Arranged to honour the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frederic Chopin, the exhibition presents works by major French and Polish artists, from the Romantic period, placing the great composer and his music within the broader context of European art and culture of the first half of the 19th century.
The term iconosphere in the title refers to a wider world of images, composed of paintings, photographs, press illustrations as well as other kinds of images, which were accessible to Chopin’s contemporaries, and which the exhibition makes available to today’s audiences. The exhibition reconstructs not only the real worlds surrounding Chopin in his exile in Paris, but it presents also the major issues of Romanticism, such as the image of the Romantic hero, individual and collective, the image of the artist and his workshop, the emergence of a new perception of nature and landscape painting, and, finally, the emergence of modernity and its themes.
The exhibition includes works by the most remarkable French painters from the Romantic period, such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Eugène Delacroix, Théodore Chassériau, Paul Delaroche, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps along with the works by Polish artists of that time, including Piotr Michałowski, Henryk Rodakowski, Józef Simmler, Jan Matejko, Artur Grottger and Teofil Kwiatkowski.
There are a total of almost 200 works on display, from various museums and institutions, both Polish and foreign. An extensive collection of the National Museum in Warsaw constitutes the core of the exhibition, a substantial part of the exhibits comes from National Museums in Cracow, Poznań and Wrocław as well as from the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw. For the benefit of the exhibition many renowned French museums, such as the Louvre, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée Carnavalet and Musée National Eugène Delacroix in Paris, Musée Ingres in Montauban and Musée Farbe in Montpellier have lent their invaluable collections, and so have Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo and the Dutch Ary Scheffer Museum in Dordrechts Museum. The exhibition features also artworks from The Princes Czartoryski Foundation, Cracow, The Raczyński Foundation at the National Museum in Warsaw, Poznań, The Ciechanowiecki Foundation at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, The Pełkinie Foundation of Princes Czartoryski and from private collections in the UK and Poland.
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