Piotr Michałowski (1800–1855)
Artillery Crossing a River, c. 1844 (?)
Gift of Józefa Michałowska, 1902

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 69 x 90 cm

description: With exception to the Parisian period, Michałowski’s works were generally not shown to the public. They were produced out of the imperative of great talent, but only to satisfy the painter’s own artistic needs. They surprise with the scale of the artist’s disposition and painterly sensitivity, shaped under the influence of French Romantic painting and the canvases of old masters. Artillery Crossing a River fascinates with rich painting matter and refined colours. However, what is unique about this work is a masterly, evocative depiction of a rushing artillery team, suddenly emerging from a bright cloud of dust, going partly straight at the viewer. “A rapid stream is rippling and water is splashing on the people and horses, one can almost hear the splash of hooves in the green wave, the creaking of the cannon and the sound of weapons at the soldiers’ side, their calls, and all this against a distant, invisible background of a battle that can be sensed and heard in the air, as the noise of the small episode is certainly deafened by the sound of other cannons in the distance, to whose rescue this one is hurrying so furiously” – this is what Jerzy Mycielski, one of the “discoverers” of Michałowski’s artistic achievements, wrote about this canvas towards the end of the 19th century. 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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