Ludomir Sleńdziński’s Trips to Italy 1923–1925
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The Polish version of the article was published in Roczniki Humanistyczne vol. 60, issue 4 (2012). Ludomir Sleńdziński was the main representative of classicism in Polish art in the period between the two World Wars. The article discusses his two trips to Italy in 1922/24 and 1924/25. They have not been yet researched in the context of the origin and character of his work, albeit impulses coming from Italy were thought to have been an important catalyst for the birth of the so-called “return to order.” Sleńdziński was Dmitry Kardovsky’s student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sankt Petersburg, and it was in his class that he acquired a worship of the old masters and a perfect command of his trade, first of all perfect drawing skills. Apart from the Sankt Petersburg school, classicist trends came to Polish art from Paris where they were first noticed in the circles connected with the Museion magazine (1911-1913) and among artists belonging to the Polish colony, such as Henryk Kuna, Edward Wittig and Eugeniusz Żak. In the article, I reconstruct Sleńdziński’s tour of Italy, and I remind about the exhibition of Polish modern art that he staged in 1925 as part of the 3rd Roman Biennale. His personal contact with old and modern Italian art became an important moment in his artistic formation, stimulating his departure from academic towards modern classicism, in which the artist starts playing a game with the present day and with tradition, consciously using stylistic elements that belong to different epochs. In conclusion it must be said that Ludomir’s trips inclined him to introduce many new solutions (sometimes surprisingly close to works by well-known Italian artists of similar outlook) and determined the final shape of his mature work.
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