Lviv. St. Mary’s Square

Odo Dobrowolski

  • Lviv. St. Mary’s Square 2
Basic information
Odo Dobrowolski
Lviv. St. Mary’s Square
Date of creation
paper watercolor Indian ink
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
29.8 x 31.8
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
This is one of the first artist’s cityscapes; it was performed before his moving to Paris. St. Mary’s Square is depicted from the north, starting from Hetmanska Street, where the red electric tram is turning. Next to it there is a wooden cart with a white horse; these elements are among the most noticeable compositional details of the work. In the foreground on the right, there is a two-wheeled cart on the pavement. Behind it there is a crowd of people near the fountain of the Virgin Mary. The author emphasizes how the elements of the foreground disharmonize with the exquisite architectural buildings of the square, among which the George Hotel is standing out. However, the Adam Mickiewicz Monument (column) is not very noticeable; it is rather an additional element in the overall compositional structure. In the color scheme bright tones (such as red, orange, beige, and white ones) contrast with the black spots of human figures, tree crowns, and sculptural elements of the column.
In the lower left part of the work there is the author’s inscription “30/08 07 Odo Dobrowolski/ 911 Lwów” written in italics.