Exhibition "Sobieski in Jan Matejko's Częstochowa. Around the character and Painting" in the Jan Matejko House commemorates the 180th birth anniversary and the 125th death anniversary of one of the greatest Polish artists, the representative of historical painting. The creators of the exhibition stress Matejko's interest in the figure of the "Last Knight of Christianity".
Matejko painted the events related to the Battle of Vienna and the figure of King John III Sobieski a few times during his artistic work.
"He made figure sketches, composition sketches, the design of the king's statue, and painted him in the piece 'Clothing in Poland' " – says Marta Kłak-Ambrożkiewicz, manager of the Jan Matejko House – a branch of the NMK and the exhibition's curator.
According to the curator, painting John III Sobieski in Częstochowa from 1859 already at the early stage of his career shows Matejko's solicitude for details. Spectators' attention will be drawn to academic finishings and emotional scenes; constructed by the painter with a director-like virtuosity.
The exhibition is accompanied by a display of painting props and composition sketches coming from the NMK collection - the Jan Matejko House.
Matejko started working on John III Sobieski in Częstochowa while studying in Munich and finished it in 1859 in Krakow. He painted the events of 25 July 1683, when on his way to Vienna, King John III Sobieski and his family, stopped at Jasna Góra (a famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary). Then, he got the blessing, a saber, and a gorget from the Provincial of the Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit, and he took an oath to defend the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) and the whole Christianity. On 12 September, the united forces of Polish and Austrian troops commanded by John III Sobieski, coming to rescue of the Habsburgs, defeated the Turkish army of Kara Mustafa.
– This event is referred to in Jan Matejko's painting "John III Sobieski at Vienna in 1683", which was given to Pope Leo XIII in 1883 as a gift from the Polish nation and has since been exhibited at Vatican Museums in Sobieski Room. "This piece, started in June 1881 and completed in August 1883, emphasized the participation and role of Poland in a historical event important for the whole Christianity", says Marta Kłak-Ambrożkiewicz. The Pope awarded Matejko for this painting with Knight Commander with Star Order of Pius IX.
Painting John III Sobieski in Częstochowa was borrowed from the Herbst Palace Museum – a branch of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.