Academic drawing

In the collection of drawings of The Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, the most valuable come from the times of The School of Fine Arts (1873–1900), and these are studies from the casts of ancient sculptures and from a male model in classic poses. These drawings were included in the collection as the distinguished students works, often awarded by the Board of Directors of the Society of Friends of Fine Arts or with a Marian Gorzkowski prize, who was the secretary of the School in the times of Jan Matejko. The presence of these drawings in the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków is testimony to the consistent programme of gathering collections by the university almost since its foundation. These works are precisely composed, solid, chiaroscuro studio drawings made with a pencil. They depict sculptures or a model in their entirety. The ability to fit the entire character in on the limited surface of the cardboard had to be one of the basic skills of the future artist. Learning composition and proportions are invariably features of the system of educating students at an early stage of their artistic path. The collection of drawings of the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków features works by such artists as: Emanuel Herncisz, Feliks Szynalewski, Kasper Żelechowski, Samuel Hirszenberg, Ferdynand Olesiński and Franciszek Machniewicz. Among the deposits of the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków there are also large-format, distinguished studies of ancient castings made by Matejko’s young student: Wojciech Weiss.

In the context of artistic education in the field of drawing and science of anatomy, it is also worth paying attention to studies of anatomical models called écorchés (Fr. écorché — barked [of a tree], flayed). Examples of such works can also be found in the collections of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, including Jacek Malczewski’s student drawing. Unfortunately, old castings of the figurines, on the basis of which these studies were made, have not survived. Currently, the museum’s collection includes contemporary copies of similar castings.

Elaborated by Magdalena Szymańska PhD
(Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków),
Licencja Creative Commons

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