Henryk Siemiradzki - The Rape of the Sabine Women
The Rape of the Sabine Women
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Henryk Siemiradzki (Pečenegi, Ukraine 1843 - Strzalkowo, Poland 1902)

Siemiradzki was born to a Polish szlachta family of a military physician in the village of Novobelgorod (now Pechenegi) near Kharkov, Ukraine. He studied at Kharkov Gymnasium where he learned painting under a scion of Karl Briullov and D. I. Besperchy. He entered the Physics-Mathematics School of Kharkov University but continued his painting lessons from Besperchy.

After graduating from the University with the degree of Kandidat he abandoned his scientific career and moved to Saint Petersburg to study painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts in the years 1864-1870. Upon his graduation he was awarded a gold medal. In 1870-1871 he studied under Karl von Piloty in Munich on a grant from the Academy. In 1871 he moved to Rome, while spending summers at his estate in Strzalkowo, near Czestochowa in Poland.

In 1873 he received the title of an Academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts for his painting Christ and a Sinner on a verse by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy. In 1876-1879 Siemiradzki worked on frescoes for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Moscow). In 1879 he offered one of his best-known works, the enormous Pochodnie Nerona (Nero's torches), painted 1876, to the fledgeling Polish National Museum in Kraków. In 1893 he worked on two large paintings for the State Historical Museum (Moscow).

He died in Strzalkowo in 1902. Originally he was buried in Warsaw but later his remains were moved to the national Pantheone on Skalka in Kraków.