Jan Matejko, Polonia (Poland), 1863. Oil on canvas, 156 × 232 cm, National Museum, Kraków. Pictured is the aftermath of the failed January 1863 Uprising; one of the most patriotic and symbolic paintings by Matejko. Captives await exile to Siberia. Russian officers and soldiers supervise a blacksmith placing shackles on the woman (Polonia). The blonde haired woman next to her represents Lithuania.

Polonia, the name for Poland in Latin and many Romance and other languages, is most often used in modern Polish as referring to the Polish diaspora. However, as can be seen from the image, it was also used as a national personification.

The symbolic depiction of a country as a woman called by the Latin name of that country was common in the 19th century (see Germania, Britannia, Hibernia, Helvetia).

Personifications of Poland in art



  1. ^ a b c d e Jan Cavanaugh. Out Looking in: Early Modern Polish Art, 1890-1918. University of California Press. 2000. pp. 18, 106-107, 188.
  2. ^ Jeremy Howard. Art Nouveau: International and National Styles in Europe. Manchester University Press. 1996. p. 135.