Return from Vienna

“March with the Trophies – Return from Vienna”, Józef Brandt, c. 1880. Oil on canvas, 72 X 112 cm. Private collection.

Józef Brandt harboured a fascination for the history of 17th century Poland, and his favourite themes included ballistic scenes and genre scenes before and after the battle proper –all and sundry marches, returns, supply trains, billets and encampments, patrols, and similar motifs illustrating the drudgery of warfare outside of its culminating moments. This piece, depicting Polish troops on their way home after their triumph over the Turkish forces besieging Vienna in 1683, ranks amongst the finest in this group of Brandt’s works. The realistic, frontal composition depicts a train of Poles, Turkish prisoners, and assorted carts and belongings –all escorted by hussar riders– making their way across a flat expanse.

This exotic, colourful painting captivates with its technical perfection, the sheer variety of well-characterised figures, and the rich assortment of props. In its execution, Brandt drew on his considerable knowledge of military equipment and historical costumes. His Munich studio has actually been referred to as a small museum on account of the vast collection of weapons, costumes, and Oriental curios which he kept there and used in his works.

Janina Zielinska

The Captive Sultan

The Captive Sultan

The war fought by the Greeks to shake off the Turkish yoke was closely observed around Europe and, this being the era of romanticism, the events taking place around Greece between 1821 and 1832 became a symbol for national liberation struggle.

At the Order of the Padishah

At the Order of the Padishah

In this piece, Żmurko presents an exotic image of a harem chamber, replete with gleaming fabrics and scattered jewels, as a setting for the statuesquely beautiful body of an odalisque murdered “at the order of the padishah”. 

Return from Vienna

Return from Vienna

Józef Brandt harboured a fascination for the history of 17th century Poland, and his favourite themes included ballistic scenes and genre scenes before and after the battle proper –all and sundry marches, returns, supply trains, billets and encampments, patrols, and similar motifs illustrating the drudgery of warfare outside of its culminating moments.