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- Author Jacek Malczewski (1854—1929)
- Date of production 1914
- Dimensions height: 93 cm, width: 78 cm
- Author's designation on the reverse: Jacek Malczewski | May 1914 — Kraków
- ID no. MNK-II-b-1762
- Branch Main Building
- Gallery 20th-Century Polish Art
- Acquired date purchased in Desa in 1966
- Object copyright The National Museum in Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation NMK, iMNK project
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.”more
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.” These words also articulate his fondness for dressing up and portraying himself as various personas. The passion and richness of his poses are amazing and puzzling. For this reason, the artist was accused of egotism, megalomania and narcissistic inclinations.
It is characteristic that Malczewski's portraits featured different costumes, yet the face usually remained the same — it was almost always a proud and haughty face, sometimes pensive and unapproachable or sad and focused.
In the monumental Self-portrait in White Dress (Self-portrait in a White Beret, Self-portrait in White), he represented himself as the lord of the lords of the Young Poland period, standing above all else. He is haughty and proud, satisfied with his artistic achievements, dressed up in a weird baker's beret, contrasting his haughtiness, and a stained shirt resembling a women's puffed blouse, decorated with a fanciful bow fastened with a silver pin. Malczewski comes across both as an artist and a jester. The palette of colours used takes on a symbolic significance: the white signifies a spiritual completeness, whereas the red highlights heroism.
Elaborated by Urszula Kozakowska-Zaucha (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved
More self portraits of Jacek Malczewski can be found in this photo gallery: http://mnk.pl/photo-galleries/self-portraits-by-jacek-malczewski