Currently, there is a fashion for self-portraits, popularly called selfies. Anyone can take them — using not even a camera — just a telephone. There is a narcissistic craving in us to show and see our own images. Once, creating a self-portrait was a process. Self-portraiture created the possibility of immortalising one’s image, while fulfilling the function of a tool of self-knowledge and self-reflection.
Matejko was the author of several pictorial self-portraits, created at various periods of his artistic career. This self-portrait, the only one in the shape of a tondo, was painted for Helena, the daughter of the painter, and was given to her by the artist for her twentieth birthday, on 6 April 1887. On the bottom right of the picture, the following dedication appears: 6 | 4 | AD | 1887 | (for) HELI (from) father Jan.
The painter — a small-bodied young man with the look of an intellectual — represented himself in the form of a bust portrait in a foreground, against a neutral background. He looks at us attentively through his pince-nez. Although portrayed principally en face, he is marked by a lively posture, manifesting itself in an asymmetrical position of Mehoffer's shoulders, the artist's head being slightly turned to the right, with his face being somewhat turned in the opposite direction.
The presented object was created for a performance of Cricot 2 Theatre, Today is my birthday, on which the artist worked from October 1989 to early December 1990. Tadeusz Kantor died after one of the last rehearsals, on 8 December 1990. The premiere took place shortly after in January 1991 at Théâtre Garonne in Toulouse; then the show was shown in 22 cities around the world until June 1992.
Twenty four colour self-portraits stand out from the crowd sketched in the background; each face plays out the spectacle of a different personality.
Jacek Malczewski is a painter of the largest number of self-portraits in the history of Polish art. As was joked in a Green Balloon’s [Zielony Balonik] cabaret show in Jama Michalika, the artist represented himself “Once in a flat hat, once without that | Once as a professor, once as a lord (…) | Once in a sweater, and with a panther | With a tail or without one.”
The present self-portrait, made of patinated bronze, shows the bust of the artist. Although the form of the sculpture is synthesized, the image is strikingly realistic: the sculptor managed to capture not only his appearance, but also the characteristic look in his eyes and tension of the facial muscles. The texture of the portrait is diverse.
Among all the portraits created by Leon Wyczółkowski, his self-portraits occupy a special place. They not only reflect the artist’s appearance in different periods of his life, but also act as records of the painter’s changing personality and moods. They also document his artistic development. Wyczółkowski created several dozen images of himself using oil, tempera, pastel, and graphic techniques. His first works come from the 1890s. He kept creating until the end of his life...
Jacek Malczewski, one of the most outstanding Polish Symbolism painters left a rich artistic legacy. The work of Malczewski is extremely extensive and multi-layered. His paintings present his personal desires as well as the national tragedy and traditions. Mythology intertwined with religion, folk motifs mixed with tale themes.
The composition presents a young man with oriental facial features, emanating with sorrow and suffering. He is wearing a decorated dark robe, a royal diadem on his head, and a gold earring in his ear. The painting, in dark tones, was brightened with patches of amber colours for the fragments of the face and shoulders as well as with warm reds for the background.
On “unity in plurality”: about the artist and his face The portrait has been and still is one of the most frequent themes in paintings and sculptures. It was known as early as in ancient Mexico and Peru, and artists from Mesopotamia, Egypt and China, as well as Greece and Rome were also familiar with this aspect of art. For years it performed manifold functions.
Wyspiański left twelve self-portraits. Every one of them is a fascinating record of the physical change and current emotional state of the artist according to his often-repeated belief stating that “man (...) changes irretrievably; they are changed by their experiences and thoughts. A portrait is a reflection of a moment, an artistic reflection seizing things in their very essence.”
Wanda Ślędzińska (1906–1999), a sculptor and a pedagogue associated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków for many decades. She started working at the academy as an assistant at Xawery Dunikowski’s studio. Ślędzińska was the first woman to become the head of the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She held this post until she retired in 1970.
The painting presents the renowned water painter and the director of the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts — Julian Fałat. This self-portrait, unusual in its form, is a kind of tribute paid by the artist to Kraków — the Young Poland mecca of art at the turn of the 20th century. The painting is composed of two grounds divided by a horizontal line of the balcony sill on which three jackdaws are sitting.