Still Life with Vatnik and Helmet

Janusz Kaczmarski

  • type of object: painting
  • date: 1975
  • material/technique: oil on canvas
  • dimensions: 121,5 x 80 cm
  • inventory No.: M-143
  • image licensed under: CC BY-SA

The depiction is part of the long tradition of still lifes composed using objects from daily life, but because of the choice of objects, it escapes this painting genre and takes on a critical meaning. The painting uses the colloquial ‘imaginarium’ of a labourer’s workshop: work clothes composed of a quilted working jacket, a so-called vatnik, a protective helmet and felt rubber boots. An important semantic and compositional element that brings a dynamic to the painting is the spade — one of the most basic and at the same time stereotypical labourer’s tools. The purely painterly values of Kaczmarski’s canvas that respect the long tradition of realism— colour, light and shadows — is noteworthy. Vanitas connotations can be found here, linking the painted objects to a man who has left, leaving his things behind. The political nature of the work is hidden, among other things, in the circumstances of its creation and the social mood of the time, when the dignity of the working people was not a priority for the communist authorities.

Michał Jachuła

translated by Paulina Bożek


Image published as part of the Operational Programme Digital Poland: Open Zachęta financed by European Funds

Other works by artist in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Untitled
    UntitledJanusz Kaczmarski1967
  • Zdjęcie pracy Curtain
    CurtainJanusz Kaczmarski1973
  • Zdjęcie pracy Interior X
    Interior XJanusz Kaczmarski1973
  • Zdjęcie pracy Interior with Workman’s Jacket and Helmet
    Interior with Workman’s Jacket and HelmetJanusz Kaczmarski1975
  • Zdjęcie pracy Contemporary Gear
    Contemporary GearJanusz Kaczmarski1975
  • Zdjęcie pracy Still Life 16/48
    Still Life 16/48Janusz Kaczmarski1976
  • Zdjęcie pracy Still Life 8/76
    Still Life 8/76Janusz Kaczmarski1976
  • Zdjęcie pracy Painting with a Black Apple
    Painting with a Black AppleJanusz Kaczmarski1977
  • Zdjęcie pracy
    Janusz Kaczmarski1977
  • Zdjęcie pracy
    Janusz Kaczmarski1978
  • Zdjęcie pracy
    Janusz Kaczmarski1978
  • Zdjęcie pracy Interior with Open Door
    Interior with Open DoorJanusz Kaczmarski1978
  • Zdjęcie pracy The Red Armchair
    The Red ArmchairJanusz Kaczmarski1978

Other works from this category

  • Zdjęcie pracy Gołebiarz
    GołebiarzHalina Centkiewicz-Michalska
  • Zdjęcie pracy Still Life
    Still LifeStanisław Poznański1973
  • Zdjęcie pracy
    Piotr Janas2006