Maurycy Gottlieb

Maurycy Gottlieb (sometimes Maurycego Gottlieba) (1856–1879) was a Polish-Jewish painter. He was born in Drohobycz, Galicia.

At fifteen, he was enrolled at the Vienna Art Academy. Later, he would study under Jan Matejko in Krakow. However, he experienced anti-semitism from his fellow students, and left Matejko's studio after less than a year, returning to Vienna to pursue his Jewish roots, having been raised secular.

Shylock and JessicaAt twenty, he won a gold medal from a Munich art competition for Shylock and Jessica (at left), showing a scene from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. He painted the face for Jessica based on a woman, Laura Rosenfeld, who he had proposed marriage to.

However, Rosenfeld rejected his proposal, and wed a Berlin banker. It is believed that he then committed suicide by exposure to the elements, dying of complications from a cold.

Despite the early age of his death, more than three hundred of his works survive, though not all are finished. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, many Polish collections unknown in the West were discovered, and his reputation grew greatly.