Man with Horns (a sketch)

Jacek Malczewski

  • Man with Horns (a sketch) 2
  • Man with Horns (a sketch) 3
Basic information
Jacek Malczewski
Man with Horns (a sketch)
Date of creation
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
70 x 54.3
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
Portraits by Jacek Malczewski are one of the greatest pages of his artistic legacy. Portrait paintings had several characteristic features, in particular the portrayed person was depicted either bust-length or knee-length; the figure was shown in such a way that the viewer's attention was focused on the head and arms of the person in the painting; the face was emotionless, and the facial expressions were undemonstrative. The character of the person portrayed was emphasized with the help of surrounding objects or a landscape. In this painting, one can see a man of middle age in the image of a faun. The Faun (Latin: Faunus derived from favere – to favour, to be favorable) is one of the oldest deities in Roman mythology, a patron of forests, flocks, and shepherds. The Faun is the god of fertility, and he is half a man and half a goat with horns and a wreath on his head; it is a kind of allegory of life and pleasures associated with it. It is believed that the Faun warns those lost in the woods of danger and directs them to a way out with barely audible sounds of his flute. Therefore, Faun is associated with predicting the future. The hand of the person portrayed is also depicted in an emphatically unusual gesture. This position of the fingers is probably related to the Jewish blessing gesture of the Cohens, in which both hands form the Hebrew letter "Shin", which stands for El Shaddai, meaning Almighty (God).
At the bottom right of the painting there is an inscription "J. Malczewski 1908"