Wincenty Leopold Sleńdziński (1837–1909), the son of the painter Aleksander Sleńdziński, who was sponsored by Count Benedykt Tyszkiewicz, studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow. He was sentenced to 20 years in exile in Kniaginin for participating at the very beginning of his career in the 1863 uprising. He was only given permission to go abroad to continue his art studies in 1872. After staying for a while in Krakow with his brother Aleksander, where he made the acquaintance of Jan Matejko, he went to stay in Józef Ignacy Kraszewski’s house in Dresden in 1873. He was exiled again in 1875, and lived in Kharkov and Sumy. By 1882, he had painted 266 pictures. He returned to Vilnius in 1883 when he was pardoned by the Tsar. He became known as a painter of religious pictures and portraits, painted several genre scenes, and restored old paintings. In 1888 he married Anna Bolcewicz (1845–1923), the widow of the famous photographer Józef Czechowicz. They had two children together: a daughter Johanna and a son Ludomir, who also became a famous artist. The portrait of his wife’s namesake Anna (or maybe she was his future wife?) that he painted in 1878 in Kharkov radiates a love of life, reflects the painter’s admiration for his model, and exudes no bitterness of exile, sadness or nostalgia. Text author Giedrė Jankevičiūtė.


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