations of the scene by Giotto di Bondone (created between 1304 and 1306), strikingly similar in color palette and technique of portraying three dimensional world.
The scene is clearly divided into woman's and man's sphere emphasized by selected colors. The woman with typical feminine features of a Fulani woman is dressed in pink, while a man in a conical herdsman hat is less visible on the left and taken from the profile.
Apart from obvious inspiration by medieval Italian fresco painting, we can find some reference to the traditional African art. The man’s hat in the form of the "Mount of the world", one of the main features of the painting, was additionally emphasized in bas relief. A red handprint to the left, just as Prehistoric red ochre hand tagging, is a preliterate symbol of human presence and territory marking. Red, a primal color of emotion and attraction, symbolizes the rites of passage such as puberty or marriage. The woman have prominent facial scarification in form of scars on her nose, cheeks and forehead. Mud houses and an archway in the background are typical for North - Western Africa.
The artist, whose work was largely influenced by the art of the German New Objectivity, introduced in this composition textural effects imitating the quality of depicted material like gilding and polished surface of the sky at sunset, another reference to the Gothic painting, relief elements, glued fabric scraps and mixture of sand and plaster as a window frame.
collage on plywood, 1931, 58.5 × 73.2 cm (23 × 28.8 in), inventory number MPW 1389, on permanent display in the Gallery of 20th century art, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (MNW)
The artist gave the young man a fine expression, not only in the features, but also in the mind of his model, a lively imagination. The man is holding a tablet and stylus. He exhaled, kept his mouth open and casting his eyes up toward heaven, as if seeking inspiration from the gods, a desperate remark over the feared loss of his artistic ability.
The work is an allegory of artists struggling to find inspiration in the period when the appreciation of artistic inspiration and creative genius grew significantly. Art became the sole motivating force of artist’s life through which he gained access to the upper circles.
The model’s features are similar to those of painter’s friend, composer Victor Dourlen. It is therefore possible that the young man stood for this portrait. Ingres, along with Louis-Aimon Thomassin, wins the Prix du Torse at the Paris’ School of Fine Arts for this work on January 29th, 1802. They both painted the model in the same pose (Thomassin’s work preserved in the School of Fine Arts, inventory MU 4540 bis).
Ingres, was known as a student of Jacques-Louis David, trained in his neoclassical, static style. If not signed, the canvas could be attributed to Ingres’ tutor or his atelier as David's classicism was the official style of the French Academy until late in the 1800's. Ingres eventually developed his own style, owing much to Raphael.
Signed by the artist on lower right: Ingres 1801. In 1803 the canvas was lent by the School of Fine Arts in Paris to the School of Drawing in Montauban. Later, through Leclerc collection in Paris and Kolasiński collection in Warsaw it found its place in the Museum of Fine Arts (later National Museum) in Warsaw as gift of Cyprian Lachnicki, ceded in 1908.
oil on canvas, 1801, 97.5 x 80.6 cm (38.3 × 31.7 in), inventory number M.Ob.292, on permanent display in the Gallery of 19th century art, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (MNW)
In 1850, young 25-years old countess Katarzyna Potocka née Branicka, posed for the leading portrait painter in Paris, Ary Scheffer.
Through her grandmother on father’s side, Alexandra Branicka née von Engelhardt, the countess was putative descendant of Catherine the Great, while the connection with other famous woman, Delfina Potocka, mistress of her sister’s husband Zygmunt Krasiński and of Chopin, allowed her to be introduced to high Paris society.
Scheffer treated Krasińskis and Delfina Potocka as real friends, not as patrons and in 1846, after painting portraits of Delfina and Katarzyna's sister, Eliza Krasińska, the artist refuses to accept payment for his work. Poles shared this feeling and as a proof of friendship they offered him a silver-gilt cup, which can be seen in the museum in Dordrecht. Around 1847, the sitter is Chopin, in 1849 Eliza Krasińska with two of her children, later, the same year, again Eliza Krasińska, in 1850 Katarzyna Potocka and Zygmunt Krasiński.
Delicate, sublime, Raphaelite beauty of the countess fitted perfectly the artist’s style. Her white skin, the long neck, oval face, small lips, the large and open eyes and dark hair make her a model of feminine beauty of the time, exemplified by the young Queen Victoria. The countess leans seductively against the arm of a chaise-longue, half- smiling, dressed in a tunic gown with styling similar to Greco-Roman loose-fitting chiton with a daring bateau décolletage and fashionable Indian shawl. Her hair dressed simply, middle parted with the sides puffed over the ears, her hands crossed.
Her facial features are statuesque and in passages display the quality of porcelain. The portrait captures the sitter melancholia. The reason could be difficult situation of her family in Partitioned Homeland. "It is very cold today; they call me to Wilanów, but I have neither permission nor time to go there, but I hope to go there in a few days" wrote on January 7th, 1850 Eliza Krasińska to her sister in Paris. Katarzyna in turn promissed her a copy of a portrait painted by Scheffer.
The effigy is painted in frigidly classical style colorization of “casting coolness” drew from Neoclassicism and arranged in harmonious, circular manner that heightens eroticism of the painting.
The canvas was signed and dated by the artist on bottom left side: Ary Scheffer 1850. Few years after creation the portrait was placed among other splendid works from Potocki collection in their newly build Neo-Renaissance palace in Krzeszowice, near Kraków. After the World War II the collection was transferred to the National Museum in Warsaw.
oil on canvas, 1850, 83 x 63 cm (32.6 × 24.8 in), inventory number 128905, on permanent display in the Gallery of 19th century art, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (MNW)
"Here it is a faun, of the most formidable ugliness, who has felt the sting of Love's arrows and in his uncouth and shambling speech is endeavoring to charm the slim young nymph who sits on his knee. She hesitates and refuses, in the pretty feminine fashion, but she does not get up and run away, and she may yet be won". This is how William Walton describes the sculpture in his "Gallery of Sculpture", volume 1 from 1887.
The satyr, the dreaded pursuer of the nymphs, is an ever-present and necessary element in pastoral poetry, while the portrayal of nymphs also allowed the representation of decorous discussions on love and chastity which were popular in contemporary contexts. In medieval, renaissance and baroque allegory depictions of satyrs and cloven-hoofed beasts setting upon innocent nymphs in the woods were extremely popular, resulting in satyrs and goats to traditionally personify lust, thus other names of the statue - "Lust and innocence", "Lechery and purity", "Persuasion" and "Satyr and Nymph".
White marble group of satyr holding a young nymph on his knees, gripping her firmly by her hip and smiling as if inviting to take part in bacchanals, was shown first at the Paris Salon in 1881. The artist signed his work - Cyp. Godebski. The sculpture was later acquired by Jewish banker from Warsaw, Leon Feliks Goldstand (1871-1926), who offered it to the Warsaw's Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in 1904. In 1940 it was moved to the current location at the National Museum in Warsaw.
marble, 1881, 114 × 70 × 64 cm (44.8 × 27.5 × 25.1 in), inventory number MN 158428, on permanent display in the Gallery of 19th century art, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (MNW)
Maybe it is something worth a consideration to allocate Warsaw's National Museum collection of old art in the early 17th century's Ujazdowski Castle and/or late 19th century Zachęta building, and move and join together all modern and contemporary art collections in a more suitable modern edifice. The economised space in the current MNW's building could be used for exhibition of Chinese or Russian art.
The painting, imbued with a good humor, is a satire of manners so frequent in the works of Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) movement. It is otherwise known as On a stroll or A walk in the countryside. Just like the other realists who wandered the Russian countryside, Kuznetsov is capturing ambience, family life and local character in lighter palette freed from artistic restrictions of the academies. The sentimental approach to the countryside combining realism with an emotional attachment to the Russian folk, are visible in the work.
The artist is striving for naturalness of the depiction. In the meticulous mimic of the three strolling person, two young and an old woman, manifests narrative talents and observation skills of the painter (Instytut Polsko-Radziecki (1954), Kwartalnik Instytutu Polsko-Radzieckiego, Volume 3, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, p. 110).
Grotesque looking old lady on the right, possibly mother of a young girl opposite, is dressed in a crimson dress. The young bachelor dressed according to contemporary Russian fashion is proposing a stroll to his bride – a young bright hair girl with a dachshund. The whole scene was placed in an entourage of a birch alley, a symbol of spring, love and virginal purity in Russian folklore, at the entrance to the wood. Is is in this way an emanation of beauty of the folk way of life and people's relation with surrounding world.
The canvas was signed in cyrillic and dated by the artist on bottom right: Н. Кузнецовъ. 85 (N. Kuznetsov. 85).
oil on canvas, 1885, 54 × 47.5 cm (21.3 × 18.7 in), inventory number M.Ob.470, currently not on permanent display, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (MNW)
The picture depicts two houses and a shed divided with a fence in the right and a small stream in the left. The colours are somber and calm. The modest dwellings are set against a landscape with high trees.
It was created during van Gogh's visit in Hoogeveen, in the province of Drenthe. The landscape there is sandy, soggy and swampy, but the artist found it still, peaceful and indescribably beautiful. He expressed it in some 22 letters written in the fall of 1883 from September to November.
He went on long trips to explore surrounding moors and landscape untouched by industrial development visible in larger communities. Inspired by the work of Jean-François Millet, the artist become increasingly interested in peasant lifestyle, determined by nature. The subordinate to nature is visible in architecture, thatch-covered farm buildings are unobtrusive, they follow the nature and fit into it. This is reflected in colour, the soil and dwellings are integrated.
oil on canvas mounted on panel, 1883, 28.5 × 39.5 cm (11.2 × 15.6 in), Muzeum Kolekcji im. Jana Pawła II (Galeria Porczyńskich)
The portrait is a version of king's effigy created by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1537 as part of a mural in the Whitehall Palace. The original was destroyed by fire in 1698, however the popularity of image resulted in numerous copies possibly commissioned by the king himself. They are similar in pose but with great variation in details. It is almost certain that the author known the model. Good quality, more linear and more precise composition and individuality in style and detail of the Warsaw's portrait proofs the circle of the master and possibly Flemish school of Lucas Horenbout.
The portrait conveys the powerful personality and royal dignity without standard accoutrements.The effigy fills out the entire space and shows Henry VIII in his mid forties endowed with considerable psychological depth. After a bad tiltyard accident in 1536, he appears to be more conscious on his own mortality.
The sitter was made more imposing and younger then in reality. The face is static and is looking directly at the spectator. He is clutching gloves with his right hand, while left thumb is hooked around a belt that holds the dagger.
The profuse garment is also an expression of power and authority. The king wears an ermine-lined and embroided navy blue overgown with split hanging sleeves over a brocade jerkin and an embroidered and slashed doublet. Sleeves and doublet are paned and fastened with jewels. A black "halo" hat and a circular chain adds up to the impression of divinity. In Warsaw's version the king is more youthful, less tired, less aggressive and less defiant then in original version. Enormous codpiece, partially hidden under the skirts of the jerkin, emphasizes Henry's virility and masculinity capable to secure the future of the dynasty.
The portrait is almost identical with a version in the Royal Collection dated c.1570-1599 (inventory number 404107), although the British one is of much lower quality, especially when it comes to face modelling.
oil on oak, 1540s, 106 × 79 cm (41.7 × 31.1 in), inventory number 128165, currently not on permanent display, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (MNW)
It was described as the first painting by the artist presented to Polish audience, according to Henryk Piątkowski. Although not acclaimed by critics, it was very innovative at that time with subtle colours, neutral tones and unique composition.
The composition clearly refers to Whistler's Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1. Boznańska become acquainted with his art during her studies in Munich. The artist used several tones of just few colours.
The pose and subtle reserve of the sitter alludes to the style of Velázquez. She also employed the same technique of dabs or brushstrokes of pure color intended to blend into a strikingly realistic image.The voluminous crinoline of Velázquez's infantas is replaced with an umbrella. The girl had gathered some flowers on a rainy day of spring.
The artist, who excelled in the portraiture, made full use of her artistic and analytical skills in the present portrait. Just as Velázquez she was too honest to flatter. Pale countenance of the model and not very attractive face contribute to this effect. There is a particular focus on the figure emphasized with a tight bodice. Harmonic and refined palette proofs Boznańka's skills as a colourist.
The painting depicting a young sitting woman with an umbrella was presented in the Warsaw's Krywult Salon in 1889. Soon the title From a walk was conceived. It was acquired in 1920 by the National Museum in Kraków from the collection of Feliks Jasieński.
oil on canvas, 1889, 161.5 × 100 cm (63.6 × 39.4 in), inventory number MNK II-b-884, currently not on permanent display, Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie (MNK)
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