0207 Public Commemoration, Modern National Identity and the Crisis of Neoclassicism – The Case of Early Nineteenth-Century 'Resurrected' Poland

  • Mikołaj Getka-Kenig (Author)

    Mikołaj Getka-Kenig, b. 1987, studied history and art history at the University of Warsaw and at The Courtauld Institute of Art, and received his doctoral degree at the Department of History at the University of Warsaw in 2016. Since then he worked at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and the Institute of Art History at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He is a laureate of the START scholarship programme of the Foundation for Polish Science (twice), and scholarships granted by the Lanckoroński Foundation, Francis Haskell Memorial Trust and Clifford and Mary Corbridge Trust at Robinson College, University of Cambridge. For his doctoral dissertation he received the SHS Fr. Szczęsny Dettloff award. He is a member of the Polish Association of Art Historians (SHS) and of the Polish Society for the Research on the 18th Century. He published his texts in: Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, Folia Historiae Artium, Kwartalnik Historyczny, Classical Receptions Journal and Garden History. Recently, he published a book titled Pomniki publiczne i dyskurs zasługi w dobie “wskrzeszonej” Polski lat 1807–1830 (Kraków, Universitas, 2017).

Identifiers (Article)


The years between 1815 and 1830 constitute an important period in the history of Poles as a modern national community. During these years, the traditional way of thinking about Poles as a nation of nobles was gradually giving way to a more democratic vision. This socio-political transformation coincided with the development of Neoclassicism in the fine arts. However, the artistic canon of ideal forms appreciated by academics and aristocratic art lovers alike proved too hermetic for modern artistic enterprises such as public monuments of heroes cherished by the masses. This article investigates two such monuments: Bertel Thorvaldsen’s equestrian statue of prince Józef Poniatowski in Warsaw, and the monument to national hero Tadeusz Kościuszko in Cracow.


classicism, monument, equestrian statue, Józef Poniatowski, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Warsaw, social art history, romanticism, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Kościuszko Mound, Krakow