Jakub Tatarkiewicz
Fainting Psyche, 1830
Gift of Stefan Ciecierski, 1883

material: marble

dimensions: 68 x 104 x 67 cm


The feelings of Cupid, the Roman counterpart of the Greek God Eros, for his beloved Psyche is a motif which stems from ancient mythology and became a widely popular theme at the turn of the 19th century among neo-classicists who shared a passion for Antiquity. One of the artists who chose this as a theme for their work was Jakub Tatarkiewicz. Having received a scholarship to study in Rome, Tatarkiewicz studied under Bertel Thorvaldsen, a brilliant representative of neoclassicism. In 1828, the Polish artist created a study for a sculpture which was a reference both to the ancient tradition of representing Psyche as a winged woman, and to the ancient myth itself. He depicted the moment when Psyche, abandoned by Cupid, swoons, succumbing to desperation. The witness of her recklessness – an olive lamp lies next to her. In 1829 Tatarkiewicz used the study to create a marble sculpture and one year later he put it on display at an exhibition in Warsaw, together with his other Roman works. He became known to the Polish public as a brilliant classicist, whose sculptures stand out through their clarity and static arrangement, smooth lines, clear contours and subtle modelling.

Barbara Ciciora

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

key: Enlightenment >>>

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