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- Author Tadeusz Rząca
- Date of production after 1910
- Place of creation Kraków, Poland
- Dimensions height: 8.9 cm, width: 11.9 cm
- ID no. MHF 3727/II/6
- Object copyright Museum of Photography in Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation Museum of Photography in Kraków
The photograph shows four women against the background of a peasant cottage. Two of them, probably models (as recorded by Lucyna Sulerzyska in the inventory sheet), clad in Kraków costumes, are standing by the entrance with their backs facing each other. On the left, two peasant women in regular clothing are sitting on the doorstep (przyzba). The whole figures can be clearly seen, whereas the cottage front can be seen only partially.more
The photograph shows four women against the background of a peasant cottage. Two of them, probably models (as recorded by Lucyna Sulerzyska in the inventory sheet), clad in Kraków costumes, are standing by the entrance with their backs facing each other. On the left, two peasant women in regular clothing are sitting on the doorstep (przyzba). The whole figures can be clearly seen, whereas the cottage front can be seen only partially.
This piece was produced with the authochrome technique. Autochromes were the first colour photographs ever made. These glass slides are rare in Polish collections. The Museum of Photography has 193 autochromes produced by Tadeusz Rząca (1868–1928).
Note the colours and details of the flowery Kraków dress (a white shirt, skirt, apron and waistcoat). The photograph also shows fragments of working tools suspended from the eaves.
Despite its great cognitive value (the look of the Kraków folk costume with beautifully rendered colours and the structure of the peasant cottage), the photograph is a mystery (who are the two models posing beside the cottage door?). The woman propping against the cottage wall was probably Tadeusz Rząca’s wife, a Frenchwoman Maria Horteaux, the whole series being an example of the Young Poland peasantomania, the practice of posing for paintings and portrait photographs in folk costumes. The photographer’s wife was represented in Rząca’s other autochromes, too. The scene shown here only seems to be a genre scene; in fact, it was staged and, furthermore, its heroines are models from the city. The beautiful costumes were owned by the women posing by the entrance of the poor cottage rather than belonging to the village dwellers.
Shadows stretch across the whitewashed walls, the photograph must have been taken on a sunny day. You can clearly see the whole structure of the house. It is a wooden cottage on a stone underpinning, with a log structure covered with boards and whitewashed, thatched, with protracting eaves supported by the so-called rysie (protruding beams) and pillars. The items suspended from the eaves are a pike pole and a pomietło broom wrapped in canvas.
Tadeusz Rząca travelled with his camera around Kraków, Tarnów, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and in the Tatra Mountains. His photographs express his love for photography creations and are infused with the vivid green of nature. Rząca often visited France and brought technical novelties from there. He learned the autochrome process at workshops organised by the Lumière brothers.
Interestingly enough, the intriguing light green discolouration at the bottom is not a decorative feature but is in fact damage from bacteria eating the starch.
Elaborated by Małgorzata Kanikuła (Museum of Photography in Kraków), © all rights reserved