Stańczyk by Jan Matejko, 1862

Stańczyk

It was in the Muzeum Naradowe w Warszawie where Matejko first introduced me to Stańczyk.
     ‘This is the court jester of Poland,’ he said.
Stańczyk was slumped in a chair, in a sombre room, wearing a maroon motley and solemn expression. He tossed his marotte onto the rumpled carpet and clasped his hands together.
    ‘Don’t mind him,’ said Matejko, scratching his beard. ‘You see that letter?’
I looked over at the daffodil yellow paper, which was resting on a small table.
    ‘It contains some troubling news about Smolensk, his fatherland.’
Meanwhile, in the adjacent hall, there was a celebration in full swing.
    ‘The royal family are hosting a ball for the victory at the battle of Orsha,’ Matejko said.
I turned my head and looked into the hall. It was full of fancy folk in elegant masks. They were dancing the mazur and laughing so much they had forgotten all about Stańczyk.




This piece is in response to Jan Matejko's Stańczyk.