The art of Jacek Malczewski, 1854–1929


Thanatos I & II (1898).

The Symbolist movement in painting found adherents across Europe but the western Europeans have always been the ones who receive the most attention for their work. Jacek Malczewski was a Polish artist who produced a number of paintings which can be classed as Symbolist—the usual complement of angels and chimeras—even though much of his output is more mundane fare. He also had a peculiar Dalínian propensity for putting himself in many of his pictures, as in the example below. The pictures here are from a substantial web collection.


Finis Poloniae (1906).

Previously on { feuilleton }
Carlos Schwabe’s Fleurs du Mal

5 thoughts on “The art of Jacek Malczewski, 1854–1929”

  1. Few artistic trends, and none today, in my opinion, have ever been as intriguing as Symbolism.

  2. Wiley: in many ways the Surrealists continued the Symbolist project, at least in terms of honouring the imagination. Surrealism is like Symbolism post-Freud and Jung and a lot of material links can be found between the two movements.

    Thom: there’s more to come…

  3. Thanks John, Malczewski is surely the best Polish Symbolist painter, his work was included in The Symbolism by Michael Gibson, and recently, in Symbolism by Rodolphe Rappetti. Both great albums! His work was shown in England (rather cold reception) and in Musee D’Orsay in Paris. I am in touch with many contemporary “modern symbolist” painters in Europe and in Canada,surprisingly, they all knew the name and were familiar with his art! Thanks for promoting this great painter on your site! Best, Egon, JKK Fine Arts, USA

  4. Hi Egon. It was the Gibson book which first alerted me to Malczewski, I think. Most of my Symbolist books are biased towards western European artists; Gibson gives equal attention to the east which was good to see.

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