Jan Matejko (1838-1893) was the most exceptional historical painter in the annals of Polish art. His works have shaped the imagination and historical awareness of generations of Poles. Matejko was also an avid collector of costumes, clothing, fabrics, armor, and historical artifacts. The beginnings of his collection date from the 1850s. The artist was in the habit of purchasing valuable objects and antique items, not only for use in his home, but also as props for his paintings. Matejko's friends and acquaintances advised and assisted him in acquiring the collection. In 1860 the artist published a portfolio of lithographs titled UBIORY W POLSCE 1200 -1795 / COSTUMES IN POLAND 1200-1795, containing renderings of Polish costumes dating from a range of periods, beginning with the reign of Boleslaus the Bashful to the reign of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski. The images in the portfolio portray the costumes of students, clergymen, peasants, Jews, the nobility, monarchs and members of their courts, the bourgeoisie, the knighthood, magnates, as well as clothing worn by members of guilds and various brotherhoods. Throughout his entire creative career, the artist produced studies of costumes, draperies, and handcrafted items.

The most interesting liturgical garments collected by Matejko include a Renaissance dalmatic made of velvet brocade interlaced with gold thread and patterned in pomegranates, which appears in the canvasses HOLD PRUSKI / THE PRUSSIAN TRIBUTE (1882), PORTRET WILCZKA / PORTRAIT OF WILCZEK (1886) and in his monumental BITWA POD GRUNWALDEM / THE BATTLE OF GRUNWALD (1878). His collection also includes liturgical gloves embroidered with red or blue thread. Richly embroidered maniples and stoles, most of which date from the 17th and 18th centuries, supplement this set of ornamented accessories.

Jan Matejko's legacy also comprises numerous secular costumes. These range from dresses worn according to the reigning fashion in Europe, through costumes from Russia, Turkey, and the territories of today's Albania. Particularly noteworthy items include a vest decorated with an application of red wool cloth, a geometrically patterned jacket deriving from Macedonia, and a women's costume bearing brown wool cloth applications and fashioned like an elongated poncho, accompanied by a skirt, bodice, and embroidered belt. The collection also encompasses women's silk tunics and vests worn by the bourgeoisie. These bodices and ribbed skirts are decorated with rich, colorful embroidery. Costume researchers have demonstrated particular interest in a white, striped skirt of brocade with silver bows dating from the 18th century. The exhibition additionally includes a Middle Eastern women's costume consisting of a dress sewn of purple velvet embroidered with a decorative golden pattern.

One of the most unusual museum artifacts on view is a dress in the Empire style dating from 1815. Sewn of navy blue silk with stripes of the same color, the dress possesses small silver sections and two-part sleeves. The exhibition also includes a unique bridal dress fashioned of brick-colored embroidered silk patterned in golden leaves.

Alongside complete costumes, Matejko possessed numerous clothing accessories, including belts, lace, collars, sleeves, purses, gloves, fans, lace cuffs, and decorative haberdasheries, many of which have also been put on display.

Jan Matejko designed many costumes, not only for models who posed for the paintings that emerged from under his brush. Among other things, he fashioned clothing for the participants of his own wedding celebration and designed a number of costumes for balls, which he commissioned tailors in Krakow and Bochnia to produce. The exhibition STROJE I KOSTIUMY Z KOLEKCJI JANA MATEJKI / CLOTHING AND COSTUMES FROM THE COLLECTION OF JAN MATEJKO includes a number of these creations. Costumes designed by Matejko are not only valuable historical artifacts and often unique items, but also link into the artist's monumental paintings illustrating moments in Polish history. Just as the drawn studies of his costumes or the album COSTUMES IN POLAND 1200-1795 are a valuable source of information for researchers, so the costumes and clothing collected by the artist constitute valuable iconographic and comparative material for today's costume designers.

Rate:
(143 votes)
Promo shot for Escape Room Bank in Warsaw, photo: press release

Janek Jaszczyński, co-creator of Warsaw’s trendiest escape rooms, takes Culture.pl through the finer points of the escape game scene, and describes the legends...

Ever wondered why some words look similar in different languages? With the majority of European languages, this is most often due to the fact that they all...

The Polish Baltic, photo: Łukasz Dejnarowicz / Forum

On 31st August 2015, the Common Baltic Short Film Contest jury announced the three finalists who will be heading to the 40th Gdynia Film Festival.

German armoured train from 1944, photo: Tomasz Wiech / Agencja Gazeta

Piotr Żuchowski, Head of Conservation at the Polish Ministry of Culture, has confirmed the existence of the mysterious WWII train recently found in the city of...

No other historical figure has been so unanimously respected and even worshipped in Poland, but the historical impact of Tadeusz Kościuszko far surpasses that...

  •  
  • 1 of 540
Selection of craft Polish ciders, photo:  Tomasz Piotrowski / Cydrolot

The Lublin Association of Cider Lovers have announced that the region will soon become famous for its cider, just like the Tuscany area is known for its wines.

Located in the heart of Poznań, Stary Borwar is a unique shopping centre that shows the concept of founder Grażyna Kulczyk: her 50-50 principle. According to...

Paweł Althamer, "Siatkarze"("Volleyballers), 2015, photo. Małgorzata Brus.

A branch of the Bródno Sculpture Park, one of the most recognizable public art spaces in Europe, has been established at the premises of Warsaw Grochów...

Krzysztof Penderecki, photo. by Bruno Fidrych

"Listening to classical music is like reading philosophy books", says Krzysztof Penderecki. In the summer of 2015 he is recording his oratory works with the...

Centre of Folk Architecture

  •  
  • 1 of 425

The culinary tastes of the generations born in the PPR (the Polish People’s Republic) were shaped mostly by canteen food and home cooking, which was based on...

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the...

Judas Priest, British Steel, cover art: Rosław Szaybo

Vinyl records combine visual art with musical mastery - and aficionados take interest in both. Here's a compilation of the most recognized album art created by...

Culture.pl presents a guide of a phantom city - a Warsaw that no longer exists.

Andrzej Wajda during a rehearsal of "The Possessed" according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1971, Teatr Stary in Krakow, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

Forty years since it irreversibly altered the Polish theatre scene, Wajda's adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possesed" resurfaces on the small screen. "The...

  •  
  • 1 of 540