The Museum dedicated to Fryderyk Chopin is an attempt at a portrait of the composer. A portrait of a personality which is – as Franz Liszt, Chopin's first biographer, indicated – intangible, appearing as a form escaping unambiguous definition. A personality which, in successive biographies, has been subjected to reinterpretation, not infrequently utilized as an argument in a broader historiosophic perspective, or modeled upon the image and likeness of commonly-accepted stereotypes of artistic historiography.
The museum collection as a type of portrait of Chopin – the composer’s musical autographs, letters, iconography and statements concerning his reception – becomes a point of departure for successive perspectives having the character of an analytical sketch or a synthetic image. In subjecting the collection to continual reconfigurations, the museum portrays Chopin via its permanent exhibition and its temporary exhibitions, in which music is equally as important as the visual aspect. It not only documents changing images of the composer, but also poses questions concerning their relevance, and attempts to discern in their genesis the attitudes and value systems used by artists and recipients.
The many portraits made for the composer’s 200th birthday were not so much cause for reflection on the crisis concerning his portrait, as they were a diagnosis of the condition of reflections upon Chopin. The characteristic features of the composer’s face or common motifs (the piano, the willow tree) have greatly multiplied safe stereotypes in the collective consciousness. The Fryderyk Chopin Museum’s Fryderyk Chopin Portrait Competition invites young artists to reflect upon their own attitudes towards this most distinguished Polish composer. To reflect upon the relevance of his personality and music. Portraying Chopin can become a means of portraying ourselves (the individual artist, generation, group) relative to the artist and his work, the values associated with his era, in the contemporary context or in a timeless dimension.