Henryk Siemiradzki (1843 – 1902)


Lot 17. Henryk Siemiradzki 1843 – 1902


signed in Latin and inscribed Roma l.r.
oil on canvas laid on board
54 by 100cm, 21 1/4 by 39 1/4 in.

Literature: S.Lewandowski, Henryk Siemiradzki, Warsaw: Gebethner & Wolff, 1904, p.37 illustrated in b/w

Catalogue Note: The present lot is a prime example of Siemiradzki’s mature work. The composition is precisely arranged, careful attention is paid to the effects of light and shadow and the palette is particularly refined. In the 1880s and 1890s, subjects from history or everyday scenes of life in ancient Greece and Rome prevail in the artist’s work. This insight into the mythology, history and daily life of these ancient civilisations and the attempt to recreate a Classical image of the world gives rise to a new school of Neo-classicist art – the Neo-Grec.

In these works the ancient world is presented through multi-figured showy spectacles, bloody dramas and intimate idylls, as in the present lot. The end of the 1880s and 1890s was a time when Siemiradzki reigned supreme; he was a constant and a linchpin of the Salon’s exhibitions. During this period his subjects became more intimate and lyrical, but simultaneously his theatrical tendencies come to the fore. This can be explained in no small part by the general developments of European art at the turn of the century.

Siemiradzki depicts the young couple utterly absorbed in their conversation and in each other, which he echoes in the poses of the goats on the right of the composition and the delicate red flowers which tumble around the decorative pool draws in the eye of the viewer with their vivid colour and freshness. In its unabashed celebration of youth and beauty, the present lot is an exceptional example of its genre.

Estimate 200,000 -300,000 GBP. Sothebys. 06/07/16