about Royal series

The "Royal Series" designed by Ewa Olszewska-Borys was emitted in 1985-2003 upon the initiative of the Koszalin Branch of the Polish Numismatic Society (former - Polish Archeological and Numismatic Society). The decision of the issue of the medals was the idea of Marian Okulicz, the president of the Koszalin Branch. The series is composed of 43 medals (70 mm), struck in tombac, silver-plated and patina versions, and in finest silver. The number of some of the medals from the series exceeded 3000 copies and they are still sought by collectors.

The obverses of the medals depicting the royal portraits were based on the "Gallery of Kings and Dukes" drawn by Jan Matejko, the great Polish nineteenth-century historical painter. These portraits appear in an illusive, spatial relief, typical for the author. An equally spatial treatment, symptomatic for sculpture, was applied in the case of architecture, visible on the reverses, usually sacral and historically associated with a given ruler or originating from the time of his reign. In the case of Ewa Olszewska-Borys we are dealing with an attempted “direct transposition”, i.e., a transference of the Matejko vision into the world of spatial forms in such a manner so as not to lose the value of the work, its expression, or the psychological veracity of the portraits. The artist makes full use of her workshop and the opportunities provided by minting techniques, including a patina, which rubbed in, remains in the indentations. In this way, the relief of the medal, enhanced with qualities characteristic for painting, becomes closer to the original.

Ewa Olszewska-Borys spent eighteen years working on a royal portrait gallery, executing successively two or three medals annually. The series is artistically cohesive and authentic owing to the fact that was created in a natural manner, parallel to the other works of the author, and in accordance with her own sculpture vision, stemming from a perception of space, included into the arrangement of forms and endowed with a concrete, material shape.

The iconographic material at the disposal of the artist constituted a pretext for new creative guests. In the case too, the subject matter, albeit suggested from the outside, was inspiring for two reasons: it concerned a portrait, which for long has remained within the sphere of the author’s interest, as well as architecture, fascinating not only due to the solid itself but also owing to its relations with surrounding space. Sculpting the magnificent figures of historical rulers, brought to life by the talent of Master Matejko, and portrayed on medals jewels of the Polish Romanesque, Gothic or Renaissance style was an unusual adventure for Ewa Olszewska-Borys, and one which enriched her creative workshop.