dragon, pharaoh and medals
A sculptor, a painter, a graphic artist, a medalist, a professor, and occasionally even a set designer. One could say the term “renaissance man” has never been more fitting. He studied alongside the greatest minds, only to go out into the world and gain international renown himself. Today, his works can be found not only on city streets but also in museums and private collections around the world.
The distinctiveness of the sculptural oeuvre of Bronisław Chromy lies in its contrasts. On the one hand, we have dynamic, expressive, even sharp forms made of bronze, such as The Cyclists or the unmistakingly Cracovian Wawel Dragon statue. On the other hand, we have delicate and subtle works, such as the Sheep series, three large-eyed Owls, The Drummer and He That Is Without Blame, Let Him First Cast a Stone. At the heart of these works are pebbles and stones of different dimensions (whose rounded, smooth edges are the result of the erosive action of river waters), most often combined with elements made of bronze or aluminum. And so nature and art intertwine with each other to form one.
Chromy was a committed man by nature, including socially. As a student in the 1950s, he co-founded the legendary club Piwnica pod Baranami that served as a meeting point for artists of all sorts and walks of life in those repressive times. In 1992, at the age of 67, he decided to purchase and renovate an abandoned acoustical shell in Krakow’s Decius Park, creating there his own gallery and at the same time a space for cultural events.
Particularly noteworthy among the artist’s works are his pocket-size sculptures and medals – round or not necessarily, openwork or not, some perfectly polished while others bringing to mind coins straight from archaeological excavations. Bronisław Chromy created over 700 of them, each different and unique in its own way.
The artist dabbled in painting as part of his summertime leisure. At that time, he settled in his Summer House of Creative Work in Masuria, where he created colorful paintings, mainly depicting the world around him – marshy landscapes, flowers, V-formations of birds. Against this background, the series Addicts seems exceptional and bitter, depicting people struggling with addiction, whose silhouettes are composed of empty bottles and glasses.
Bronisław Chromy died in 2017 at the age of 92, leaving behind an artistic richness in almost every possible matter. If you are interested in his episode as a set designer, we strongly invite you to watch the 1966 masterpiece of Polish cinema, Pharaoh, directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz. The palace figures of ancient gods are precisely the feat of Chromy’s imagination.
transl. Jakub Majchrzak