District Museum in Suwalki
16-400 Suwałki, ul. T. Kościuszki 81 | tel. (+48) 87 566 57 50
Exhibition in the form
of panoramic presentation



The realisation of the presentation funded
as part of the programme EU Interreg Lietuva-Polska
Project: LT-PL-5R-389

Old Vilnius I and Old Vilnius II

Old Vilnius I
1894, oil, canvas, 41 x 25 cm
private owner

The composition shows a city alley. It is kept in one colour tonality. The applied colours: from light to dark ochres, copper and tawny browns, create a monochromatic mosaic, which is tonally diverse. A wide tonal gradation was enriched with faint streaks of red, blue and white. The picture was painted concisely with visible, long and short traces of the brush. The rhythm of vertical and horizontal brush lines creates a peculiar texture of this art piece from 1894. In this period of artistic activity, Stanisław Bohusz-Siestrzeńcewicz freed himself from academic rules and he was looking for motives for his paintings in the narrow streets and squares of Vilnius just like the representatives of École de Paris and Mauricé Utrillo. He noticed their picturesqueness, charm and painting value: the light creating a bright spot on the wall and leaving its lower parts in the shadow, diversity of the materials and textures of poor tenement houses which had been built for years, the reflection of sun rays on the windowpane and the deep darkness of the gate’s interior. It is not a gaze of the drawer but a seasoned colourist who sees colour and light as the highest value of art. Also, the way of framing and the fragmentary nature of the depicted motive indicates artistic maturity of the painter who knows that it is the colour and form and not an elevated theme that create an art piece.
This seemingly inconspicuous urban landscape charms with its sensitivity to the unobvious beauty of the city, its colour and provincial, peculiar, borderland character. It questions the artistic choices of the author who in other works expresses his energy and temper of a drawer. Old Vilnius I has its equivalent. It is Old Vilnius II, which is the same size, theme and colour scheme. Vilnius connoisseurs see these two compositions as a complimentary depiction of urban landscape.
The motive of a poor, narrow, Vilnius street appears in the art by Stanisław Bohusz-Siestrzeńcewicz on several occasions: as a return to the place that had already been painted - Vilnius Alley. Passing Carriages; as a quest for different urban motives with narrow, high and densely built streets - Street in Vilnius; as an alternative interpretation of the theme – Alley.