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Aleksander Kotsis (1836-1877). Shades of Realism - artykul - VisitMalopolska

Aleksander Kotsis (1836-1877). Shades of Realism

Fragment płótna autorstwa Aleksandra Kotsisa przedstawiający zachodzące słońce
Born in Ludwinów near Kraków and living in Podgórze, Aleksander Kotsis was one of the most valued Polish painters working in the mid-19th century. His work is associated with artistic circles in Kraków, Vienna and Munich. Kotsis' art represents the direction of nineteenth-century realism, and its analogies can be found in the works of the so-called painters of the people, e.g. Jean-François Millet (1814-1875). It is also worth noting its notion of romantic perception of the world. Kotsis was inspired by the shades of everyday life in Galician towns and the villages of Małopolska and Podhale: human joys and afflictions, the tragedy of the existence of the poor and the excluded, the tenderness and transience of interpersonal relations and children's curiosity about the world. The beauty of the landscape near Kraków and the Tatra Mountains further south was also an important source of the artist's fascination.

The exhibition at the National Museum in Krakow has been prepared for the 185th anniversary of the artist's birth.  It presents oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and sketches from private collections and from museum collections, including the National Museums in Gdańsk, Kielce, Kraków, Poznań, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław, the Silesian Museum in Katowice, the Museum of Art in Łódź and the Borys Voznytsky Lviv Art  Gallery. 

The thematic and problematic arrangement of the exhibition was inspired by the thought of Jan Cybis (1897-1972): "A Kotsis painting intrigues us because it is painted with an artistic reason at the time when artistic reason was most lost, being painted for the theme.” The main part of the exhibition is supplemented by four annexes. Kotsis' creative code provides an insight into the painter's secret techniques and technology. The next, In search of Kotsis, will give you an insight into the history of his missing works. The village as an inspiration presents examples of works reflecting Kotsis’fascination with the village and its people that many native artists active in the mid-19th century shared with him. The exhibition's closing annex, Kotsis and Social Realists, refers to the reception of the artist's art in the 1940s and ‘50s, showing it through the prism of the top-down, politicized direction of social realism which was imposed from above.

Aleksandra Krypczyk-De Barra