Jan Matejko – Polish Painter Legend

Hi everyone! This week I wanted to talk about an interesting Polish painter that I’ve been looking into recently. This artist’s name is Jan Matejko. Matejko is a modern artist who created many military, historical, and political paintings. He is one of the most renowned artists in Poland.

Matejko was around 14 when he entered into the Krakow School of Fine Arts, now renamed the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts. In Krakow, he was able to learn to create beautiful works, along with learning the history of Poland through the libraries there. He was particularly intrigued with Poland’s complex history, and he chose to represent this in his artworks.

Stańczyk, 1862


The first painting I wanted to talk about is about a jester called Stańczyk. He was the court jester of the Jagiellonion family for some time; this painting represents a time period of the Renaissance era. Stańczyk is currently at a court ball, hosted by Queen Bona; he is contemplating the loss of land of Smolenski that Poland had lost. I personally like the contemplation expressed on his face, and the fire-y deep red that Matejko uses in this work.

King John III Sobieski sending Message of Victory to the Pope, after the Battle of Vienna, 1882-3


The next painting I wanted to discuss is King John III Sobieski sending Message of Victory to the Pope, after the Battle of Vienna. 

I actually saw this painting in the Vatican Museums in Italy. It was a large and in-your-face type of painting. This painting is 15ft by 29.3ft, and it literally consumed the left wall of a room. I couldn’t even get a decent picture of this painting because of how large it was. The one thing I do remember though is the beautiful color throughout the painting. Just like this picture, the painting was illuminating with bright and gorgeous colors showing off one of the best kings that Poland has had.

Astronomer Copernicus, Conversation with God, 1872

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