Peter Stachiewicz (1858-1938) graduated from the Lviv Polytechnic and the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, including Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, and then continued his studies at the Munich Academy with Oliver Seitz. He also visited Paris, Italy, and Holland. He became the head of the Art Department of the Higher Courses for Women named after A. Baraniecki in Krakow. He contributed to the creation of a museum dedicated to Matejka in his former home. He was also the president of the committee for the construction of the A. Grottger monument. Since 1900 he has been the Vice President of the Society of Friends of Fine Arts in Krakow and, since 1911, the President of the Universal Association of Fine Artists. He illustrated books and magazines, but his greatest recognition came from his paintings. He depicted religious themes and those taken from folk legends, which he often portrayed in multi-piece cycles *. In 1896 Peter Stachiewicz created a series of 22 paintings illustrating “Quo Vadis” by Henryk Sienkiewicz **. The collection was well received by the audience. It was presented from 1902, and was created before the novel was finished. The artist was recognized as the “favorite painter” of the writer ***. He illustrated, among others: “Trilogy”, “Without Dogma”, “The Połaniecki Family”. In 1902, “Quo Vadis” was printed for the first time with his 20 illustrations. It was done again in 1910. Thanks to the efforts of Edward Aleksander Raczyński in Munich, a “folio of 22 lithographs in Chinese cardboard” *** was also published. In 1905, the collection was presented at the Poznań Society of Friends of Fine Arts.
Description of the painting:
Edward Aleksander also bought for his Rogalin collection the work of Peter Stachiewicz, created in Munich in 1905, entitled “Act”. It shows a nude, sitting young woman. Her body was lit from the right, from the top. The arrangement of the shadows spread on it and the position taken by the model may suggest that natural sunlight is falling on her. The woman was shown in a very relaxed, slightly leaning position. She sits with her legs outstretched on the floor, the ground. She folded her right hand a little above the ankle. She holds her left hand bent between her thighs. The face turns towards the striped cat next to her. She has her hair tied up in a bun. Individual strands of hair flow freely on her naked neck and forehead. The external parts of her body illuminated were emphasized. It contrasts with the shaded, inner triangle formed by the line of the right thigh, right forearm and right side of the torso with a clearly outlined breast line.
The connection of the female act with the animalistic image opens up a wide field of interpretation regarding the issue of determinism, senses and instincts ruling human life, naturalness, and what seems to be the key issue of distinguishing between nudity and eroticism.