Matejko is of course the painter of our history, which we view mainly through his eyes, matching our imaginations to those created by him.
His great historical scenes decorate the most important museum collections of our country and very rarely go on loan elsewhere. Matejko’s is a great work, a great legacy, diverse and often surprising. Looking at his serious paintings, we forget that he had a good sense of humour, manifested in small sketches and notes, which a wide audience does not always realise. These and many other aspects of Matejko's work are revealed in the Lviv collection which is being presented in Sopot.
Let us point out one more important issue: while in his finished works the artist was quite precise and careful, his sketches are characterized by much greater freedom. And it is in these works that the unmistakable painting talent is clearly visible, which his critics, and there were many of them, often questioned. Matejko's paintings, which we know, lose some of its expression and vision, when we look at the excellent sketches of horses or some historical scenes, such as "Twardowski's evocative spirit of Barbara before Zygmunt August", where you can see freedom, speed, sensuality, and monochromatism - the resignation from colour. Many of these features disappear in finite images.
The word ‘romantic’ has been used. This is how you can perceive the whole vision of Polish history created by Matejko. And this is also one of the paradoxes of his life and work, which, although in the positivist times, did not, in my opinion, realise positivist ideals, but rather explored and focused the glorious moments of our history.
We often forget that Matejko was a deeply religious man and that it is religious painting that is an important part of his work. Among these kinds of works we have sketches of saints and the Risen Christ, and finally the considerable oil composition "Ascension." In the features of the Christ depicted on it, I think, one can see similarities to the painter.
The real masterpiece of the Lviv collection remains ‘Portrait of the Artist's Children’, alive, abundant in forms, actually exaggerated, but perfect in a portrait sense. The fusion of all kinds of woven, embroidered, lace and all other materials is simply breath-taking. The symphony of textures, forms and surfaces probably faithfully corresponds to what was in the painter's home and studio, but it is not easy to consider this glamour as natural. You can feel here some ostentation, a record of personal success, a testimony of wealth, even if you assume that this is how the studios of European history painters often looked like.
The Lviv collection is extremely diverse, revealing many technical aspects of Matejko's creative search. At the same time, this collection was successfully enriched with works from the National Museum in Warsaw and from a private collection. We thank Lviv for this loan, because each work reveals the talent and diversity of the search for the Krakow painter. Each newly discovered image increases our knowledge.
Place: National Gallery of Art
Date:29.06 - 06.10
Hour: - - 00:00
Tickets: 10 PLN, 7 PLN (concessions). Family ticket 18 PLN. Groups (min. 20 persons) 4 PLN/person (Karta Sopocka: 5 PLN)
Address: Plac Zdrojowy 2, 81-720 Sopot
Organizer: National Gallery of Art