New Gallery of Polish Kings and Princes

New Gallery of Polish Kings and Princes. Świerzy versus Matejko

May 19 – July 19, 2015

The Former Gallery of Decorative Art

The New Gallery of Polish Kings and Princes. Świerzy versus Matejko exhibition gives the public the opportunity to see for the first time a series of 49 portraits of Polish kings and princes painted by Waldemar Świerzy.

The New Gallery of Polish Kings and Princes project was initiated by Andrzej Pągowski in 2003. As part of the initiative, Professor Waldemar Świerzy, a distinguished Polish graphic designer and portrait artist, and co-founder of the Polish School of Poster Art, painted 49 portraits of Polish rulers, based on the most recent historical knowledge.

The series of portraits commonly – albeit not necessarily rightly – associated with Jan Matejko has been the ideal of images of Polish kings and princes up to this time. The portraits painted by Matejko were actually drawings in black and white, adjusted to the printing methods of the times. Later they were coloured or other artists painted their own portraits modelled on the collection.

The collection has been reprinted in textbooks, on postage stamps and countless postcards as well as in various other publications for many years. It should be noted, however, that for many people, especially young ones who have grown up with MTV and modern graphic art, the series may seem archaic in its form.

This is the reason why we decided to produce modern portraits of Polish kings and princes together with an educational part written in accessible language. The portraits were painted by Professor Waldemar Świerzy, an outstanding graphic designer and lately the most prominent author of portraits of Poles, including distinguished actors and directors, Pope John Paul II, Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Krzysztof Penderecki and Maria Curie-Skłodowska, as well as the excellent Great Jazzmen series.

The portraits were painted with the use of reference materials prepared on the basis of the most recent historical findings. The artist strove to remain faithful to the historical reality of a given period, but his main goal was to convey the character and emotions of a particular ruler.

The New Gallery is supposed to show young people in particular to whom they owe their current place in Europe.

We plan to promote the New Gallery through publishing houses, both commercial and educational.

The exhibition juxtaposes the original portraits by Świerzy with the reproductions of 42 portraits in pencil by Matejko. Additionally, the educational part exhibits collections of coins, banknotes, postage stamps and envelopes with images of Polish rulers as well as 5 original portraits by Jan Matejko, borrowed from the National Museum in Wrocław. We also plan to show the exhibition in other Polish cities.

The expressive images painted by Waldemar Świerzy and the vivid descriptions of the appearance of the rulers provide the audience with the opportunity to take a new, unconventional look at the history of our country.

PKO BP bank is the patron of the exhibition.

Waldemar Świerzy>

Visit exhibition's official website and Facebook fanpage

Opening hours:

Monday - Saturday: 10.00 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 11.00 – 6 pm

On June 4 the exhibition is closed for public

Free entry – on the basis of a ticket to the Castle Route or a free admission ticket issued at the Ticket Office (for those who want to visit only the exhibition).