Display of the works of the Karpiński Sisters - Gallery
[original title unknown]
oil colour monotype
The presented monotype, presently titled Prometheus III, by Irena Karpińska is a response to the oil painting Prometheus, painted by the artist in her Vilnius days—a work that was lost during the Second World War and which we know only from a black and white reproduction published in Alma Mater Vilnensis, issue 9, 1930. The painter’s sister, Joanna, speaks about the painting and its fate in an interview recorded in VHS technology in 1993. The work depicts Prometheus descending from Olympus carrying a torch that illuminates the modern city with the glow of fire. The monotype Prometheus III is a bitter reaction to what humans did with the fire they had received from Prometheus. It depicts a mythical figure with a fireball, covering his eyes, depicted against the backdrop of an ongoing war, with Mount Olympus and a bombarded city in the background. The figure of Prometheus is facing the other way—he is returning. The work was created under the clear influence of war experience. As for Prometheus II, an oil painting on canvas painted by Irena Karpińska during the war, it is known only from a black-and-white photograph from the family collection. The work was given to Mrs. Hausmann, the wife of a forester in Siedlce, and, according to the description on the back of the photograph, perished in fire during the war in Warsaw. It was the prototype for Prometheus III, just like in the case of Joanna's work, the 1934 version of the woodcut In a Café Garden was the prototype for the 1942 version.