Józef Chełmoński (1849–1914)
The Dniester River at Night, 1906
Purchased in 1927

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 85 × 127 cm

description: The Dniester River at Night is one of the most beautiful mature landscapes by Chełmoński, executed after his return from Paris, in a manner reminding of Symbolism. This poetic nocturne serves another example of the artist’s fascination with the austere beauty of Ukraine. It depicts a lazily meandering river viewed from the top. The gloomy sleepiness of nature is relieved by the glow of the setting sun, and a misty gleam, enhancing the feeling of silence and the boundlessness of space, creates the atmosphere of contemplating the beauty of the universe. Chełmoński has resigned from the accuracy of detail in favour of a general, almost abstract vision. The stretches of the ground and the sky, rendered synthetically with colour, intermingle with each other, creating a picture of drowsy nature permeated with mysticism. Colour acquires almost autonomous, symbolic significance in this work. The refined gradations of light blue, grey and lilac-pink hues emphasize the transience of the depicted scene and give a uniform, elegiac tone to the whole composition. This portrayal of nature, enchanting with its authenticity, reflects Chełmoński’s religious, mystical and almost pantheistic approach to nature. Aleksandra Krypczyk

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

key: Realism, polish impressionism, beginnings of symbolism >>>

© 2010 National Museum in Krakow
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