Jan Piotr Norblin de la Gourdaine (1745–1830)
The Battle of Zborów, c. 1780
Long-term loan from the Regional Museum in Tarnów

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 78 x 111 cm

description: This work is one of the earliest Polish historical paintings, created not so much to commemorate a contemporary fact, but to invoke historic events – in this case, the Battle of Zboriv. The battle did not end in one of the resounding victories that the 17th century Polish Republic was famed for. The army, led by King John Casimir, was surprised by the joint Cossack and Tartar forces. After two days of bloody combat, a compromise was signed – favourable for the Cossacks, but far from desirable for the Poles. 
Born a Frenchman, Norblin was invited to come to Poland by the Czartoryski family and is today considered the father of Polish genre painting. Around 1780, in a painting for King Stanisław August Poniatowski, the artist depicted a broad landscape with a static image of a marching army, headed towards the background. The artist painted the king himself, in the foreground, the bottom left corner of the canvas, raising his sword to indicate the direction to his men. Trying to flatter the Polish King, the painter depicted the battle of Zboriv in a style he knew from French court painting used in the 17th century at the court of Louis XIV- the most famous and most often emulated of all European monarchs.

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

key: Enlightenment >>>

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