The present self-portrait, made of patinated bronze, shows the bust of the artist. Although the form of the sculpture is synthesized, the image is strikingly realistic: the sculptor managed to capture not only his appearance, but also the characteristic look in his eyes and tension of the facial muscles. The texture of the portrait is diverse.
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 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.
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.
A factory for the production of artistic metal castings was established in Warsaw, in the Kingdom of Poland, by Karol Fryderyk Minter. Minter was of Prussian descent and was educated in Berlin and Copenhagen. The factory became famous for its ornamental works (which were predominantly patriotic in design) which were produced during the years 1845–1879. One series produced comprised a set of twenty-one memorials of Polish rulers, including sixteen miniaturized copies of royal and princely tombs, with nine of these being Wawel royal tombs.
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.
The plaster statue of a wild boar in the collection of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków is a copy of an ancient sculpture stored in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. This marble representation of a wild boar comes from Roman times and is a copy of the lost Hellenistic original probably made in Lysippos’circles. The Roman statue of a wild boar was presented to the Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de Medici (1519–1574) by Pope Pius IV (1499–1565). At the request of Cosimo de Medici, the sculptor Pietro Tacca (1577–1640) made a bronze copy, which contributed to the popularization of the statue.
A statue of a young man carrying a spear (gr. Δορυφόρος, Doryphoros) was found in Pompeii in front of the entrance to the so-called Samnite Palaestra in 1797. The statue is made of Carrara marble and originally stood on a pedestal made of volcanic tuff. It dates back to the 2nd or 1st century BC and is a copy of a lost bronze original made by Polykleitos in the 5th century BC. The statue from Pompeii in Naples (Museo Nazionale, inv. No. 6011) is considered the most complete copy of the classic sculpture.
In the Louvre’s department of Oriental collections, there are more than twenty sculptures considered to be images of Gudea (in total, over thirty images of the ruler have been preserved). Some of the statues present the ruler in a sitting position, some in a standing position. The present plaster copy belongs to the second group. There are five such statues in the Louvre. They all come from Telo: an archaeological site situated at the location of the ancient city of Girsu in present-day Iraq. All five standing statues of Gudea are devoid of heads. The statues from Telo were found during excavations conducted by the French between 1877 and 1933. The cast in the collection of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków was made in accordance with the so-called E Statue (reference number AO 6), which was discovered in 1881 by Ernest Choquin de Serzec, who led the excavations at Telo between 1877 and 1900.
The plaster cast, located in the corridor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, represents a dancing satyr, playing on small plates similar to castanets and tapping out a rhythm on the scabellum (Gr. κρουπέζιον, pronunciation: krupézion, Latin scabellum): a type of percussive instrument in the form of a sandal made of wood with a double, movable sole fitted with small plates.