Copernicus by Jan Matejko at the National Gallery in London

Date: 21-05-2021 - 22-08-2021 Hour: 10:00

Event place: National Gallery

Exhibition “Conversations with God: Copernicus” by Jan Matejko will be launched at the National Museum in London on May 21st (the exhibition has been postponed because of the lockdown).

Jan Matejko’s (1838–1893) epic painting ‘Astronomer Copernicus’ unites two of Poland’s most famous figures.

On loan from Kraków’s historic Jagiellonian University, one of Europe’s oldest founded in the 14th century, this is the first time that we’ve exhibited a painting by a Polish artist.

Despite being largely unknown outside his homeland, Matejko is regarded as the national painter of Poland. His huge paintings, showing iconic events from Polish history, are part and parcel of Poland’s national identity.

This painting celebrates one of the most important names in the history of science, Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473—1543); known for his theory, published in 1543, which proposed the solar system with the sun at its centre and the planets orbiting around it.

Matejko painted the enormous canvas in 1873 to mark the 400th anniversary of the astronomer’s birth.

The Gallery will also be displaying a 1543 copy of Copernicus’s ‘De revolutionibus orbium coelestium’; the publication that marked a turning point in human understanding of our place in the universe.

This is a rare opportunity to see one of Poland’s most loved works of art.

WHEN: 21 May – 22 August 2021. Daily 10am–6pm (last admission 5pm). Fridays 10am–9pm (last admission 8.15pm)

WHERE: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN. Room 46



Source: Polish Cultural Institute Press Office

Image above: Jan Matejko ‘The Astronomer Copernicus. Conversations with God’, 1873

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