Aleksander Kotsis (1836–1877)
Haymaker, c. 1862
Purchased in 1984

material: oil on cardboard

dimensions: 53,5 x 59,5 cm

description: Aleksander Kotsis was regarded by his contemporaries as a painter of villagers. The artist portrayed ups and downs of the life of peasants from villages near Krakow and highlanders from the region of the Tatra mountains. A great many of his works devoted to peasants combined the realism of the depiction with a slightly melancholic mood, a sketchy, fluid technique and a warm, narrow palette. Haymaker, painted shortly before the outbreak of the January Uprising is reminiscent of Evening Prayer of a Farmer by Artur Grottger [see item 238]. What these works have in common are the subject, the composition and the use of national metaphors. They differ in mood and colours. The painting by Kotsis depicts a peasant in a russet coat, with a scythe on his shoulder, standing with his back to the viewer on the edge of a hill and staring at the Kościuszko Mound visible on the horizon. The subject of the painting recalls the participation of Polish peasants in the national uprisings. The scythe, an effective weapon in the hands of peasants during the Kościuszko Uprising, shown together with the mound of the Commander, gilded by the setting sun, and a calm, devout atmosphere, to a large extent built by the subtly rendered landscape, contribute to the patriotic character of this work. Aleksandra Krypczyk

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

key: Romanticism. Towards national art >>>

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