Escape of Maryna Mniszech

Date: 1882
Media: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 50 x 75 cm
Rempex Auction House, Warsaw, 132 Aukcja Sztuki Dawnej i Antyków, cat. 256 (105,000 złotych)
Escape of Maryna Mniszech


This is a rare example of an historical theme in the art of Leon Wyczółkowski. The painting depicts Maryna Mniszech and her two-year-old son, Tsarevich Ivan, hiding in the snow from the army of the newly elected Tsar Michael Romanov. Ivan was the son of False Dmitry II and was nicknamed “Ivashka the Little Thief”.

Wyczółkowski painted the first version of this subject (now lost) in 1877, when he was working in Jan Matejko's studio and still under his influence. He appears to have liked the composition, as he painted a watercolour version, which was then used for a woodcut reproduced in the weekly illustrated magazine Kłosy in 1878.

Wyczółkowski returned to the subject of Maryna Mniszech in 1882, creating a slightly different version in this work, the whereabouts of which was unknown until 2008. The catalogue of the Wyczółkowski exhibition at the Muzeum Narodowe in Krakow only mentions this composition, which is mistakenly dated to 1881.

For more information on this work in the catalogue of the exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Leon Wyczółkowski, see K. Kulig-Janarek & W. Milewska, Leon Wyczółkowski. 1852–1936. W 150. rocznicę urodzin artysty [Exhibition Catalogue at the National Museum in Krakow], Krakow, 2003, p. 72.

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