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- Author Xawery Dunikowski
- Date of production 1926
- Place of creation Kraków, Poland
- Dimensions height: head 40 cm, pedestal 34.2 cm, width: head 28.5 cm, pedestal 26.5 cm
- ID no. ZKWawel 2808
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date acquired from the Management for the Restoration of Wawel Royal Castle (Kierownictwo Odnowienia Zamku Królewskiego na Wawelu) after 1945
- Object copyright Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums Plus project
The sculpture, one of the most interesting female portraits of Dunikowski, was created as part of the plan to restore the lost heads on the ceiling of the Envoys’ Room (also called the Room under the Heads) on the second floor of the eastern wing of Wawel Royal Castle. Originally, there were 194 heads created by Sebastian Tauerbach and his team before 1540. The ceiling was devastated in the early 19th century, when the castle was turned into the barracks of the Austrian army; only 30 heads were saved by Princess Izabella Czartoryska. It was decided in 1924 that the set was to be reconstructed.more
It is a sculpture in the round, partially polychrome (the eyes, roses and leaves are highlighted with colour), attached to a wooden pedestal, and it depicts a head of a young long-haired woman with a rose wreath. The portrait evokes an association with the world of Slavic mythology. This association was pointed out in 1948 by Kazimierz Wyka, who perceived the portrait as a depiction of a fairy, nymph, or water nymph.
The sculpture, one of the most interesting female portraits by Dunikowski, was created as part of the plan to restore the lost heads on the ceiling of the Envoys’ Room (also called the Room under the Heads) on the second floor of the eastern wing of Wawel Royal Castle. Originally, there were 194 heads created by Sebastian Tauerbach and his team before 1540. The ceiling was devastated in the early 19th century, when the castle was turned into the barracks of the Austrian army; only 30 heads were saved by Princess Izabella Czartoryska. It was decided in 1924, after the Renaissance Wawel heads had been recovered, that the set was to be reconstructed on the initiative of Prof. Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz (1883–1948), head of the Management for the Restoration of Wawel Royal Castle. In 1925, Xawery Dunikowski was commissioned to create the works, and he worked on the project for a number of years. The project was stopped in 1928, when the Committee for the Works in Stately Buildings of the Republic of Poland voiced its opinion against placing contemporary sculptures next to Renaissance ones. This it was also accepted by the Ministry of Public Works. In September 1927, in connection with the planned visit of President Ignacy Mościcki, a few sculptures by Dunikowski were temporarily placed in the ceiling of the Envoys' Room, and the Schoolgirl with a Rose Wreath was among them. In the Wawel Royal Castle collection, there are twelve works of the Wawel Heads series, each made of wood (Dunikowski's self-portrait among them) and two made of plaster.
Dunikowski, formally referring to the preserved Renaissance heads, depicted well-know personages of Kraków of the 1920s. Among those portrayed, there were: Prof. Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, members of the Wawel Committee, politicians (Ludwik Darowski, the Voivode, and Karol Rolle, the Mayor of Kraków) and some intellectuals. The artist depicted other artists, as well, i.a.: Teodor Axentowicz, Józef Mehoffer, Leon Wyczółkowski, photographer Józef Kuczyński, collector Feliks Manggha-Jasieński and Zofia Jachimecka, an outstanding translator of Italian literature. Jan Hopliński, the artist and technologist affiliated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, posed for the portrait of Bolesław the Bold, and Anna Jarocka, the artist's wife, posed for the portrait of Anna Jagiellon. The sculptures of the Wawel Heads series were repeatedly exhibited at home and abroad, gaining widespread recognition from critics and the public.
Elaborated by Agnieszka Janczyk (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved