Portraits occupy a special place in Jan Matejko’s art. As Stanisław Tarnowski wrote, “the artist’s portraits could be the subject of a separate and interesting study”. Among over one hundred portraits painted by Matejko, there are self-portraits and portraits of his closest ones.
Images of the artist’s children are a very personal part of his art. Particularly worthwhile are Portrait of Three Children (1870), Portrait of the Artist’s Four Children (1879), and Portrait of the Artist’s Son George on Horseback (1882). Matejko liked to depict his models according to the then-fashionable manner – as Spanish infants. Such is the latter painting, showing a left-facing, dark-haired boy wearing a coat and high boots, holding reins and a horsewhip, sitting on a horse. The boy is Matejko’s youngest child, George (Jerzy) (1873–1927). In the background, we see the green of a park alley in the artist’s estate in Krzesławice, where his family often relaxed.
The painting’s exhibition is accompanied by a display of Matejko’s drawings and artefacts from his abundant private collection, used during the work on the portrait.