Piotr Michałowski (1800–1855)
Horse Rifleman of the Napoleonic Guard, undated
Gift of Józefa Michałowska, 1902

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 53 x 40,5 cm

description: During his stay in Paris in 1832–1835, Michałowski encountered the works of the already deceased brilliant French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). His canvases were characterized by the extraordinary dynamism of form, the dramatic effect of chiaroscuro, a rich range of colours and usually a strong emotional charge. But for this lesson, Michałowski would not have painted such excellent works as Artillery Crossing a River [see item 217] and many other. Horse Rifleman of the Napoleonic Guard reflects this range of interests. The picture, painted with confident, broad brushstrokes, shows a horse rider that is full of enthusiasm for fighting. Dressed in a chasseur uniform and a characteristic fur hat called a bearskin, he is sitting on a rearing horse, with his sabre raised to strike. Close to the horse’s head, against a sky background, one can see the second horse’s head, in profile, only slightly painted over. These are the remains of the correction made by the artist in the position of the horse’s head aiming to add more expression to the animal’s silhouette and make it more bound with the rifleman in terms of composition and dynamism of the scene. 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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