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- Author Antoni Stopa (1849–1922)
- Date of production 1875
- Place of creation Kraków, Poland
- Dimensions height: 75 cm, width: 56,5 cm
- Author's designation in the bottom right-hand corner, signed: “Antoni Stopa, 1875”
- ID no. R 49
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 1875, awarded student’s work
- Object copyright Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
Antoni Stopa, a painter, writer and agrarian activist, was born on 5 August 1849 in a peasant family living in a hamlet on Mount Ostrysz near Maków (now Maków Podhalański). Stopa created under many pseudonyms, many of which related to his ancestry: AS, As, Antoni Sygoń, Antoni Sygoń of Babia Góra, Pauper of Maków, Boruta, Peasant from Babia Góra, Peasant from a village, Świtoniec, Jan Kwaśny, Jantek of Ostrysa, Jaźwiec, Kitaj, LM, Leszczak, Walenty Sygoń, Ostrysiak and Racławiak.more
Antoni Stopa, a painter, writer and agrarian activist, was born on 5 August 1849 in a peasant family living in a hamlet on Mount Ostrysz near Maków (now Maków Podhalański). Stopa created under many pseudonyms, many of which related to his ancestry: AS, As, Antoni Sygoń, Antoni Sygoń of Babia Góra, Pauper of Maków, Boruta, Peasant from Babia Góra, Peasant from a village, Świtoniec, Jan Kwaśny, Jantek of Ostrysa, Jaźwiec, Kitaj, LM, Leszczak, Walenty Sygoń, Ostrysiak and Racławiak.
Thanks to the support of his uncle Jan Kante, who was a parish priest in Brzesko, Antoni Stopa was able to attend school. Firstly, he studied at the peasant school in Maków, and then at the lower secondary school in Tarnów. In 1872 he started studying at the School of Fine Arts in Kraków, where three years later, on 22 March, he received the first prize for Gladiator. The award-winning work is probably identical to the presented study of a plaster copy of an ancient statue called Borghese Gladiator.
The plaster cast of this sculpture, as one can guess, was a particularly important statue in the 19th-century art education. The extremely dynamic sculpture of a warrior with tense muscles was probably one of the most difficult drawing challenges. The cast of Borghese Gladiator was one of the first casts purchased for the School of Drawing and Painting – the future Academy of Fine Arts. In 1818, Józef Peszka bought it in Warsaw. In addition, he also bought a copy of the famous Laocoon and bust portraits of famous people – Plato, Epicurus and the alleged Seneca. Borghese Gladiator is also mentioned in the collections of Kraków University in 1838 and later, during Matejko’s (1873–1893) directorate, and it certainly appears in the drawing of Antoni Stopa. It is not certain, however, whether the Gladiator mentioned in Matejko’s time is identical with the statue bought by Peszka.
The original Borghese Gladiator is a Greek marble sculpture from the Hellenistic period, currently in the collection of the Louvre Museum. The statue was made by Agasias of Ephesus, as confirmed by the signature on the pedestal of the statue. The work of the Hellenistic sculptor is considered to be a copy of an older sculpture created in the circle of Lysippos and was found in 1611 in Nettuno near Anzio. Two years later it was purchased by cardinal Scipione Caffarelli-Borghese. The Gladiator was exhibited at the Roman Villa Borghese until 1807. At that time, Camillo Borghese re-sold the statue to Napoleon I, who placed it in the Louvre Museum.
Antoni Stopa lived in Kraków for several years after graduation. According to the artist’s account, during that time he posed for Matejko as a figure of the Lithuanian thrusting a spear into Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Ulrich von Junginen in the painting Battle of Grunwald.
In 1882, Stopa was arrested and exiled from Kraków. Most likely, this was related to his sheltering of Russian nihilists (anarchist, anti-tsar opponents). After being exiled from Kraków, Stopa lived in his family home in Ostrysz.
The themes in Antoni Stopa’s work varied – he painted portraits, landscapes, historical and patriotic paintings, as well as religious paintings, including procession floats and retables. He also executed painting works in about 30 churches.
Elaborated by Adam Spodaryk (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.