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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Franciszek Smuglewicz


Scythian ambassadors to Darius
c.1785
oil on canvas
147 x 184 cm
Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius, Lithuania

Franciszek Smuglewicz (1745-1807) was a Polish-Lithuanian draughtsman and painter. He was born in Warsaw into a Polish-Lithuanian family. His father, also a painter, moved to Warsaw from the Lithuanian province of Samogitia.

In 1763 he journeyed to Rome, and began the study of fine arts. He stayed in Rome for 21 years, where he embraced the Neo-Classical style. In 1765 he received a royal scholarship from the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and was admitted into the Saint Lucas Academy. In 1784 he returned to Warsaw, where he founded his own school of fine arts, one of the predecessors of the modern Academy of Fine Arts. A classicist, but under strong influence of the Polish baroque, he became a notable representative of historical paintings, a genre that dominated the fine arts of Poland throughout the 19th century.

In 1797 he moved to Vilnius, Lithuania, where he became the founder and the first deacon of the Institute of Sketch and Painting at the Academy of Vilnius. A tutor of generations of Polish-Lithuanian painters, he devoted himself to historical paintings in the latter years of his life. He brought to Lithuania classical ideas and views of enlightened classicism. He painted everyday life, and the architecture of Vilnius in a realistic manner. He is considered a progenitor of Lithuanian art in the modern era.