Piotr Michałowski (1800–1855)
Napoleon on a Grey Horse, before 1846 (?)
Gift of Józefa Michałowska, 1902

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 60,5 x 49,5 cm

description: Born in 1800, Michałowski belonged to the first generation of the Polish Romantics who in their childhood, affected by the experience of the Napoleonic wars, tasted a great hint of freedom. He witnessed his compatriots’ hope for the revival of independent Poland and the resulting admiration for the French emperor. With time, the Napoleonic campaigns became one of the main subjects of his works. Napoleon on a Grey Horse is one of the studies that the artist painted before executing a large equestrian portrait of Napoleon, dated to the year 1846 (at the National Museum in Warsaw). It shows the emperor, wearing a green uniform of the horse rifle regiment colonel, a black tricorne on his head and a grey coat, mounted on a white restless horse. The ideological aspect of this work refers to the legend of Napoleon and the high esteem he was held in by his soldiers. In this painting, the commander is looking down, to the left, in the direction where other versions of the composition feature grenadiers with their eyes fixed on him in admiration. The palette of this painting is based on muted shades of greyish ochres and bluish greys with dominant, highly diversified white, finely relieved by several colour accents. The smoothness and flickering of colours are worthy of note. Anna Zeńczak

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

key: Romanticism. Towards national art >>>

© 2010 National Museum in Krakow
design & concept: creator.pl