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The Things of Warsaw / Forging the Scythes. Mural by Wojciech Fangor

Forging the Scythes. Mural by Wojciech Fangor

Forging the Scythes. Mural by Wojciech Fangor

The mural was painted in 1954 on the commission of the then Museum of Warsaw director, Professor Janusz Durka. The composition, maintained in the Socialist-Realism style, addresses the theme of preparations for the January Uprising of 1863. On a wall measuring over seven meters in length, the artist depicted three half-naked men forging a scythe on an anvil. Wojciech Fangor painted it using egg tempera on plywood panels with which the wall had been lined.

Shortly after the artist completed his work, the piece was covered by a special construction. There are two theories about why this was done. The first one refers to a change in the exhibition concept, authored by Stanisław Zamecznik; the second suggests a negative assessment by Prof. Stanisław Lorenz – the then director of the National Museum who was extremely influential at the time.

During the Museum of Warsaw revitalization process, a decision was made to reintroduce the mural to the exhibition. The layers of plywood and the latticework of slats—which preserved the work in practically perfect condition—were carefully removed. In April 2013, during the ceremony of the work’s formal presentation, Wojciech Fangor signed the piece.