Conversations with God: Jan Matejko's Copernicus

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Accompanies the exhibition at the National Gallery, London, 21 May - 22 August 2021

Jan Matejko (1838-93) is widely regarded as the national painter of Poland, where he is revered for his huge but minutely detailed depictions of key moments in the nation's history. This book examines his monumental painting Copernicus: Conversations with God, the first work by a Polish artist ever to be exhibited at the National Gallery.

It celebrates the achievements of the Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), known for his theory, published in 1543, that proposed the solar system with the Sun at its centre and the planets orbiting around it. Matejko chose to paint Copernicus on a rooftop in his hometown of Frombork, discussing the matter with God.

In this first volume in English dedicated to the artist, three international experts explore Matejko and Copernicus in the context of science, learning, faith, Polish history and the tradition of history painting.

Christopher Riopelle is The Neil Westreich Curator of Post-1800 Paintings at the National Gallery, London.
Andrzej Szczerski is Director of the National Museum in Krakow.
Owen Gingerich is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and the History of Science at Harvard University.


Colour illustration40
Dimensions27 x 23 cm
PublishedMarch 2021
PublisherNational Gallery Company Ltd
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