Portrait of Michal Sozanski

Jacek Malczewski

  • Portrait of Michal Sozanski 2
  • Portrait of Michal Sozanski 3
Basic information
Jacek Malczewski
Portrait of Michal Sozanski
Date of creation
oil painting
plywood oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
43.5 x 80
Information about author
Jacek Malczewski
Artist's lifetime
Jacek Malczewski (July 14, 1854, Radom, Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire – October 8, 1929, Krakow, Republic of Poland) was an outstanding artist and one of the most prominent representatives of Polish Symbolism. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Krakow, where his teacher was Jan Matejko. The artist participated in an archeological expedition to Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Greece, which was organized by Count Karol Lanckoronski. He also visited Munich and Italy. Jacek Malczewski was one of the founders of the art union "Sztuka" ("Art"). The artist's creative heritage includes landscapes and portraiture, symbolic compositions, interpretations of religious themes, and numerous self-portraits in various images.
Object description
Against the background of a green hilly field on the left, there is a bust-length image of an elderly man depicted full face, with a mustache and combed back hair. This is a portrait of Michal Sozanski, a Polish artist and watercolorist. From 1890, he lived in Lviv, and before that time – in Florence. In June 1907, he painted landscapes around Yaremche. He was a student of Leonardo Marconi. On the right-hand side of the painting, under a hill on the road, one can see a rider with long dark red wings; he may be a Polish "winged hussar" that symbolizes the origin of the portrayed person, or Bellerophon riding a Pegasus horse. Being the deadliest cavalry, the Polish "winged hussars", about whom legends were composed, were engaged in European wars. Hussars wore armor and pelts; in particular, noblemen wore leopard pelts, and the less noble horsemen – wolf, lynx, or bear ones. These soldiers were distinguished by their “wings”, a wooden frame carrying eagle, ostrich, swan or goose feathers. The most common theory is that the hussars wore the wings because they made a loud, clattering noise which made it seem like the cavalry was much larger than in reality and frightened the enemy's horses. The wings were mostly used to block the back of the rider from swords or protect them from getting thrown off their horse.
At the upper right of the painting there is an inscription "J Malczewski 1907"
Portrayed person
The name of the person portrayed
Michal Adam Sozanski
Lifetime of the person portrayed