The National Museum in Krakow
Compiled by Agata Jabłońska, based on the materials of the National Museum in Krakow
Early Morning near the Wawel Castle (Planty Park at Dawn) (1894) by Stanislaw WyspianskiThe National Museum in Krakow
Artists from Krakow
What is it that links two representatives of the Young Poland movement with the master of historical painting?
What is it that links Stanisław Wyspiański, the writer and multifaceted artist, and Józef Mehoffer, the respected Art Nouveau artist, with Jan Matejko, older than the previous two by precisely 31 years?
Stanisław Wyspiański was born in Kraków on 15 January 1869. That same year, two months later, Józef Mehoffer came into this world in Wadowice. At that time, Jan Matejko was already well-known in the art world, among others things for works such as ‘Rejtan’ (now in the collections of the Royal Castle in Warsaw), ‘The Battle of Grunwald’ (at the National Museum in Warsaw), and ‘Stańczyk’ (NMW).
"The Dormition of Mary". Design of a quarter for the west stained glass window in Saint Mary's Church in Krakow. Work from the portfolio "Scenes from the Life of Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ" by Stanislaw WyspianskiThe National Museum in Krakow
The best students
A meeting between these three took place when Wyspiański and Mehoffer began their studies at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, the director of which at the time was Jan Matejko.
St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków
Due to their exceptional talent even as 19-year-old students, the two were engaged in the project for the restoration of Kraków parish church
... St Mary’s Church in the Kraków town square, where under the watchful eye of the master they worked on the polychrome decorations and created a stained-glass piece above the choir loft. The experience they gained bore fruit in the further works of the artists.
God the Father (1904) by Stanislaw WyspianskiThe National Museum in Krakow
Stained glass designs
In the late 1890s, Stanisław Wyspiański was involved in the creation of polychrome decorations and stained-glass pieces for the Church of St Francis in Kraków, where works such as ‘God the Father - Arise’, ‘St Francis’ and ‘Salomea’ were created.
The St. Sebastian and St. Maurice cartoon (1899) by Józef MehofferThe National Museum in Krakow
Fribourg and Lviv
Józef Mehoffer, at the young age of 25, won the competition for the creation of the St Nicholas Cathedral in Fribourg, Switzerland. Another important area of work for Mehoffer was the Armenian Cathedral in Lviv, where he designed the painted décor and mosaics.
Each of these artists worked in his own unique style, yet in the polychrome works which they created in particular a certain similarity can be detected which binds the master and his students; a rhythmic composition of small elements, often borrowed from nature or geometric, abstract decorations, as well as a similar colour palette of blues and reds.