Madonna (a sketch)

Jacek Malczewski

  • Madonna (a sketch) 2
  • Madonna (a sketch) 3
Basic information
Jacek Malczewski
Madonna (a sketch)
Date of creation
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
133 x 95.5
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
Until 1890, Jacek Malczewski's creative work was dominated by landscapes, portraits, and paintings on historical themes in the style of Romanticism, which were performed mostly in dark colors. He was influenced by the work of the artist Artur Grottger. In 1890, he became interested in Symbolism; as a result, he began to use brighter paints and his works became more vivid and deep in color. The presented work is a sketch of a young woman with a child standing on a stone between two thin wooden sticks (or spears) framing her. This type of depiction of Madonna, where the Virgin Mary is shown standing, often with a baby turned to the viewer or with his hand raised in blessing, refers to the full-length images. This type is often found in sculpture. In the presented work, Madonna with a child is also perceived as a sculpture, because of the pedestal in the form of a stone. On either side of Madonna there is a blurred image of two figures standing in long clothes. The field serves as a background of the painting; the greenish strip and the outlines of the city are visible behind it. The sky is clear and almost white.