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Portraits of children occupy a special place in Wyspiański’s artistic oeuvre. Without the unnecessary sentimentalism, treated in a natural, affectionate manner with a great dose of sensitivity and realism, and captured in new and unexpected depictions, they refreshed the usual connotations related to this genre.

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Portraits of children occupy a special place in Wyspiański’s artistic oeuvre. Without the unnecessary sentimentalism, treated in a natural, affectionate manner with a great dose of sensitivity and realism, and captured in new and unexpected depictions, they refreshed the usual connotations related to this genre. The Study of a Child (Helenka with a Vase) on display is an excellent example of Wyspiański’s mastery.
A pensive young girl with long, dark blonde hair that falls around her face in a gentle wave is presented at the moment when she is resting her hands on the table top and, deep in thought, is drawing her finger on the ceramic vase with forget-me-nots. The lightness of the stroke outlining the smooth contour of small hands and the profile of the artist’s daughter and a soft spot of colour modelling the child’s face perfectly convey the elusiveness and unstudied character of the depiction. The general atmosphere of the depiction is harmoniously in tune with the muffled and subdued colour scheme based on the combination of the pink, sky-blue, carmine and glossy dark brown table top. The mood of sleepy engrossment of thought is counterpointed with the sweeping diagonal line of the table which introduces the dynamics and echoes of Gauguin’s stylistics and Japanese woodcut. Another accent that co-creates the depiction’s expression is the strong, rich colour and the oriental pattern of the girl’s shirt.
The artist’s children, Helena (1895–1971), Mieczysław (1899–1920) and Stanisław (1901–1967), were frequently depicted in Wyspiański’s portraits: deep in thought, sleepy, with hair tangled from dreaming. However, in this case the unseeing stare of Helenka and the lack of eye-contact with the viewer symbolically emphasise the inaccessibility of the child’s world, its direct and intuitive contact with the subconscious and the sacrum sphere. According to romantic beliefs, the child’s innocence, intuition and sensitivity allowed them to “reach deeper,” and thus better learn about the essence of things, which, in modernist views, turned the little ones into the intermediaries between the world of substance and transcendence. It is enough to remember that at that time Stanisław Przybyszewski was enraptured with the “wonderful mind of a child who sees the horror, mysteries and abyss in everything they see,” and these motifs appeared in the works of such artists like Jacek Malczewski, Wojciech Weiss, Olga Boznańska, Józef Mehoffer and Witold Wojtkiewicz.
The depiction of a plant in a vase may, in turn, remind one of the special contact of the portrayed with the forces of nature to which she still belongs, but with which she will soon lose direct contact in the act of growing up.

Elaborated by Kamila Podniesińska, PhD (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Wyspiański in Biecz

We were very close to having the opportunity to see polychromes and stained-glass panels made by Stanisław Wyspiański in the parish church in Biecz. The artist stayed in Biecz in 1889 during a scientific trip around the regions of Biecz and Sącz organized by the professor of the Krakow School of Fine Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts) Władysław Łuszczkiewicz...

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Stanisław Wyspiański,
cartoon for the polychromes
in the parish church in Biecz, 1895
1897,
National Museum in Warsaw.

We were very close to having the opportunity to see polychromes and stained-glass panels made by Stanisław Wyspiański in the parish church in Biecz. The artist stayed in Biecz in 1889 during a scientific trip around the regions of Biecz and Sącz organized by the professor of the Krakow School of Fine Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts) Władysław Łuszczkiewicz. At that time, beautiful drawings of the monuments hosted in Biecz itself, as well as in its vicinity, were made: these included, among other things, sketches of the furnishings of St. Sophia’s church and the parish church in Bobowa, small wooden churches in Wilczyska, Sękowa and Binarowa, as well as the 16th-century Gładyszów renaissance court in Szymbark.
In another renaissance manor located in the nearby Jeżów, Wyspiański even made a polychrome on one of the walls, which can be admired to this day.
Six years later, the artist returned to his fascination with Biecz, working in the years 1895-1897 on the designs of polychromes and stained-glass panels which were to be situated inside the local parish church. In a letter to Lucjan Rydel, he wrote at the time:
 “I already have a design for Biecz. It will be seemingly modest and very simple and, under this guise, rich in ornamentation. I think I will manage to smuggle it in its entirety, I just need to have the “lust” for painting. This design has transformed into a huge thing”.
Unfortunately, this “huge thing” was never implemented. Wyspiański came into conflict with the Krakow restorer and architect Sławomir Odrzywolski who supervised renovation works at that time, and, disagreeing with the limitations imposed on him, he ended the cooperation, despite the fact that he was fascinated with this undertaking. The design of one of the stained-glass panels has survived and is currently located at the National Museum in Krakow. In turn, the cardboard template for making polychromes which may be seen above, depicting mallows, is stored in the National Museum in Warsaw.
Most of the drawings made by Wyspiański during the trip around the Biecz region have not survived to the present. Reproductions of the sketches made by the artist in Biecz itself, with which the then student of painting was fascinated, are located in the collections of the Museum of Ziemia Biecka in Biecz. During the visit to the museum, it is worth asking local curators about the artist’s other connections with Biecz, including him being creatively inspired by one of the paintings on exhibition in the “Dom z basztą” (“the House with a tower”) department, namely Madonna with bird and the legend associated with it. According to the researchers of Stanisław Wyspiański’s literary work, including Professor Kazimierz Wyka, it became one of the inspirations for creating the drama from 1899, controversial for its times, entitled The Curse.

Elaborated by: Kinga Kołodziejska (Editorial Team of Malopolskas Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See also a picture of Stanisław Wyspiański from a trip around the Biecz region.

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Fotografia Wyspiańskiego i Mehoffera

W zbiorach Muzeum Ziemi Bieckiej znajduje się unikalne zdjęcie z 1889 roku, przedstawiające studentów drugiego roku ówczesnej Szkoły Sztuk Pięknych (dzisiejszej Akademii Sztuk Pięknych) w Krakowie podczas wyprawy naukowej po ziemi sądeckiej i bieckiej pod kierownictwem prof. Władysława Łuszczkiewicza. 

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St. Wyspiański, J. Mehoffer, Maszkowski
i Cinciel w kościele w Libuszy, 1889.
Ze zbiorów Muzeum Ziemi Bieckiej.

W zbiorach Muzeum Ziemi Bieckiej znajduje się unikalne zdjęcie z 1889 roku, przedstawiające studentów drugiego roku ówczesnej Szkoły Sztuk Pięknych (dzisiejszej Akademii Sztuk Pięknych) w Krakowie podczas wyprawy naukowej po ziemi sądeckiej i bieckiej pod kierownictwem prof. Władysława Łuszczkiewicza.Fotografię wykonano we wnętrzu kościoła w oddalonej od Biecza siedem kilometrów Libuszy. Wpatrująca się w nas postać, widoczna jako pierwsza z lewej, to Stanisław Wyspiański. Obok niego stoi, szkicujący jakiś element wyposażenia kościoła, Józef Mehoffer.
Uczestnicy wycieczki przybyli do Biecza 2 sierpnia 1889 roku. Zamieszkali w klasztorze oo. Reformatów. Stąd wyruszali do pobliskich miejscowości, poszukując tematów do szkiców. Sam Biecz zafascynował Wyspiańskiego na tyle, że sześć lat później zaangażował się w prace renowacyjne w tutejszej farze.

Więcej na temat związków Stanisława Wyspiańskiego z Bieczem tutaj.

 

Opracowanie: Kinga Kołodziejska (Redakcja WMM),
Licencja Creative Commons

 Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa 3.0 Polska.

 

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Michalik’s Cave with Wyspiański’s drawings?

Located close to the municipal theatre (today the Słowacki Theater) and the School (later Academy) of Fine Arts, this confectionery quickly became the favourite meeting spot for the circles of young Cracovian painters.Today, there are legends about how meticulously the owner – Jan Michalik – kept his accounts...

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Located close to the municipal theatre (today the Słowacki Theater) and the School (later Academy) of Fine Arts, this confectionery quickly became the favourite meeting spot for the circles of young Cracovian painters.
Today, there are legends about how meticulously the owner – Jan Michalik – kept his accounts. If one of his guests ordered something on credit which they could not immediately settle, the confectioner would promptly send a dunning letter. In fact, the guests paid him with something much more valuable by leaving their drawings and sketches on the walls, which are worth a fortune nowadays. Had it not been for a combination of circumstances, the Cave could boast of a more splendid decor.
An offer for painting the confectionery was submitted by Wyspiański, declaring that if only Michalik would sponsor him with paints (costing a dozen or so guilders at that time), the artist would paint the main room of that establishment overnight. „And you declined the offer?” enquired Boy-Żeleński. „Well, that wasn’t very clever of me ... I thought: a renovated confectionery, what would it look like, they would laugh at me ... and I do regret it now”[1].
The drawings were often made in such a way that the guests painted and sketched on a piece of paper, which they then handed to the owner for binding.
The presence of distinguished artists brought him fame and considerable wealth. Jan Michalik, oppressed by the  denunciations of the housekeeper, Mrs Witoszyńska, who kindly informed the Austrian authorities that the confectioner had white bread, which was not allowed at the time, wanted to get rid of the premises at some point. He only did so in 1918, selling it to Roman Madejski (formerly an employee at the Cave) and to Franciszek Trzaska.

Read more about the legend of the “Green Balloon

Don’t miss the dolls from the „Green Balloon nativity scene in the collection of Małopolska Virtual Museums:

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Juliusz Leo

Elaborated by: Editorial Team of Malopolskas Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.


[1] T. Żeleński (Boy), About Cracow, edited by H. Markiewicz, Kraków 1974, p. 113.

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Feliks “Manggha” Jasieński. Creating a collection

Feliks Jasieński collected art for thirty years of his life. The collection numbered about 15,000 items and included paintings and graphics from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a set of Asian art objects, carpets, kilims, furniture and arts and crafts, as well as a library. The unique collection became a testimony to the time of its creator, who initially collected works in his apartment, and then, on 11 March 1920, donated them to the city of Cracow....

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Feliks Jasieński collected art for thirty years of his life. The collection numbered about 15,000 items and included paintings and graphics from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a set of Asian art objects, carpets, kilims, furniture and arts and crafts, as well as a library. The unique collection became a testimony to the time of its creator, who initially collected works in his apartment, and then, on 11 March 1920, donated them to the city of Cracow.

Photo National Digital Archives

Who was the man whose collection inspires so much admiration? An anthropologist, cultural scientist, he was also interested in art, various aspects of civilization. He came from a landowning family. He received a very thorough education: in Dorpat, Berlin and Paris. He pursued various fields of study: economics, philosophy, literature, art history and music. Above all, however, he was an enthusiast and collector who consistently gathered a coherent collection of works. His pseudonym Manggha came from the collection of woodcuts by a Japanese artist Katsushiki Hokusai.
Thanks to Jasieński’s involvement, he managed to save the painting Szał / Frenzy by Podkowiński , which had been cut up by the author. Jasieński carefully restored the canvas and hung it on the wall of his apartment in Cracow, as the most valuable object in his collection. He started the collection with the works of his contemporaries. The most outstanding artists of his time made an attempt at portraying him: Boznańska, Wyczółkowski, Malczewski, and Laszczka. His private acquisitions transformed into a museum collection. Would anyone be willing to donate their private collection of contemporary art to a museum nowadays?

Elaborated by: Editorial Team of Malopolskas Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

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Painting “Helenka with a Vase” by Stanisław Wyspiański

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