Facebook YouTube Instagram Twitter



English summary

Gallery of Polish Masters - 9. Everyone can tell a horse from a dog – portrait of fauna

Heading Photo

9. Everyone can tell a horse from a dog – portrait of fauna

Representations of fauna often appear in Polish art and they play different roles. Artists are fascinated by animals’ simplicity and spontaneity, their proportions and original shapes, painterly characteristic features and imagery. A Woman with A Rabbit by Eugeniusz Zak, introducing this section, is a forerunner of decorative art or art déco, continuing the aesthetics of Neo-Classicism. A stylized pose, a theatrical gesture, elongated shapes of both the woman and the rabbit in her hands, combined with the black background, introduce an atmosphere of mystery. It is deepened by the ambiguous imagery of the rabbit, appealing to fertility, sexuality, magic, and even minor deceit. It is one of the most interesting works painted by Zak, a representative of the École de Paris, as far as technique and the subject matter are concerned and at the same time one of the favourite works of Krzysztof Musiał, the owner of the collection.
Everybody can tell a horse from a dog. A slightly playful definition of the horse, originating from the late-Baroque encyclopaedia written by Benedykt Chmielowski, is referred to in the title of this room. Nowadays the saying functions as a popular catchphrase, summing up some obvious facts. The choice of this title for the section dedicated to representations of fauna is a hint about the significant presence of the horse in Polish art, especially in the period of Romanticism. The most remarkable painter of Romanticism was Piotr Michałowski, who dedicated a great number of paintings and sketches to them. We present two of these in the Gallery of Polish Masters. The former hangs under the title plate of this study. Painted in watercolour and drawn in pencil, the studies of horses reveal how much Michałowski sensed the temperament and anatomy of these vital animals. He is said to have studied the anatomy of horses in a Paris abattoir. Moreover he had contact with living examples of the species on his estate. Michałowski’s second drawing that is hung  further along in this study, on the other side of the partition is particularly interesting. It is a double work, hiding on the reverse side an expressive sketch of a galloping herd of horses, reproduced in the album The Łódź Gallery of Polish Masters.
An expressive painterly sketch Actaeon by Zygmunt Waliszewski is an example of the use of the animals’ image to illustrate a myth. While hunting, the Greek hero Actaeon watched the naked goddess Diana while she was bathing. As a punishment for that bold act Diana turned him into a stag, which was torn to pieces by his hounds. Waliszewski depicted the dramatic moment of the attempted escape of Actaeon-stag chased by the dogs. The momentum of the animals is emphasised by the dynamic composition and expressive line. It is one of numerous sketches on the road to the final version of the painting titled Diana and Actaeon, which is in the collection of the National Museum in Poznań.

EmailDrukuj Share on FaceBook

Na skróty