Jan Matejko

Polish, 1838-1893

Jan Matejko was a leading Polish artist born in Kraków at the end of the Romantic era in the nineteenth century. His works are an example of the Realism movement, which was a reaction to romantic art motivated by emotions and imagination rather than an accurate depiction of contemporary life. Matejko was a historical painter who focused on delivering a vivid and detailed picture of Polish history’s most significant events. Jan lived and worked when Poland did not exist as a sovereign state after Russia, Prussia, and Austria seized the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth territory for 123 years. Throughout his career’s aim at the history painting genre, Matejko reminded Polish people of their greatness, thus inspired the nation to strive for independence.

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