Portrait of Einstein
- type of object: painting
- date: 1980
- material/technique: oil on plywood
- dimensions: 74 x 70 cm
- inventory No.: M-195
- image licensed under: CC BY-SA
Portrait of Einstein dates from 1980, the same year as a portrait of the creator of the theory of relativity by leading pop art figure Andy Warhol (as part of the Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century series). In addition, both artists most likely used the same photograph taken by Orren Jack Turner in 1947 showing Einstein at the age of 68. Liberski’s work, who has been called a Polish pop-artist, is an iconic painting, as it depicts an iconic figure for the 20th century, looking almost like the reigning figure of God the Father in churches. The comic book-like nature of the picture took away from the reality of the portrayed figure. The artist did not depict ordinary people; he was interested in strong, charismatic personalities.
The painting was most likely painted in connection with the centenary of Albert Einstein’s birth, which fell in 1979 — Liberski was an active member of artistic life in the Polish People’s Republic and often took part in competitions or anniversary exhibitions. The birthday was celebrated around the world — many stamps and commemorative coins with Einstein’s likeness were issued. The figure of this peace activist, human rights champion and socialist was an important subject of Polish socialist realist painting (as was Nicolaus Copernicus). For example, his well-known portrait, also in his characteristic poster-like manner, was painted in 1948 by Wojciech Fangor.
translated by Paulina Bożek