The ivory casket from the treasury of the Cracovian cathedral belongs to the group of artefacts made in Paris in the 2nd quarter of the 14th century – these objects are decorated with scenes from medieval romances (see the text Medieval femme fatales). The sets of individual episodes complement each other according to the principle of contrast: for example, stories about pure love were contrasted with legends about adultery. However, the snag is that many medieval romances are structured so that instead of condemning sinful lovers, we all root for their immoral relationship.
Along with Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Podkowiński is considered to be the precursor of impressionism in Polish art painting. His works also gave rise to Symbolism and Expressionism trends in Polish Modernism. About 1892 Podkowiński’s oeuvre began to feature visionary and phantasmagoric depictions of the issues of love, suffering and death inspired by his personal experiences, with references to achievements by Western European symbolists.
Beautiful women of the oiran offered an attractive subject for artists dealing with Japanese wood engravings; it peaked in the Edo epoch (1603–1868). Elusiveness and passing, so strongly featured in the philosophy of this period, made people seize the current moment and celebrate the joy stemming from watching flowers or admiring the Moon.
A young woman, clearly amused, seems to be walking towards the viewer with a dance-like step. Her shapely figure has been captured in a lively pose, and the body is covered only with a fabric carelessly wrapped around the hips. The girl is raising a goblet with a vigorous gesture of her right hand. The Dionysian character of sculpture, marked in the title, is emphasized by a vine twig gripped in the left hand.
On women and other demons... The art collection from the Tatra Museum features several dozens of works by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, aka Witkacy. These include landscapes, drawings and portraits. Among the works depicting by Nena Stachurska, Bronisława Włodarska, Janina Turowska-Leszczyńska and Józef Fedorowicz, there are two images of a lady whose first and last name is unknown.
Woman? Child? Demon? ... Who can you see? Place of action — Zakopane — “Z village.” Time of action — April 1929. Protagonists — artist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and his model, this time Nena Stachurska. Nena was one of the favourite models of Witkacy, right next to Helena Białynicka-Birula, Janina Turowska–Leszczyńska and Eugenia Kuźnicka-Wyszomirska.
The sculpture was made after 1900 by the artist-sculptor Henryk Hochman, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, a disciple of Florian Cynk and Konstanty Laszczka. Hochman continued his education in the workshop of August Rodin in Paris.
Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of King Herod Antipas, danced so beautifully that the ruler let her ask for anything she wanted. Her wish, suggested by cruel Herodias, was John the Baptist’s head. Biblical Salome is one of frequent motifs in the iconography of European art. The archetype of a dangerous seductress fascinated artists of all epochs.
A man and a woman in an erotic scene are shown on the chest which imitates a bed. Both figures are naked, with their long hair reaching down to their shoulders with strongly marked eyes, noses and half-open mouths. The stirrup-shaped ear connects the back of the man with the side-surface of the bed, which is covered with a geometric ornament.