The painting shows the interior of a church with a lone figure of a young man steeped in prayer.


  • Title: Sketch for a prayer
  • Creator: Jacek Malczewski (1854-1929)
  • Date Created: 1913
  • Physical Dimensions: 40 x 31.5 cm
  • Provenance: In the collection of the Polish Museum in Rapperswil since 1972 (a gift from Julian Godlewski from Lugano ).
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on wood
  • About the author: Jacek Malczewski, (1854 Radom – 1929 Cracow), A Polish painter, one of the main representatives of Symbolism of the turn of the 20th century. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow under Jan Matejko and Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, and, later, in Paris. In 1884, he joined a scientific expedition to Asia Minor as an illustrator. Next, he visited Greece and Italy, spent several months in Munich, and in 1886, he eventually settled in Krakow. Initially, he painted portraits and scenes from the life of common people. Later, drawing inspiration from his childhood memories and certain motifs from A. Grottger’s works, he executed a series of paintings depicting the martyrdom of Polish insurgents during the January Uprising. However, Malczewski soon began to shift towards Symbolism. His paintings, imbued with sadness and mystery, were full of symbolic figures and fantasy creatures: fauns, centaurs, chimeras and angels. He occasionally organised his paintings into series, or triptychs. His works from that period have bright, lively, sometimes dissonant colours, and are saturated with air. Malczewski moved from his early, realistic portraits to symbolic images (numerous self-portraits) in unusual costumes, often with allegorical figures, set against a backdrop of synthetically depicted Polish landscape.

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