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#148: Józef Brach — Gethsemane at the church of St. Barbara in Krakow


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Józef Brach - Polish painter from the beginning of the 20th century. An artist popular in the interwar period, well-known on the Polish antique market. He most often used the watercolor technique in his works. In his paintings you can see inspiration from painting, among others: Bronisława Rychter-Janowska. He most often painted landscapes with staffage and architecture. He traveled around Poland, his works include landscapes from the Baltic Sea, Polesie and Lesser Poland (mainly Krakow architecture).

Gethsemane at the church of St. Barbara in Krakow is built of stone (formerly probably polychrome red) on an irregular hexagonal plan, matching the external architecture of the church. The chapel is sandwiched between the central and north-west buttresses of the façade. Outside, the building is open with three arcades supported by corbels and squat pillars resting on a prominent three-part plinth. One of the brackets (near the porch) is decorated with a bust of an angel in a dalmatic holding a shield with a White Eagle. The pillars consist of polygonal bases and low shafts in a spiral arrangement, and are decorated with rhomboid recesses resembling crystal. Above, between the arcades, there are decorative phials with canopy niches (where sculptures once stood) with corbels with plant decorations; below, in the fields, there are reliefs of massive, gnarled branches on withering stems. At the base of one of the phials (at the entrance arcade), at the foot of the stem, two carved mice are visible. Plant motifs in the form of dried leaves decorate the outer frames of the arcades, which take the form of a donkey's back topped with a flower. In the low triangular gables, incomplete sculptural decoration consists of a shield with the Nowina coat of arms (above the northern arcade) and the Lamb of God with a cross and a banner; two lions lie at his feet. The chapel consists of two bays, covered with a cross-ribbed vault, which rest on supports in the form of two gnawing lizards, a dried plant twig and empty coats of arms. On the keys of the vaults there are keystones in the form of coats of arms, one with a skull and two crossbones, the other with the Arma Christi supported by two angels.

On the plan of a lying rectangle, the artist depicted the church of St. Barbara in Krakow in winter scenery. The church was presented in a fragmentary way. In the main plan, the painter showed one of the most interesting architectural elements of this building, namely the Gethsemane Chapel next to the church. The watercolor was painted exquisitely, you can admire a large number of details that make up this pearl of Krakow architecture. In addition to the realistic reflection of the chapel itself, thanks to the skillful use of light, the painter managed to perfectly capture the mood of noon on a winter day in this work.

Parameters and state of preservation
Watercolor on paper glued to plywood. Dimensions: 49x34 cm. Dimensions including frame: 65x50 cm. ld. signature "J. Brach." The work is behind glass, framed in an original, richly decorated wooden frame from the period. The watercolor and frame are in good condition. The frame has some defects and cracks, visible in the attached photos.



State: used

Condition: good

Period: 1930–1939

Dimensions: 48x33 cm

Signature: signed ld "J. Brach"

Support material: watercolor on paper

Delivery and payment:

Delivery cost: 50 zł (Kurier)

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