Description of the artwork «Stanchik (Court jester Stanislav Guska)»
Painting "Stanchik" Jana Matejko often serves as an illustration to articles on romanticism in art: the experience of the main character is shown by the artist in an unusually expressive manner.
"Stanchik" (the full name of the picture - "Stanchik at the court of Queen Bona after the capture of Smolensk") - one of the first art historical works by Jan Matejko. The canvas was written in 1862, its author was only 24 years old. Stanchik is a historical person: he was a court jester of the great princes of Lithuania and the kings of Polish Alexander Jagellon, Sigismund I of Old and Sigismund II Augustus. According to scanty data, his real name is Stanislav Gusa, or Stanislav Wassota. He was born around 1480 in the village of Proshovitsy not far from Krakow, and he was called Stanchik by cutting the name "Stanislav".
Having come to court, Stanchik became a royal jester, he did not climb into his pocket and quickly became a popular person. Wit and clarity of thinking, coupled with peculiar "official duties" allowed Stanchik not only to mercilessly criticize kings and courtiers, but also to occupy a rather privileged position in Wawel Castle.
However, in the picture we see a sad jester: Jan Matejko captured his Stanchik at the moment when he mourns the defeat of the Lithuanian army near Smolensk. This is evidenced by the word "Smolensk" and the Roman numerals "1514", depicted on the letter just read. The most important fortress in the east is lost, it was captured by the troops of the Moscow prince Vasily III, but it seems that no one cares except the jester. It is unlikely that Stanczyk himself opened an important letter - it was made by one of the nobles, perhaps Queen Bona herself (recall the full title of the picture). Behind the slightly open doors to the right are the figures of the courtiers - there is a merry ball. And only Stanchik, throwing his foolish caduceus on the floor, reflects on the future of the state and its gloomy prospects. The anxiety of the moment Matejko emphasizes, depicting in the window to the left a flying comet - a harbinger of wars and troubled times. Also, the light that falls on the Stanczyk figure does not have a visible source - perhaps it is the "light of truth" - "luh veritatis".
The look of the character, full of pain and anxiety, is the look of the author of the picture, Jan Matejko, who "copied" the image of Stanchik from his own appearance. He will depict his face more than once: almost immediately after "Stanchik" the artist began work on the picture "The preaching of Skargi" (completed in 1864), where the image of the central figure is also a self-portrait. Representing himself in the role of buffoon, witty, quick at caustic words, or a priest angrily preaching from the altar, Matejka thereby emphasizes the spirit of national patriotism, living in his heart, identifies himself with his heroes. Love for Poland, where Mateiko's family of emigrants found a real Motherland, was real and sincere. Yang's two older brothers took part in the revolutionary events of the "Spring of the Peoples" in 1848, and another older brother, Franciszek Matejko, a historian by education, instilled interest in the past and folk traditions. And Krakow itself with its medieval architecture, the Royal Castle and the tombs of Polish rulers promoted the fascination with national patriotic ideas.
Painting "Stanchik" clearly shows that Jan Matejko studied the principle of work Fields of Delaroche and his student Carla Theodora von Piloti - to depict the most dramatic moment of a historical event on the canvas, awakens the maximum emotion in viewers.
The bright personality of Stanchik, the jester and true patriot, inspired not only the painter: he was given due credit to Polish writers in his works on historical themes. And the political grouping, which operated in Galicia in the middle of the 19th century and advocated the improvement of the Poles' life under the occupation of Austria, chose the name "Stanchiki" for itself.