Pius Weloński
The Gladiator, 1881
Purchased, 1883

material: bronze

dimensions: 190 × 75 × 115 cm

description: The sculpture called Sclavus saltans represents a young dancing slave holding a lira. As a slave serving his master, the boy was supposed to fulfil all orders and if necessary – entertain his owner. The slave’s sad face reminds us about his helplessness and subjugation. One can see a band with an ambiguous inscription saying: “Sclavus sum, tene, quia furio” (I am a slave, hold the one I am running from) on his left leg. It seems that the sculptor wanted to juxtapose the spontaneity of the dance with the chore it became when performed under obligation. It also appears to be an allegory of the enslaved Polish nation living under the yoke of its oppressors. The notion of “sclavus saltans” – a slave dancing for somebody’s money - was long known to the Polish nation and insulting to the feeling of national pride.
Anna Budzałek

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Around the academy >>>

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design & concept: creator.pl