In a strike of insanity, I decided to visit the National Museum in Warsaw on the coldest day of polish winter. It was worth the pain but I nearly suffered from hypothermia while waiting for the trams to arrive.
I bought a ticket for the permanent exposition which cost me 20 zlotych. If you want to visit the temporary collections, you will have to pay 5 zlotych more which is a small sum. The Museum has six permanent collections that are spread on its three floors :
- Faras Gallery, featuring medieval Nubian paintings
- Gallery of Medieval Art, featuring works of ecclesiastical nature from the Late Middle Ages in Poland and Eastern Europe
- Gallery of Old Masters, featuring European and old Polish Arts, Paintings and Nature from the 15-18 century
- Gallery of 19th Century Art
- Gallery of 20th and 21st Century Art
- Gallery of Polish Design, featuring design pieces from early 20th Century
Let’s start with the Faras Gallery.
I noticed that there were a lot of paintings of Virgin and Child. Even though the paintings were smudged in some parts, you can tell that the colors were once very vivid.
Here is a painting of Mary and Jesus from Southern Germany, 15th Century. It’s interesting to look at their representations in different age and culture.
I imagine that the gallery of Medieval Art would speak more to a religious audience or at least to someone who has basic notions of Bible.
The Gallery of 19th Century Art was my favorite part of the museum. I found a new appreciation for painting when I started painting myself. Now that I understand a bit better the challenges of the craft, small details and harmony of colors on all these canvases leave me in awe.
Here are some paintings that struck a chord with me :
It’s seemingly a straightforward painting but the more you look at it the more layers you find. Also, I find the contrast between the cold colors in the background and the lady’s red clothes quite satisfying.
I love Siemiradzki’s work of light and shadow in this painting. I love how the sunrays seep through whatever is casting a shadow on those girls. An idyllic scene that radiates with peace.
I have no idea who Recha and Nathan and what their roles are. I like how the painter used muted colors and yet we still manage to detect subtle hues. Not too much, not too little.
Photos don’t give paintings justice but this one got really butchered. However, I still wanted to put it in this post because it is one of my favorites. The warm tones and the haziness of the scenery make me think of a sleepy afternoon.
I like how in this painting, none of the characters interact with each other. None of them look in the same direction. A dozen of persons are huddled together and yet they all look lonely and beaten down. It’s not a cheerful Sunday that they’re having down in the Mine.