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A Work of Art Depicting the Story of an Actual Life Event Essay

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2022

It has always been a popular technique for artists to paint pictures that reflect actual events throughout the ages. It was not so simple – through the canvas, the artist had to reflect the spirit of that time and the emotional background of a particular event. The Polish artist Jan Matelko in his painting “The Constitution of May 3, 1791,” portrayed the excitement of the period, its main historical figures, and perception of the events.

“The Constitution of May 3 1791” was created for the centenary of the adoption of the first Polish Constitution, and it takes us into the atmosphere of that time. The plot revolves around the passage of the Sejm ambassadors to St. Yana. The creators and supporters of the Constitution move down the street towards the church, surrounded by a crowd cheering them on. King Stanisław August Poniatowski leads the procession. Jan has accurately captured the people’s reaction as they joyfully accept the news of the adoption of the new Constitution. The accuracy of the historical context is further enhanced by the fact that the painting depicts many historical personalities who were directly involved in the process.

Among the participants of the historical event, there are figures of commentary – images designed to emphasize the author’s attitude towards the events. In the painting, two such figures have been found: a gesticulating old Jewish woman and the priest Hofbauer. These figures show the artist’s critical attitude towards the event depicted. Matejko was, in fact, a staunch conservative, an opponent of the provisions of the Constitution. (Burke, 2001). Therefore, the artist managed to introduce his vision into the reflection of a historical event.

References

Matejko, J. (1891). Constitution of 3 May 1791 [painting]. Dom Jana Matejki, Krakow, Poland. Web.

Burke, P. (2017). Illustrating National history. Palgrave Macmillan, London. Web.

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IvyPanda. "A Work of Art Depicting the Story of an Actual Life Event." July 17, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-work-of-art-depicting-the-story-of-an-actual-life-event/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "A Work of Art Depicting the Story of an Actual Life Event." July 17, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-work-of-art-depicting-the-story-of-an-actual-life-event/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'A Work of Art Depicting the Story of an Actual Life Event'. 17 July.

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