At the Zoo (Portrait of a Man Reading on a Bench)

Jacek Malczewski

  • At the Zoo (Portrait of a Man Reading on a Bench) 2
  • At the Zoo (Portrait of a Man Reading on a Bench) 3
Basic information
Jacek Malczewski
At the Zoo (Portrait of a Man Reading on a Bench)
oil painting
cardboard oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
24 x 33.5
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
In this sketch one can see a knee-length image of an elderly man depicted turned three quarters to the right; he sits on a bench and reads a book, holding it with his both hands. The man is dressed in the fashion of those times, namely in a three-piece suit and hat. However, the book he is holding is not opened but closed as if the last page had already been read and turned over. The intense and almost tropical greenery serves as a background of the painting.