Marcello Bacciarelli (1731–1818)
Self-Portrait in a Polish National Costume, after 1787
Gift of Wiktor Osławski, 1892

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 72 x 57,5 cm

description: Apart from works commissioned by the king and other clients, Bacciarelli also painted self-portraits. In these paintings, he portrayed himself as an artist and as a person. Self-Portrait in the Polish National Costume is one of the most outstanding works produced in the period when the artist achieved the highest mastery of form and when his works acquired the most individual character. This work was painted after the artist’s return from his home Italy, in specific political circumstances. At that time, Stanisław August Poniatowski started cooperation with the reform party with a view to repairing the political system of Poland. A Polish square-topped cap on Bacciarelli’s head alludes to the patriotic feeling of the time, at the same time demonstrating his own views. The king wanted the distinguished artist to become attached to Poland. In 1768, when Bacciarelli decorated the Royal Castle, the king ennobled him and granted him a small estate in the capital. The artist received a certificate of nobility three years later, after he had successfully completed a series of portraits of Polish monarchs in the Marble Room. With time, Poland became his second homeland. He never left it, even after the death of his royal patron. The artist died in Warsaw, on January 5, 1818. Barbara Ciciora

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Enlightenment >>>

© 2010 National Museum in Krakow
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