Brama na Starym Miescie (1883) by Aleksander Gierymski

Brama na Starym Miescie - Aleksander Gierymski - 1883

Artwork Information

TitleBrama na Starym Miescie
ArtistAleksander Gierymski
Date1883
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions64 X 48 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMuseum of Art in Lodz
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About Brama na Starym Miescie

“Brama na Starym Miescie,” a genre painting that captures the essence of Realism. This masterpiece was brought to life by the talented Aleksander Gierymski in the year 1883. Gierymski, an artist renowned for his contributions to the Realist movement, meticulously crafted this work with a dedication to detail and authenticity that has allowed it to endure as a significant cultural artifact.

“Brama na Starym Miescie” is polish for “Gate in the Old Town”. The focal point of the painting is a large, open gate of a tenement house, framed by an ornately decorated arcade entrance that almost fills the entire canvas. Flanking the entrance are flat pillars, known as pilasters, adorned with advertising signs and plates bearing the house number. To the left, a semi-circular, illuminated blue board features inscriptions in both Polish and Cyrillic, with the words “seal”, “M”, and “Taszyńska” barely discernible, accompanied by the number 38. On the opposite side, a similar blue plaque displays two crossed keys and the inscription “MTaszyńska”. Crowning the portal is a fronton, a triangular decorative element with a cartouche nestled between its non-converging arms. Just above the gate, three windows are visible, with a red-brown patterned carpet draped through the right window sill, proudly bearing the artist’s signature “Gierymski” and the year “83”.

The painting is brought to life with scenes of daily activity around the tenement’s entrance. An older woman stands in the gate, clad in a dark scarf, beside a stool holding a wicker basket of oranges, attracting the attention of a man and a small boy. The man, in a white shirt and long green apron, and the boy, dressed in a long coat and a baseball cap, gaze intently at the oranges. To the left, a girl sits with a basket of eggs near a man turned away from the viewer, wearing a long coat and dark hat, seemingly in conversation with another man smoking on the shop’s doorstep. On the right, an aged bearded man leans against the portal, his long coat tied at the waist, supporting himself with a cane, his attire completed with a dark baseball cap.

The street scene includes a variety of characters: a hunched old woman moving towards the right edge of the canvas, a young woman in black carrying a basket, and a little girl holding bread and an apple. In the foreground, a young boy sits on the curb next to an overturned basket and a broom, adding to the bustling life depicted in front of the tenement. The painting’s color palette is dominated by subdued tones of browns and beiges, highlighted with splashes of white, red, green, blue, and orange, creating a rich tapestry of everyday life captured with exquisite detail and depth.

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