Piotr Michałowski (1800–1855)
Two Horse-Teams under a Rock, 1844-1846
Gift of Józefa Michałowska, 1902

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 45,5 x 54,5 cm

description: The motif of huge draft horses, harnessed to heavy carts, first appeared in Michałowski’s works in 1832–1835, during his stay in Paris, to return in different paintings in 1844–1848. At that time, the artist made frequent trips to France, to the Lès Madères estate near Tours, where his father-in-law, Antoni Ostrowski, settled with his family in exile, and where Julia Michałowska often came with children. The painter had an opportunity to observe large Percheron and Normand draft horses, still unknown in Poland then, on the routes of stagecoaches, on the manor farm in Les Madères and at horse markets. They became the subject of his several canvases, numerous watercolours and drawings. The painting shows two horse-teams with goods facing each other on a mountain road. The evocative style and laconic form of the depiction are striking. The fact that the painter took up this subject at the time when he was seriously considering going back to Paris and returning to painting can’t have been a coincidence. He even exhibited several of his watercolours at the Leopold gallery then (1845). Moreover, when describing the local art market in a letter to his wife (1846), he wrote: “my place here has not been taken yet”. Anna Zeńczak

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Romanticism. Towards national art >>>

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