Artur Grottger (1837–1867)
Crossing the Border, 1865
Gift of Anna Tarnowska and Urszula Miączyńska, 1957

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 53,5 x 42,5 cm

description: This painting, dating to the time when the artist stayed in Vienna, alludes to the events of the January Uprising. It shows the help provided to the insurgents by the Poles from the other partitioned territories, especially from Galicia. Apart from the deliveries of weapons and food, soldiers supporting the insurgents got to the territory of the Kingdom of Poland. Grottger wanted to remind that local peasants often helped in the illegal crossing of the border surrounded by the armed forces of the oppressors. In this way they sympathized with the insurgents. The composition, rendered in the style of Viennese Biedermeier, depicts a girl, dressed in the Krakow costume, with a basket of raspberries in her hand, shepherding a few men in insurrectionary uniforms across the border along the paths which are known only to her. The atmosphere of fear and invisible threat emanating from the frozen figure of the girl, listening for any sound, and the look of tension on the faces of the men hidden in the bushes are enhanced by the tenebrous aura of the night landscape. The border post with the double-headed imperial eagle, covered by the ivy, reminds about the partitions and bondage. The work is painted meticulously, with attention to detail. It is characterized by a warm rust brown tonality with red accents, relieved by the white of the girl’s blouse. Aleksandra Krypczyk

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
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