Henryk Rodakowski
Portrait of General Henryk Dembiński, 1852
Gift of Wiktor Osławski [1892]

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 178 x 139 cm

description: The Portrait of General Henryk Dembiński, a veteran of Napoleonic wars and a brilliant commander and strategist during the November Uprising, was painted by Rodakowski specifically for the annual Paris Salon in 1852. Dembiński was well known to French and international diplomats due to his political and military record, and as such, he was the perfect figure to remind the world about Poland’s lost independence. 
The painting was influenced by the French historical portrait-painting style. The artist showed the General deep in thought, sitting in the staff tent, with a battle scene visible in the distance. Some regarded him as the embodiment of the romantic theme of the “defeated leader”. The work has an outstanding historical value. The foreground with the figure of the General mirrors the classical shape of an isosceles triangle. The refined, dark colouring of the canvas is made up of various shades of black, brown, deep red and ochre offsets. The light that touches the General’s figure highlights his face, making it a realistic, psychologically profound image of the commander.
Wacława Milewska

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
design & concept: creator.pl