"The Great Illustrator - The Woodcuts of Jan Matejko"

The exhibition WIELKI ILUSTRATOR. DRZEWORYTY JANA MATEJKI / THE GREAT ILLUSTRATOR - THE WOODCUTS OF JAN MATEJKO will be the first-ever presentation of a little-known part of the oeuvre of a great artist, namely, woodcuts made from his drawings. Jan Matejko published many woodcuts based on his own drawings with the assistance of newspaper engravers. In line with his passion for popularizing Polish history, he created illustrations depicting historical figures and buildings.

These prints possess Matejko's subtle, lively line and bear comments by historians of the time. They were highly valued by nineteenth century readers, many of whom cut them out carefully to create albums of Matejko's drawings for their own homes.

Salomon Lewental, publisher of the weekly "Klosy," also noticed the artist-historian's efforts as well as the artistic quality of his woodcuts. Lewental brought these works together in his "Album Matejki" / "Matejko's Album" and subsequently published them in three portfolios between 1873 and 1876.

The artworks will be grouped according to the subjects that interested Matejko and the readers for whom he created: Krakow's historical monuments, the artist's paintings, scenes from the artist's life, "Matejko's Album," and "Clothing in Poland." Supplementing the display will be interesting examples of tools used by 19th century woodcutters and printers, made available for the exhibition by the Historical Museum of the City of Cracow.

Exhibition opening: March 31, 2004, at 11 a.m.

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