Church of Saint-Severin in Paris

Odo Dobrowolski

  • Church of Saint-Severin in Paris 2
Basic information
Odo Dobrowolski
Church of Saint-Severin in Paris
Date of creation
paper pastel
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
70 x 46
graphic art
Information about author
Odo Dobrowolski
Artist's lifetime
Odo (Otton) Dobrowolski (1883, Chernivtsi – 1917, Kyiv) was a Lviv artist of Polish-German origin. He is mainly known as a graphic artist, in particular a watercolorist, a master of pastels and lithographs. His parents were Jozef Dobrowolski, the Austrian governor of Galicia-Lodomeria, and Eugenia Wittich. Apparently, the artist was named after Otto the Great, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He graduated from the gymnasium in Lviv. In the mid-1900s, Dobrowolski was in Krakow as a non-degree student of the Academy of Fine Arts. Between 1908 and 1909, thanks to the support of the artist Jan Styka, he was in Paris and then in Munich for a short while. After returning to Lviv between 1909 and 1910, the artist made an oil decorative panel for the confectionery of Gabriela Zapolska, a famous playwright, actress, and a bright representative of the Lviv elite. In 1911 and 1912, he was in Paris again. Then he was in Lviv, where during the Russian occupation he created a series of 10 lithographs, which were very popular. In June 1915, during the retreat of the Russians, the artist went to Kyiv, where he died under uncertain circumstances at the age of 34 in 1917. The artistic heritage of Odo Dobrowolski includes numerous cityscapes, particularly views of Lviv and Paris, as well as portraits, interior sketches, and images of nature. The works are stored in Borys Voznytskyi Lviv National Art Gallery, as well as in the National Museum in Krakow, the National Library in Warsaw, the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, and in private collections.
Object description
The work was performed during the first (1908–1909) or second (1911–1912) artist’s stay in Paris. The young painter depicted the oldest spiritual center of students in Europe, namely the Church of Saint-Severin in the Latin Quarter of Paris. In the foreground of the composition, one can see the northern facade of the Church with two sacristies (from St. Severin Street). In the background and in the center there is the majestic bell tower of the Church with a pointy finishing. The work is performed in dimmed ocher and brown tones, so one of the characteristic accents is the white light of a lantern on the facade of the house that is situated in front of the church. The Church of Saint-Severin is one of the most famous churches in Paris. The beginning of its construction dates back to the 13th century. It is located in the historic center of Paris, in front of the City Island.
In the lower left corner there is the author's signature and date of performance “Paryż/ Odo Dobrowolski” written in italics.