The Tatra Mountains have always fascinated, delighted and bewildered everyone with their power. They have threatened us with their volatility and have punished daredevils severely who have given up their caution. Ultimately, they have been a real artistic challenge for all those who wished to tame them and include all that has always fallen outside any frames on a flat piece of cloth or paper.
Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, surrounded by a picturesque landscape, used to be a paradise for all kinds of artists. Besides inspirations they could come across at every turn, they could also experience true creative and intellectual freedom there.
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.”
The presented drawing from the collection of the Academy of Fine Arts was awarded by the professors of the School of Fine Arts and was awarded first place by the authorities of the Kraków Society of Friends of Fine Arts, along with a sum of 30 guilders.
Jacek Malczewski’s palette is one of the several painting palettes preserved in a collection of memorabilia of famous artists associated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. It served for oil painting. Its large size, streamlined, heart-like shape and thumb hole, as well as its small weight – resulting from the type of wood used – made it possible to conveniently hold the palette on the forearm and support it by propping it against the side.
Jacek Malczewski began systematic studies at the School of Fine Arts in Kraków in the middle of 1873. His first teachers were Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, a historical painter and a well-known art historian, and Feliks Szynalewski. His education was also overseen by Jan Matejko, to whom Malczewski was very attentive.
Jacek Malczewski, one of the most outstanding Polish Symbolism painters left a rich artistic legacy. The work of Malczewski is extremely extensive and multi-layered. His paintings present his personal desires as well as the national tragedy and traditions. Mythology intertwined with religion, folk motifs mixed with tale themes.
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 presented drawing is the first student work by Jacek Malczewski to be noticed and awarded. He received the first prize and the amount of 30 guilders from the management of the Kraków Society of Friends of Fine Arts. At that time, Malczewski studied under Władysław Łuszczkiewicz and Feliks Szynalewski, with Jan Matejko also exerting a tremendous influence on the artistic development of the young adept.
A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den].
The tradition of Polish Christmas nativity scenes has its roots in Italian nativity plays, which were brought to our land by the Franciscan Order. Initially, they were organised in the side altars of churches, and comprised figures of Baby Jesus, Mary, Saint Joseph, the shepherds and the Three Kings...