Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Russian State Museum

-By Jesper Ejsing

Live demo painting an Orcish Fella

I just came back from Russia. It was a fantastic trip.

I did a speech and a demo painting at the Artillery Event in Saint-Petersburg and had the chance to go to the Russian State Museum. I knew there was going to be some paintings by Ilya Repin and some by Shishkin, and I already had a couple of napkins ready for the inevitable tears of inadequacy when standing in front of these masterpieces. But nothing had prepared me for Henryk Siemiradzki. Seeing the huge paintings they had in the museum I vaguely remember seeing a little picture of one of them in a book about the Danish painter Krøyer where they mention Henryk as an inspiration, but boy oh boy was this crazy. I have never seen anything looking so effortlessly painted before. It is cool and almost modern illustration in a giant format.

As I understand the guy was polish and from the little I can read of the Russian book I got about him, most of the paintings are in Warsaw, Polan. Sooooo... I am going to go on a little trip next month I think just to see some more of this fantastic painter.

Also I promise, from now on to use more dappled light.

Repins Turkish Sultan letter


  1. There is something intimidatingly awesome about those large scale canvases. Wonder how long they took?

    1. About Semyradsky's 'Phryne at the Poseidonia in Eleusis' Wikipedia says that it was started in 1886 and finished in 1889
      And 'Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks' by Repin was started in 1880 and finished in 1891. Russian Wikipedia also says that the first sketches were done in 1880—1881 and the first oil sketch was finished in 1887.

    2. wow. I take about 40-80 hours for my own pieces. I thought that was long!

    3. I completely agree and would also like to know what the "average" time was for a piece this big...

  2. A wonderful discovery Jesper! I too had nearly the exact emotional response to Siemiradzki's work back in 2005 when i visited Moscow and discovered his work for the first time. Another MuddyColors Blog post from five years ago hit upon this for anyone interested in a few more of his paintings:

    The Master of Dappled Light!!

    1. I am adding some dapple to my current illustration. This post was very timely. I shall be pouring over Siemiradzki's paintings for reference


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