This photo is from my 2019 visit to the city’s National Museum in Poznan, I was looking back on the huge heap of images I have that I never did anything with. This one is actually quite forward thinking.
It’s a portrait of Weronika Piędzicka(nee Szczawińska) with her son Alojzy, painted by Józef Faworski in around 1790. For three years the artist painted members of this family, in what the gallery notes is “an earthy style”, which really means that he didn’t try and sex them up a bit. Instead, the aim is not to show fake natural beauty, but to show a reality, focusing on the personality and, in this case, the motherly bond of the woman in the artwork. They add that it isn’t perhaps as technically developed as some western painters at the time, which seems an entirely fair point, but that it’s important as it’s an early artwork of a non-Royal member of society.
Apparently it was the habit at the time of depicting children as small things with grown-up faces which apparently Faworski didn’t do, although I have some slight doubts. And, I like that the artist seemingly shoved a little still life selection at the front to show his artistic prowess. But, I rather like the whole underlying tone here that this is an eighteenth century artwork which is all about showing the real person, and not a fake personality. Here we are nearly 250 years on and famous people still have their images tinkered about with using Photoshop to remove their blemishes. Józef Faworski, an artist ahead of his time.