Jozef Pankiewicz – Still Life with a Knife

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still life with knife

Józef Pankiewicz (1866 – 1940) was one of the first impressionists in Polish art. In the 1920s he initiated a current of Polish colourist painting growing out of the experiences of the French post-impressionists. As a teacher, he influenced an entire generation of Polish painters and graphic artists, especially those gathered in so-called Paris Committee (Kapists). He studied art at the Warsaw Academy and then at Sankt Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts. He travelled widely across Europe exhibiting his works and gaining numerous awards.

Still life with a knife (1909) oil on canvas, National Museum in Krakow, Poland

The painting belongs to a series of more than ten canvases depicting fruit and vegetables, probably originated during Pankiewicz’s stay in France in 1909. The artist was under the influence of Paul Cézanne at the time which is reflected here by a characteristic simplification of forms. The composition of the image is, however, more ‘classic’ in the distribution of individual components and accents of color. The painting is very characteristic of Pankiewicz’s style in this period, extremely polished, yet unreal in a way.

Common ingredients of fruit desserts at the time

In Poland – apples of course in various forms: apple pie, apple cookies, apple cakes, apple pancakes …

Recipe: Apple Pie


  • 2 cups flour (250 g)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 9 tablespoons butter (125 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Apples, peeled, cored, & sliced (1 Kg)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to180 C
  • Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder
  • Cut in the butter (with a pastry blender, two knives, or rub into flour with fingers) until it resembles coarse meal
  • Work in egg and egg yolk, the dough will be crumbly, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  • Reserve ⅓ of the crust, pat the remaining ⅔ into a 9 inch springform pan, covering the bottom and the sides
  • Toss the sliced apples in the cinnamon, and add to the pan, piling them up
  • Crumble the remaining ⅓ crust and sprinkle over the apples
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until crust is lightly brown and the apples are tender, if it seems to be getting brown before the apples are tender, loosely tent with aluminum foil

(Recipe source )

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