Rafał Hadziewicz
Portrait of Julia Hadziewicz, mother of the artist, c. 1860
Gift of the artist’s wife, 1887

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 63 × 60 cm

description: One of the best examples of Rafał Hadziewicz’s oeuvre is a portrait of his mother, Julia (Julianna?) Hadziewicz, née Dekańska. A Latin inscription visible in the top left corner reads: “My son painted me in Warsaw, at my age of seventy six.” The representation is rendered in the style of seventeenth-century Dutch bourgeois portrait painting, in particular the works of Rembrandt. The old lady sitting at the table in a dark interior is portrayed half-length, en face. The glasses she is holding in her hand, an open book and extremely plain clothes symbolize her modesty, wisdom and diligence. The foreground is built up by well-represented still life. The viewer’s attention is drawn to the carefully modelled, gentle face and hands of the sitter. The austere black of her clothes and headgear is relieved by the white of the collar. The work has a restricted colour range with a characteristic, warm tonality, popularly referred to as the “museum” tonality. The excellent realist technique is combined with a desire to capture the inner, spiritual life of the sitter, who belonged to the artist’s closest family. Aleksandra Krypczyk

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

key: Realism, polish impressionism, beginnings of symbolism >>>

© 2010 National Museum in Krakow
design & concept: creator.pl