The restauration of self-portrait
by Leopold Pollak is comleted

 in collaboration with
Vivahotels through the Project "Be Part of History".

Leopold Pollak
Uffizi Gallery

  On 14th of April, at 4 p.m. in Uffizi Gallery San Pier Scheraggio, was presented the self-portrait of the Czech painter Léopold Pollak (8. 11. 1806 Lodenice/Bohemia – 16. 10. 1880 Rome), after the works of restoration by Maria Rita Signorini.

  During the event were presented the historical relationships and cultural exchanges among Italy and Czech Republic, followed by the presentation of a class of Czech langauge at the High School Machiavelli-Capponi for next academic year. At the conclusion the folk group "Vonicka" have performed traditional folk dance and musics.

  The restoration has been promoted by the Honorary Consulate of Czech Republic for Tuscany Region and a Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, with the co-operation of and the support of
 Vivahotels and the restorer Signorini as well.

  The Czech painter Léopold Pollak, who since 1831 and for most of his life has lived in Italy; in 1853 become Roman Citizen. The painting was donated to the Uffizi Gallery by the painter’s son, Henry (Heinrich), in 1908. In the archive of Uffizi Gallery is kept the collection of letters between Henry (in Wien during 1926-1931) and Uffizi Gallery direction and the Ministry, concerning the possibility to exhibit the work donated.

  This Bohemian painter, son of a well-off Jewish merchant, soon showed his talent for painting. In 1819, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he studied for 5 years in the class of director Bergler. Then he continued his studies in Vienna with Krafft and Peter. When he returned to Prague, the quality of his paintings convinced his parents to supply him with money so that he can go to study in Rome (shortly going round to Munich). In 1831, after taking part in an exhibition in Prague with the
portrait of his parents, the painter went to Rome with his friend, Schaller, where in the beginning did not have any success. During the first eight years in Rome, he could not sell any of his paintings, in spite of the constant work and the recognition and encouragement of his friends and other artists (including the director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris). It was only when a lady, who went to see his atelier with his friends, bought one of his paintings, “Il Pastorello”, that happened a turning point in
Pollak’s career. In 1841, he returned for a short period to Prague to finish the “Graziosa” (“The shepherdess with lamb”). In 1846, he visited Vienna but soon returned to Italy, where he obtained Roman citizenship in 1853. During all these years, he continued to send his paintings to exhibitions in Prague and he also returned occasionally to Bohemia. In 1855, he spent some time in Carlsbad and in 1873 in Marienbad, the two famous spas of West Bohemia.

  Leopold Pollak had two sons: August, born in 1838, became also a painter, Enrico (Heinrich), born around 1854, was a merchant and represented the business of his father in Vienna, during the life of this one and even after. In 1908, he gave the self-portrait of his father to the Uffizi Gallery, where can be also found the correspondence from the period of 1926-1931 between the direction of the Uffizi Gallery and the Ministry of Education, concerning the possible exhibition of painting.

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