Henryk Siemiradzki was born near Kharkov in 1843. He was from the family originating from the Kingdom of Poland. The family spoke Polish, read Polish writers. The children were brought up in the traditions of the Catholic religion. After the high school, where he was taught painting by Karl Briullov’s student Dmitriy Bezperchy, Siemiradzki entered the Kharkov University at the department of Physics and Mathematics. Then he received the rank of the candidate. He went to St. Petersburg to be a disciple of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1864. As Siemiradzki was already 21, but students before the age of 20 years could be accepted, he was enrolled as an auditor only. He studied so well, and the painter was adopted as a student in 1866. Having run the syllabus for Small Gold medal, Siemiradzki was allowed to compete for the Great Gold medal. For the exam he presented “Confidence of Alexander the Great to Doctor Philip” in November of 1870.
Alexander the great and physician Philip of Arcarnania.1870.
The legend, which formed the basis of the painting, tells of how physician Philip treated seriously ill Alexander in one of the campaigns. Philip was not only a doctor, but also a close friend of the commander. The enemies of Philip were jealous of him, and wrote a denunciation, accusing him of planning to poison Alexander’s bowl with the medicine. Alexander III of Macedon read the denunciation, and when the doctor brought him medicine, he drank it, and gave the denunciation to Philip asking to read with him. The painting shows the most intense moment of the legend. Siemiradzki was awarded the Great Gold medal for “The Confidence of Alexander the Great to the Doctor Philip”. Also the painter was provided with a 6-year trip abroad. Having been in Germany and Italy, Siemiradzki settled in Rome.
Christ and Sinner, version of 1875
Christ with Martha and Maria, 1886
The master was very popular in Europe because of “Lanterns of Christianity” executed by him in Rome in 1876. Siemiradzki became Professor at the Imperial Academy of Arts, and then a member of the Academy of Berlin, Stockholm, Rome, Turin, Paris. Those who knew him then told of his extraordinary diligence. The glory and splendor of life was combined with hard work. The family (Siemiradzki was happily married to his cousin Maria Prushinskaya, they had four children) and a luxury villa in the Greco-Roman style built by him in Rome demanded more money and worry. The artist worked tirelessly. In the late 70s he took part in the decoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, where the full extent of his monumental talent was. Siemiradzki died in his estate Stshalkovo near Czestochowa (Poland) in 1902. Henryk Siemiradzki’s painting depicts a romantic human nature. The artist believed that art should train taste, develop imagination. Siemiradzki’s return says about the human soul that needs in beauty and harmony.
Christ and Samaritan, 1890
Nero's torches, 1877
Wasserträgerin in Antique Landscape with Olive Trees
Phryne on the Poseidon's celebration in Eleusis
Dancing Among the daggerboard, 1887
Socrates finds his student Alcviad at heterai
Orgy, time of Tiberius on the island of Capri, 1881
Following the gods
The patrician's siesta
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