Aleksander Gierymski (1850–1901)
The Feast of Trumpets, 1890
Purchased in 1930

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 48,9 × 65,4 cm

description: The portrayal of the Feast of Trumpets is one of the most important works in the oeuvre of Aleksander Gierymski. The artist made three versions of this motif. The earliest one, painted in 1884, is now in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw. Gierymski produced two other versions in Munich in 1890 – the bigger one regarded as lost and the smaller one exhibited in the Sukiennice now. The subject matter of the three compositions concerned the rituals associated with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, commonly known as the Feast of Trumpets. This first day in the Jewish calendar is the equivalent to the Christian New Year. It commemorates the creation of universe and reminds about God’s judgement. Therefore, during ritual prayers sins are symbolically cast into the water, which is accompanied by the sound of a ram’s or goat’s horn called shofar. This reportage-like portrayal of the life of the Warsaw Jews, devoid of anecdote and focussed on the effects of light and colour, is imbued with subtle mood, enhanced by the contrasts between light and darkness. In this gloomy landscape, the figures of the Jews are depicted close to the edge of the picture. The static character of nature corresponds to the calm of the praying men. By conveying the luminous effects observed at twilight, Gierymski endeavoured to explore the mystery of light and its influence on the shapes and colours of the surrounding world. The apparent chaos and randomness of the composition were carefully planned. The limited, dark palette is marked by subtle value graduations. 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
design & concept: