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    Jacek Malczewski’s paintings kept in private collections now in Cracow’s National Museum

    The publication of Adam Mickiewicz’s Ballads and Romances kicked off the era of Polish Romanticism. It was exactly 200 years ago, which is why the government decided to make 2022 the Year of Romanticism. One of the ways that Cracow’s National Museum celebrates it is an exhibition of Jacek Malczewski’s paintings.

    Jacek Malczewski (1854-1928) was an extremely fruitful painter, peaking during the era of symbolism. However, he seemed to have been born too late – the ideas of Romanticism were his true calling. He created about 2,000 paintings and even more drawings and sketches. About 1,200 paintings have been preserved to our times, and 140 of them will be presented in the exhibition – those that refer to the values and texts created in the Romantic era. There is a good reason why the exhibition is titled “The Romantic Jacek Malczewski”.

    Overall, the National Museum put 170 pieces of Malczewski’s work on display. The lion’s share is his painting, but besides that, the visitors can see his sketches, self-portraits, pictures of the artist and studies on his work.

    The artworks are divided into three themes. The first is folklore and legends, the second – is Malczewski’s reflections on art, inspiration, and the role of an artist. Last, but certainly not least is Polish messianism, the idea that Poles have to stand in between orientalist and Christian cultures and to lead East and Southern European nations to freedom. It expresses hope that the nation’s sorrow and sacrifice during the partitions of Poland will pay off and that Poland will return to its glory. It was a theme especially close to Malczewski, hence why it is such a big part of his legacy.

    The exhibition has been opened last Friday, and it will be open up until the end of July 2022. See some of his paintings in our gallery.


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