Maurycy Gottlieb (Drohobytch, 1856 – Cracovie, 1879), Autoportrait, 1879
Maurycy Gottlieb (Drohobych, 1856 – Kraków, 1879)
Oil on canvas, 23 x 17.7 cm
When Maurycy Gottlieb died aged only twenty-three, he was already one of the leading lights of Polish painting and had produced some three hundred works. He trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from the age of sixteen then in Kraków, and when he was only twenty he was awarded a prize in Munich for his picture Shylock and Jessica (1876), no longer in existence. Torn between Judaism and Polish nationalism, he portrayed himself in Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur (1878) and in two monumental pictures he never finished, Christ Preaching at Capernaum and Christ Before His Judges (1877-1879).