Spring 1813

Wojciech Kossak

  • Spring 1813 2
Basic information
Wojciech Kossak
Spring 1813
Date of creation
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
148 x 272
Information about author
Wojciech Kossak
Artist's lifetime
Wojciech Kossak (31.12.1856, Paris – 29.07.1942, Kraków) was a Polish painter, descended from a famous family of artists and writers. His creative personality was shaped by his father Juliusz Kossak (who was his first art tutor and teacher), and later by Józef Brandt. Wojciech studied at the Drawing and Painting School in Krakow (1871–1873), under Władysław Łuszczkiewicz. From 1873 to 1875 he continued his studies at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in the workshops of Alexander Strähuber, Alexander Wagner and Wilhelm Lindenschmit. After a year of service in the Krakow lancer regiment (1876/1877), Kossak went to Paris to complete his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts with Léon Bonnat and Alexandre Cabanel. In 1884, after his return to his homeland, he married Maria Kisielnicka and settled in Krakow on his ancestral estate, known as Kossakówka. He lived in Krakow from 1907 to 1914, where he actively participated in the city's cultural life. In 1908. Kossak founded and participated in the Zero group: its creative position was the opposite of that of the Society of Polish Artists "Art" (Sztuka). In 1909, he joined the directorate of the Society of Friends of Fine Arts (TPSP). In 1913, he became the head of the organization, a position he held until 1916. After the First World War outbreak, he was enlisted in the Austrian Army, then served as a major in the 3rd Lancer Regiment of the Polish Army until 1918. Despite his military service, he was appointed lecturer of battle painting at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts in 1915. He continued his teaching activity until 1919. After the war, he returned to Krakow but worked frequently in Warsaw, where since 1921 he rented a studio in the Bristol Hotel, where he had the necessary conditions to work on several commissions. He visited the USA several times (1920, 1927, 1928/29, 1930, 1932 and 1934), where he had a reputation as an outstanding portrait painter. He created illustrations for the popular magazines Kłosy, Tygodnik ilustrowany, Biesiada literacka, Świat and Wędrowiec. Wojciech Kossak contributed to four panoramas: 'Racławice', 'Berezyna', 'Battle of the Pyramids', and the 'Somosierra', which remain at the design stage. He was best known for his battle scenes and his depiction of the history of Polish armed struggle in wars and confrontations, elevating the patriotic spirit of the Polish people. A large collection of Wojciech Kossak's works also focus on Napoleonic themes. The artist created portraits of commanders, military weapons, cavalry and artillery attacks.
Object description
On the right-hand side of the work, against the background of a spring landscape, three horsemen are depicted. They ride their horses past a ditch with the dead bodies (in the foreground of the work), where human and animal bodies, military clothing and equipment can be seen from under the melting snow in the sunlight. Crows fly over the dead.
In the bottom left there are the author's signature and date of creation (some letters and numbers can not be read): «Wojcieh Kossak_1904»