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Drawing Master, or the little-known works by Jan Matejko

  • Jan Matejko's drawings from his sketchbook XXI were made for the Antiquities Exhibition, which opened on 11 September 1858 in Krakow. The objects exhibited therein came from the collection of the Krakow Scientific Society, the Municipality and the guilds of the city of Krakow, selected monasteries, Count Piotr Moszyński and Princes: Jerzy Lubomirski, Stanisław Jabłonowski, Władysław Czartoryski and Władysław Sanguszko, Counts: Stadnicki, Adam Potocki, Jan Tarnowski, Countess Wąsowiczowa, the Myszkowski entail, Cezar Męciński, Mr Karol Rogawski, Pawlikowski, Ambroży Grabowski, Niedzielski, Strzelbicki and others.

    The selected objects were photographed by Karol Beyer. His photographs were featured in a publication titled 'Album fotograficzne wystawy starożytności i zabytków sztuki urządzonej przez c.k. Towarzystwo Naukowe w Krakowie 1858 i 1859 r.' made in Karol Beyer's Atelier (...) in Warsaw, published in Warsaw in 1859.

    Numerous artists made studies of the objects presented at the exhibition. Some of them created copies of the paintings. Matejko filled an entire large sketchbook with studies of objects from this exhibition. Although he received a scholarship to study abroad, which had been his dream for two years, he remained in Krakow almost until the end of December. The artistic benefits gained while working on the project were invaluable. The artist had mastered the art of drawing – the ability to capture proportions, perspective, chiaroscuro, the volume of objects and diversity of materials (metal, leather, feathers, precious stones).

    Studies created during this exhibition brought out his talent as a draughtsman– an extremely careful, precise observer who uses his pencil with great confidence and skill.

    Text by: Barbara Ciciora, Ph.D. in history of art, an NMK curator, author of exhibition and projects: 'Jan Matejko and the Middle Ages', 'Woodcuts by Jan Matejko', 'European History Painting of the 19th Century'; co-author – with Dr Aleksandra Krypczyk – of the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice; co-author – with Anna Baranowa – of an academic conference 'What do we owe to Matejko?'; coordinator of the project 'Modernization of permanent galleries of the National Museum in Krakow'. Passionate about Jan Matejko's works and European art of the 19th century. Currently working on a catalogue of Jan Matejko's drawings in the NMK collections.

  • A study of 'karacena' - scale armour formerly belonging to Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski, 1858

    A study of 'karacena' - scale armour formerly belonging to Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski, 1858 A study of Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski's 'karacena' armour consisting of a 'zischagge' helmet, armour (breastplate and backplate), gorget and pauldrons. Below the depiction of the armour is a separate profile study of the gorget clasp. In addition, Matejko's drawing features an under-armour jacket and leather gloves at the end of its sleeves.

    The armour was displayed at the Antiquities Exhibition. However, Beyer's publication features the armour along with a 'karacena' 'zischagge' helmet, gorget, front part of the armour and gloves, with a leather jacket underneath. The armour is accompanied by a note: 'Nos. 165, 166, 167, 168 'Karacena' – a scale armour lined with magenta-coloured velvet, formerly belonging to Stanisław Jabłonowski, 17th century, property of Prince Adam Sapieha' (Beyer 1859, Tab. XVII). It might mean that objects for Karol Beyer's photographs were arranged in a particular way, slightly differently than in the exhibition. Lucjan Siemieński, a writer, art critic and a reviewer of Krakow exhibitions wrote in the exhibition guide: '(…) we come across some beautiful 17th-century armours , quite complete, including an elk-leather jacket, mail, a breastplate, pauldrons, bracers. A particularly interesting armour is the 'karacena' (168), which is believed to have belonged to Hetman Jabłonowski'.

    Today, parts of Jabłonowski's armour – the breastplate, backplate, gorget and helmet – are preserved in the Militaria Department of the NMK.

  • A study of an estoc and a hilt of a Turkish sabre, 1858

    A study of an estoc and a hilt of a Turkish sabre, 1858 A study of a 17th-century Turkish estoc and a sabre in its scabbard. The number '67' – visible in Jan Matejko's notes explaining the colours and type of materials used to make this weapon – is the number of the estoc at the Antiquities Exhibition in 1858, which presented both portrayed objects.
    In Karol Beyer's publication, the photograph of the estoc is accompanied by a note: 'No. 67 Estoc with a shagreen leather scabbard, studded with stones and forged with gilded silver, from the collection of Count Piotr Moszyński' (Beyer 1859, Tab. XIV), while the photograph presenting the hilt of the sabre is described as: 'No. 987 Hilt and ferrule made of silver, studded with turquoise stones, part of John III's sabre, from the collection bequeathed by the late Konstanty Swidziński' (Beyer 1859, Tab. XXXI).

    Currently the estoc is preserved in the Militaria Department of the National Museum in Krakow.

  • A study of leather gloves and part of the 'karacena' armour belonging to Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski, 1858

    A study of leather gloves and part of the 'karacena' armour belonging to Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski, 1858 The 'zischagge' helmet with a nose-guard (formerly missing but recently reproduced) is preserved in the Militaria Department of the National Museum in Krakow; originally from the collection of Cardinal Adam Sapieha.

  • A study of a pappenheimer helmet

    A study of a pappenheimer helmet A study of a pappenheimer-type of 'zischagge' helmet, second half of the 16th century – first half of the 17th century.

    The Antiquities Exhibition featured such helmets, which is evidenced by the photographs in Karol Beyer's publication. The helmet drawn by Matejko came from the Princes Lubomirski collection, part of which is currently preserved in the Lviv Historical Museum and which we can confirm by comparing the details: the nearly-covered top opening in the cheek-guard, a strap preserved therein, the same number of strips of steel, and the ring at the top of the helmet skull.

  • A study of an incomplete armour, 1858

    A study of an incomplete armour, 1858 A study of an incomplete armour consisting of a cuirass, and – nearly invisible in the drawing – a backplate, bracer and a 'zischagge' helmet.

    The breastplate was displayed at the Antiquities Exhibition, which is evidenced by the photograph in Karol Beyer's publication along with an accompanying note: 'No. 2006 A 16th-century cuirass made of sheet iron (...) from the collection of Prince Jerzy Lubomirski in Przeworsk and Krakow' (Beyer 1859, Tab. XV). The helmet – identical to the one in Matejko's drawing – is presented without a description in the same table in the publication, in the middle of the bottom row.

  • A study of a reflex recurve bow and arrow details, 1858

    A study of a reflex recurve bow and arrow details, 1858 A study of a reflex recurve bow and arrow details. The bow is deformed as a result of the missing bowstring, see: a study of another bow IX/604.

    Beyer's publication features photographs of the bows with a note: 'No. 63 Two 17th-century Tatar bows from the collection of Count Piotr Moszyński (Beyer 1859, Tab. XXI). Both bow cases incorrectly featured arrows instead of bows. The bow depicted by Matejko is presented in the photograph on the right. The same photograph additionally features bow cases and a 'sajdak' consisting of a bow case and a quiver, which was also drawn by Matejko.

  • Romanesque crozier

    Romanesque crozier A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Crossbow

    Crossbow A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Bridle

    Bridle A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Hat

    Hat A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Theorbo

    Theorbo A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Study of a table clock

    Study of a table clock A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Yathagan

    Yathagan A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • A study of a Boulle clock

    A study of a Boulle clock A drawing from sketchbook XX

  • Ponętowski's crozier

    Ponętowski's crozier

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