Revival of a star. Matejko's Copernicus and history painting today

Jan Matejko’s ‘Astronomer Copernicus’ (1873) was, in some ways, the dying star of history painting. 

Jan Matejko “Astronomer Copernicus or Conversation with God”, 1873

While the painting was and remains iconic, the genre waned in the decades following its creation. Yet, Matejko’s star burns bright to this day and the legacy of history painting continues in some contemporary art.

Christopher Riopelle, curator of ‘Conversations with God: Jan Matejko’s Copernicus’ in The National Gallery joins guest speakers including art critic Waldemar Januszczak and Andrzej Szczerski, Director of the National Museum in Kraków, to discuss the impact of Matejko’s painting on the Polish cultural imagination, the current revival of Matejko beyond Poland, and the continuing relevance of history painting, past and present, for illuminating current events.

Christopher Riopelle is the Neil Westreich Curator of Post 1800 Paintings. He previously held curatorial positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, California. He has curated many exhibitions, including ‘Gauguin’s Portraits’ (2019), ‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’ (2019), ‘Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire’ and ‘Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire’ (2018), and ‘Australia’s Impressionists’ (2017).

Waldemar Januszczak is Britain’s most distinguished art critic. Formerly the art critic of The Guardian, he now writes for The Sunday Times, and has twice won the Critic of the Year award. Renowned for his feisty opinions, Waldemar has been making television art films for many years, as both presenter and director. Since 1997, he has run his own production company ZCZ Films.

This event is organised in association with the Polish Hearth Society and is supported by The Polish Cultural Institute.

The online meeting takes place on 3 June 2021 at 6.30 – 8.15 pm BST.


Registration link:

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