Inspiration of the Painter

Jacek Malczewski1897

The National Museum in Krakow

The National Museum in Krakow
Kraków, Poland

Inspiration of the Painter is one of the first paintings in a large series entitled Polonia, which Malczewski completed in 1918, after Poland regained independence. It depicts an artist in the moment of creation and a woman ghost, as if in a somnambulistic sleep, who has emerged in his imagination. She has a straw crown falling off her head onto her back and fetters binding her legs. Around her hips, there is a Russian army greatcoat with a soap bubble among its folds. She is the personification of Polonia – dethroned, exiled, enslaved, in the state of political non-existence. In the background one can see vague outlines of the figures of men who probably symbolize the tree partitions and express hopeless despair or indifference. This painting, like Melancholia and Vicious Circle, is one of the works in which Malczewski visualized the process of artistic creation, showing a great power of subconscious imagination, which, according to Przybyszewski – revealed a “tiny part of the artist’s soul,” his “absolute consciousness”.


  • Title: Inspiration of the Painter
  • Creator: Jacek Malczewski
  • Date Created: 1897
  • Medium: oil. canvas

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