Aleksander Orłowski
Battle Scene, before 1802
Purchased in 1913

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 64,5 x 92 cm

description: Aleksander Orłowski, being a very talented child, was sent to study painting under Jan Piotr Norblin, one of the leading artists of the Polish Enlightenment. With his master, Orłowski learnt the conventions of European art, and was taught to create compositions flouting the accepted standards of idealised court art, surprising with his fresh perspective on the reality that surrounded him. The two battle scenes are a reference to the popular 17th century scenes created by French painters to immortalise the numerous military campaigns of King Louis XIV. The swarm of soldiers in the middle of the scene is flanked by other figures – some engaged in battle, others vanquished or killed. The distinguishing trait of these scenes is the extraordinary dynamism of the people and animals, which illustrates the heat of the battle. Orłowski created his own version of the war episodes, clothing his characters in various uniforms. He presented only western European soldiers in the Fight for the Banner while in the Skirmish, he depicted eastern military uniforms, very exotic for Western Europe, most probably belonging to the light cavalry unit known as “Lisowczycy”, or the Hungarians.

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: