Monday, 21 February 2011

Art quiz

With Eddie yesterday to Muzeum Narodowe, Poland's national art gallery, ostensibly to see We Want To Be Modern (Chcemy być nowocześni), the exhibition about Polish avant-garde design from 1955 to 1968. It was really thin - one room with ceramics and textiles with Picasso-inspired stuff, some posters showing architecture and industrial design, a few more bits and pieces outside and exit through the giftshop.

The point of the exhibition was to show how modern and groovy things could have been in Poland had it not been for the dull conformity and economic constraints of communism, but given my recollection from childhood of similar design style in post-Festival of Britain England, sadly the show failed to inspire me with the uniqueness of anything on show. And admission was pricy for what was on display.

Still, Eddie and I were not daunted, and as I'd not visited the MuzNar for several years, it behoved us to take a good look around the permanent exhibits. One painting (below, in the highest resolution available online) grabbed my attention.

I'm not going to give any details about this painting other than to ask you, dear reader, to guess when it was painted. More information, full details, to follow...

This time last year:
A month before spring equinox

This time two years ago:
The beauty of winter


Paddy said...

Is this an anti-Semitic painting? I have it in my mind the chap on the right looks Jewish. The objects have got to have some significance but I really can't guess at the meaning. Anyway I reckon this is 1920s.


Michael Dembinski said...

Not the 1920s, not an anti-semitic painting. Keep guessing, dear readers!

Decoy said...

I'm going to say war-time, thus around 1943. They look like they might be holding some sort of secret paper, while listening out for someone 'dropping some eaves'.

Sigismundo said...

They are examining a banknote of a type issued in Poland between the 1840s and 1860s (denominated 1 rubel srebrem = 1 silver ruble), but it's in pretty shoddy state, so I would guess towards the end of that period or slightly after it.

Certainly the style has a Victorian air to it, though you wouldn't of course call it 'Victorian' in Poland (or rather the 'Kingdom of Poland' under Russian rule as it was then).

Michael Dembinski said...

Sigismundo is closest but still quite a way out... (I had one email yesterday from a reader that was a mere five years out, but I won't spoil it just yet)

Wojtek z Brukseli said...

Mid-19th century, not later than 1850, but rather the 1840s I'd say - depsite the modern-looking facial expressions and the style of the painting.

All the best,


Michael Dembinski said...

Wojtek z Brukseli gets it right. The year - an AMAZING 1845. Like Paddy and Derek, I'd have plumped for the first half of the 20th C. The painting really appealed to me, then reading about it, the shock of just how old it was. So modern looking. The painting is called Szulerzy, it's by Feliks Pęczarski.