Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7390-5340 Śniedziewska Magdalena


The medallions devoted to Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Ribera are a major collection of texts within Gustaw Herling-Grudziński’s entire output. Through them, he proved that he was able to write a moving text about painting while avoiding both the academic tone and flaunting his knowledge, as well as the dangers of ekphrasis transforming too often into irksome detailed inventories of the elements of a painter’s presentation. The decision to refer to these texts as medallions was equally a genological concept and a clever hedge, and a starting point for a discussion on the ambiguity of the very notion of a medallion. Herling-Grudziński would not have been himself if he had abandoned autobiographical reflections. When considering artists and their works ‘from aside’, he multiplied assumptions, proposed apocryphal versions of some biographical threads, and formulated bold unverifiable hypotheses – this was because he sided with a literary story, not an academic discourse.


medallion, ekphrasis, autobiography, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Ribera


Ajres A., L’autobiografia italiana nei racconti di Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, Rome 2018.

Alpers S., Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market, Chicago 1990.

‘Cienie wielkich artystów’. Gustaw Herling-Grudziński i dawne malarstwo europejskie, eds. A. Stankowska, M. Śniedziewska, M. Telicki, Poznań 2013.

Clark K., Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance, London 1966.

Głowiński M., Miniatura, [in:] Słownik terminów literackich, ed. J. Sławiński, Wrocław–Warsaw–Kraków 1998.

Herling-Grudziński G., Dzieła zebrane, [in:] Eseje, ed. W. Bolecki, vol. 10, Kraków 2017.

Herling-Grudziński G., Dziennik pisany nocą 1973-1979, Warsaw 1995.

Herling-Grudziński G., Dziennik pisany nocą 1989-1992, Warsaw 1997.

Herling-Grudziński G., Sześć medalionów i Srebrna Szkatułka, Warsaw 1994.

Herling-Grudziński G., Bolecki W., Rozmowy w Dragonei, Warsaw 1997.

Kostkiewiczowa T., Miniatura poetycka, [in:] Słownik terminów literackich, ed. J. Sławiński, Wrocław–Warsaw–Kraków 1998.

Sendyka R., Nowoczesny esej. Studium historycznej świadomości gatunku, Kraków 2006.

Sławiński J., Opowieść, [in:] Słownik terminów literackich, ed. J. Sławiński, Wrocław–Warsaw–Kraków 1998.

Śniedziewska M., Niekonwencjonalne portrety. ‘Madonna del Parto’ Piera della Francesca i ‘Betsabee’ Rembrandta w oczach Herlinga, [in:] Świadectwo – mit – tajemnica. O Gustawie Herlingu-Grudzińskim, ed. Z. Kudelski, Warsaw 2019.

Śniedziewska M., ‘Osobiste sprawy i tematy’. Gustaw Herling-Grudziński wobec dwudziestowiecznej literatury włoskiej, Warsaw 2019, pp. 63-71.

Śniedziewska M., Siedemnastowieczne malarstwo holenderskie w literaturze polskiej po 1918 roku, Toruń 2014.

Witosz B., ‘Dziennik pisany nocą’: Między gatunkowym a indywidualnym stylem wypowiedzi, “Język Artystyczny”, 2001, vol. 11.

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