Winter (or La Cigale Grasshopper, winter) by Konstanty Laszczka at National Museum Warsaw, Poland

Welcome to Art, Culture & Books with me Anthony King. Today I’ll be taking you to see a sculpture by Konstanty Laszczka called Winter (or La Cigale Grasshopper, winter). It was made in 1895 and you’ll find it at The National Museum in Warsaw, Poland.

Konstanty Laszczka was a multifaceted figure—a Polish sculptor, painter, graphic artist, professor, and the Rector of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków from 1911 onwards but didn’t last long there. By the way, make sure to watch my November video on Jan Matejko’s painting “The Battle of Grunwald” to learn more about Matejko.

Konstanty Laszczka was born on 3rd September 1865 and died on 23rd March 1956 in Kraków, Laszczka actively participated in exhibitions organized by the Society of French Artists in Paris. In 1896, his submission “Winter,” also known as “La cigale – Grasshopper,” which is the subject of todays episode earned him the first prize at the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

The influence of August Rodin is unmistakable in Laszczka’s work, a connection solidified during his time living and working in Paris. Despite a modest, if not Spartan, existence, he managed to sustain himself by engaging in part-time employment working in the municipal sewer system. Studying at the Académie Julian and the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, Laszczka gained recognition and respect among high-profile intellectuals, gradually ascending through the ranks due to his talent and diligent efforts. Following the example set by his master, the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Laszczka’s work prominently reflects Rodin’s influence, particularly evident in a series of female nude studies sculpted around the turn of the century, based on symbolic themes. Laszczka’s extensive portfolio comprises over 100 sculptures, primarily portraits crafted from plaster, wood, stone, metal, and clay.

The National Museum in Warsaw, originally established in 1862 as the Museum of Fine Arts, holds a significant position as one of the oldest art museums in Poland. After Poland’s regaining of independence in 1918, the National Museum played a pivotal role in the plans for the new state and its capital city, Warsaw. The Modernist building housing the museum was erected between 1927 and 1938.

(c) Anthony King