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In 1873, on his way to Saint Petersburg, Henryk Siemiradzki visited his relatives in Koroleszczewice on the Świsłocz River. During his visit, Siemiradzki met his cousin Maria Pruszyńska, he fell in love with her and his love was reciprocated. They got married the same year. The oil sketch, rare in his oeuvre, depicting the banks of the Świsłocz, was a reminiscence of this visit. The river, now within the territory of Belarus, has been painted from a close distance. The bank of the irregularly meandering river is overgrown with rushes. In the centre of the composition rises the twisted trunk of a leafless tree. A green, flat meadow stretches on the left, and rural buildings can be seen in the distance. The landscape is complemented by genre staffage – children minding a bevy of geese. Unlike Siemiradzki’s Italian works, this composition is marked by a dark, dull tonality oscillating between greens and browns. The simple landscape motif, devoid of the picturesque, contributes to the calm, melancholy mood of this painting.

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