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- Author Ludwik Puget
- Date of production 1911
- Dimensions height: 51 cm, (head: 11 cm, body: 40 cm)
- ID no. MHK-989/VI
- Availability in stock
- Object copyright Historical Museum of the City of Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den].more
A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den]. The puppet comes from the famous nativity play of 1911, staged in the newly-restored Michalik’s confectionery, the interior of which was designed by Karol Frycz. This is how the play was described by Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, its animator and co-author:
“And we came up with the idea of making a nativity play (szopka) there, with a totally new text and new figures; and to stage it not only once, as it had happened in the past, but for a public with tickets and for as many times as possible! The demon of greed already entered our hearts. We got down to work with an enthusiasm not seen in a long time. A faded nativity scene was thus restored, shining with all the colours of the rainbow; it was furnished with modern lighting installations. The puppets were made by Szczepkowski and Kunzek, several puppets — real masterpieces — were made by Puszet [Ludwik Puget]. Me and Nos [Witold Noskowski], with the frequent participation of Teofil [Trzciński], got down to writing the texts.” (T. Boy-Żeleński, O Szopce krakowskiej „Zielonego Balonika” [About the Kraków Szopka of the Zielony Balonik Cabaret”] [in:] idem, O Krakowie [On Kraków], Kraków 1974, p. 491).
The numerous characters appearing as puppets in the nativity play included, e.g., Julian Fałat, the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts; Stanisław Badeni, the Marshal of the Parliament; Aleksander Bandrowski, a singer; professor Jerzy Mycielski, mayor Juliusz Leo, Teofil Trzciński, Feliks Manggha Jasieński, Leon Wyczółkowski, count Stanisław Tarnowski as well as Jacek Malczewski — a symbolist painter. It is the puppet representing Malczewski, called Jacek Symbolewski by the authors, that belongs to the most valuable exhibits related with the Zielony Balonik nativity play from the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków. The full-figure sculpture of the head is a faithful portrait of the artist, while the body — half man, half satyr with goat horns and a tail, dressed in a brown jacket and a silver armour instead of a waistcoat — perfectly reflects the atmosphere of the artistic world created by Jacek Malczewski, attired in mysterious, symbolical costumes. The fragment of the text put into the mouth of Jacek Symbolewski in the nativity play ideally complements the accurate description of the painter, combined with a somewhat malicious evaluation of his work:
(...) I can see a perfect model.
Here comes Trzciński, with a beard like Chochoł from the wedding.
I shall make him a young brave Cossack:
Letting out a swarm of hummingbirds from a coop,
A plain man with canvas trousers.
The Kraków meadows in the background
With the Munich Philharmonic.
A Hussar drinking honey to Icek,
And Selma Kurz in a Bronowice costume as the host.
The climate of gentle satire and funny caricature, characteristic of the Zielony Balonik cabaret can also be found in other figures coming from this historic Kraków nativity play of 1911. The puppets representing Teofil Trzciński, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Jerzy Mycielski and Juliusz Leo are kept in the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków.
Elaborated by Małgorzata Palka (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), © all rights reserved