From 20 May, visitors to the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice have an opportunity to see an exhibition titled ‘Searching for Arkadia‘. Here are a few examples why it’s a #mustsee 😉
1. It is a presentation of nearly the entire collection of Henryk Siemiradzki’s works from the B. G. Woźnicki Lviv National Art Gallery . The collection constitutes one of the most valuable holdings of works by the Polish academic painter preserved in museum collections.
2. It is a display of works of exceptional beauty, intimate and romantic in their expression. The most significant among them is a group of genre scenes outdoors, idylls. They represent a trend in Siemiradzki’s art which was less known in Poland though equally important as his monumental canvases in the ‘grand style’. Thus the exhibition in the Painting Studio creates an opportunity to gain further knowledge of the author of ‘Nero’s Torches’.
3. It resembles the little-known, youthful genre scenes painted by Henry Siemiradzki in Ukraine.
4. Thanks to two oil sketches presented at the exhibition (for his painting titled ‘Castaway’, 1878, and ‘Scene by a Well’, 1890), it gives us an opportunity to have a closer look at the painter’s technique and the early stages of creation of his works.
5. The atmosphere of the exhibition design refers to the layouts of exhibitions in the second half of the 19th century – Henryk Siemiradzki frequently designed the displays of his works himself and attached great importance to their artistic presentation.
6. The study titled ‘Greek Women’ (1900) presented at the exhibition constitutes a synthesis of artistic harmony and classic beauty.
7. It allows viewers to rest, inviting them to partake of the Arcadian scenery of light genre scenes from the lives of the ancient, and takes them on a journey to the sunny and incredibly picturesque Italian landscape, encouraging them to take a siesta…
These are only a few reasons why you should see the exhibition. Perhaps you’ll be able to find others?
Beata Studziżba-Kubalska – art historian, NMK curator. Specializes in 19th-century and turn-of-the-century Polish art, curator of the exhibition ‘In Search for Arcadia’
 The exhibition does not feature Siemiradzki’s monumental curtain for the Lviv Opera House (1900), and the painting which was a copy of ‘Bathing Woman’ – a composition by a Russian painter Timothy Neff – created by Siemiradzki in 1869.
Main photo by Karol Kowalik – Photography studio, NMK