Wanda Ślędzińska (1906–1999), a sculptor and a pedagogue associated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków for many decades. She started working at the academy as an assistant at Xawery Dunikowski’s studio. Ślędzińska was the first woman to become the head of the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She held this post until she retired in 1970.
The present plaster cast of an antique statue is a copy of the original marble statue kept in the Louvre (Musée de Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Inventory No. MR 315 (Ma 1207). In the seventeenth century, the statue was placed in the gardens of Pope Sixtus V in Rome, and then in Villa Montalto-Negroni. The statue was then deemed to be a likeness of Germanicus (Gaius Claudius Drusus Caesar Germanicus, 15 BC–19 AD). In 1685, through the agency of the painter Nicolas Poussin in Rome, it was purchased by the king of France, Louis XIV. Then it was restored by François Girardon (1628–1715) and placed in the Palace of Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors.
The present plaque in the form of tondo is sometimes mistakenly described as a representation of The Three Graces. In reality, the relief depicts three personifications of art: painting (the woman on the left, holding a palette), architecture (the woman in the middle, holding a model of a building) and sculpture (the man holding the head of a statue). Inspired by ancient art, Poplawski used a characteristic composition typical of the depiction of the Graces, and the characters are represented as idealized nude figures.
The bronze original is located in the National Gallery in Prague. Once, it was in the third courtyard of the Prague Castle, where a bronze copy is now located. The original was probably created in 1373 and was funded by the Bohemian King and Roman Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg, who was at the peak of his power at the time.
The original Greek statue was found in 1820 on the Cycladic island of Milos (ancient Greek: Μῆλος, pronounced: Mêlos modern Greek: Μήλος, pronounced: Mýlos) and purchased by Marquis de Rivière, who, back then, was the ambassador of France in Istanbul. He gave the sculpture to Louis XVIII, who, in the following year, handed it over to the Louvre, where it remains to this day. The Aphrodite of Milos became part of the French national collection of antiques, which was to compete with the collections of the British Museum, slightly earlier enriched with the Elgin Marbles: sculptures and reliefs imported from the Acropolis in Athens by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin.
Few mementoes and works of art directly associated with Karol Szymanowski have been preserved to this day. Therefore, the posthumous mask makes for quite a unique document. Suffering from tuberculosis, Szymanowski died in Le Signal hospital in Lausanne. The mask was made right after his death by a Swiss sculptor, Lucien Jules Delerse.
The sculpture represents a figure of a sitting woman depicted from the waist upwards. The woman is holding binoculars and slightly leaning out of the theatre box, assumedly to take a better look of the details of the artistic event in which she is participating. There is a satisfaction, or even reverie visible on her face. Is it because of the play?
The portrait was purchased in Cairo by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II. The face of the man is oval-shaped, with almond-like eyes with marked pupils, lashes and bushy eyebrows. He has a long moustache and a black beard encircling his face.
In 1895, Stanisław Wyspiański made a polychrome project for the presbytery of a Franciscan church. The composition consists of three elements: the titular fallen angels, at which the group of archers aims, and the figure of Archangel Michael, who guards the gates of paradise. A perfect accompaniment to this work is the polychrome located on the opposite side of the presbytery: Madonna and the Child and Caritas. The artist, in a visible way, juxtaposed two attitudes to life and showed their possible consequences.
On 8 October 1905 in Cukiernia Lwowska Jana Michalika (a Lviv Confectionery run by Jan Michalik) the first performance of the Green Balloon cabaret was staged. The name of the cabaret arose by accident. After one of the meetings of ”the painter’s table”, where the idea of the cabaret originated, the artists saw a boy with a bunch of green balloons on Floriańska Street and then someone said: “That is our name: «Green Balloon»!”.
The present plaster cast is a copy of an ancient Greek statue stored in the Louvre. The sculpture was discovered in 1875 on the sacred road leading to the heraion (temple of the goddess Hera) on the island of Samos. In 1881, the statue was appropriated and taken to the Louvre, where it is still currently stored (Inventory No. Ma 686). The plaster cast from the collections of the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts was made in the Louvre, as evidenced by a metal plate with the inscription “Musée du Louvre” on the back of the plaster figure.
On 8 October 1905 in Cukiernia Lwowska Jana Michalika [a Lviv Confectionery run by Jan Michalik] the first performance of the Green Balloon cabaret was staged. The name of the cabaret arose by accident. After one of the meetings of ”the painter’s table”, where the idea of the cabaret originated, the artists saw a boy with a bunch of green balloons on Floriańska Street and then someone said: “That is our name: «Green Balloon»!”.
The present portrait of Jan Matejko – the director of the School of Fine Arts in Kraków – is a plaster model for the bust of Jan Matejko made in 1894. This bust adorns the portal of the main entrance to the building of Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, located at the Matejko Square in Kraków.
The original bronze statue of the Charioteer was found in 1896 under the sacred road in the area of the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. It shows a charioteer. Next to the statue, there were also excavated fragments of the draft animals and a dedicatory inscription certifying that the statue had been part of a sculptural group funded by the Sicilian ruler Polyzalos.
Leon Wyczółkowski completed a decorative panneau on Knight among Flowers, depicting a Hussar sitting on horseback and blowing the horn against the background of a flowery meadow. This work was exhibited in the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts [Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych] in 1907. The sculpted Hussar from the Jan Matejko House is identical to its original painted on a panneau.
The plaster sculpture representing Tadeusz Kościuszko is a fragment of the model of the monument erected in Washington in 1910. Spacious, small-size models of monumental sculptures were demonstrative objects for a commissioner or for competitions. They were made of plaster—brittle, non-durable material — and, therefore, many of them did not survive.
The model was made in 1901 by Bronowice carpenters under the supervision of Włodzimierz Tetmajer and with the participation of a painter, Antoni Procajłowicz. The piece was commissioned by Jerzy Warchałowski on the occasion of the First Exhibition of the Polish Applied Arts Society in Kraków.
Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964) is one of the greatest Polish sculptors of the 20th century. The present bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin comes from the post-war period in the artist’s work. After the WWII, the ideas of social realism carried Dunikowski away. However, ideological activities did not translate into the form of his works: he remained faithful to the expressive, simplified form he developed in the interwar period.