Lifelong Learning Programme

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Art Sources Review

Title of Product:

The Coffin Portrait as the special spot of the Polish Baroque

Country: Poland
Century: 1600 - The 17th Century
Topic: The Coffin Portrait as the special spot of the Polish Baroque
Image of the product:

Name of Author(s): Jan Uryga
Name of Producer: Net information source: “”
Language/s of Product: Polish
Target Group: General audience
Overall Evaluation: excellent
Availability of community:
Objectives & Structure:
Aspects to consider:
- The Website demonstrates the specific social and cultural background of the recorded phenomenon.
- Students find and distinguish the novelty of the art dictated by social background, aspiration and the context of the recipients and participants
- The extra additive exclusiveness within the epoch, the social artistic effigy’s exploration mirrored in the epoch’s cultural& social habits, etc.
- Possibility of constructing a phenomenon’s exposure starting from the rules through patterns, ceremony and exposition itself

Description of contents:
The Polish coffin portraits were made mainly on the tin. That kind of painting was mostly popular among the Polish Noblesse in XVII amd XVIII centuries. The shape of the portrait was compatible with the side of a coffin. That was the point because during the funeral ceremonies the portraits were set on the side of the dead person's head. The opposite part possessed an epitafy, and the back sides had the crest shields. The oldest known coffin portrait in Poland was the portrait of the King Stefan Batory from the end of XVI century.
The coffin portrait – so popular in the Polish Republic of the Two Nations was a specific medium of expression within the art of the European Baroque. It was strictly connected with the so called ideology of the Sarmatian genesis’s expressible constitution, glorifying the exceptional Noblesse's role in Poland. The usual portrait painting was serving the rich city dwellers, while the coffin portraits belonged to the Noblesse's domain. The important information is that the defined as the Noblesse- citizens' range had an exclusive right to possess such expositions.
The coffin portrait methodologically was set within the castrum doloris (the castle of pain) motive- the typical for the Polish Baroque pompous funeral ceremony- the extraordinary in the scale of the Baroque’s radiating expressions. The central role was fulfilled by the place of the dead person's exposure. In that place there was set a dead person's effigy together with a coffin in grave's crypt. It played a role of the honourable and memorable portrait of the epitaph type. The realism of the whole scenery was arising when the empirically presented dead person dressed in his best clothes seemed to listen to the panegyric speeches spoken aloud in his companionship.
As a rule, the coffin portraits had 8 sides' shape. Their sizes amounted about 40x45 centimetres. In XVIII century, their sizes were bigger- 70x72 centimetres. From the portrait painted during the life, a dead person's bust was copied. A painter was required to adjust realism, a precise similarity, not idealization. Often, the artists succeeded in catching vivid features of character: in men's case- their majesty, pride, vanity, rather than consideration and peace. At women's case there were observable smiles, grace, flirtatious glance, etc. The portraits are a rich treasure of knowledge about our ancestors- there are not two identical ones.

The authors of the portraits by and large were remaining anonymous. It referred to more local and more global artists. In the years 1690-1710, the ability of modelling a diaroscuro and the abundant palette of colours led to the highest level of the mastery within that peculiar artistic phenomenon.
Evaluation and Comments:
Overall Evaluation: excellent
Clarity of structure, logical sequence of contents: excellent
Usability / easiness of navigation: excellent
The website is interesting / stimulating: excellent
Educational and learning value: excellent
Quality and relevancy of content: excellent
Compatibility of the content with the target group: excellent
Suitability and quality of graphic interface: good
Degree and quality of interaction: excellent
Exploitation of the electronic potential: excellent
Availability and quality of simulation exercises: good
Quality of the evaluation tools: good
Possibility of printing/saving material or tests: good
Description of how the website can be used with the students::
- The students find the trends of the expressible mannerism, its social and cultural background, and the individual size of the dedication within the art
- The students can value the models of the artefacts in the hierarchy of the expressed and defined in its roots nobility, the contradiction aside the illumination of spirit
Evaluation Date: 01.09.2008.
Name of teacher: Antoni Woźniak
Name of School: LO Number 3
Country: Poland
Subjects Taught: Fine Arts

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