Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz (1853-1916) studied at the Krakow School of Fine Arts under Władysław Łuszczkiewicz from 1868 to 1873, then at the Vienna and Munich Academies. For many years he travelled around Europe and the Middle East, painting for local courts and aristocracies. From 1874 to 1901 he exhibited his works at the Krakow and Lviv Polytechnic Societies, as well as at Polish and European salons. He is renowned for his representational portraits of ruling families and the aristocracy. He also created battle scenes and genre scenes, often from the exotic East.
Description of the painting: The portrait shows a man in a bust view from a half profile. The figure emerges from a dark, almost blurred background, lightened around its contours. The model is dressed in a hussar’s armor, with a helmet – a szyszak – on his head. A bearded face of the man emerges from the dark steel. It is shown in concentration and gravity, with its gaze turned to the right, embedded in space. The features of the man are sharp, corresponding to the image of a knight. The armor emphasizes the severity of the model’s face, and the way it is presented gives nobility to the figure.
The portrait is realistic, almost monochromatic. In order to introduce a three-dimensionality, the artist used the properties of steel, presenting light reflections reflected on it. The work is influenced by the Munich School. The used color range is close to the Munich sauce, and the stimmung – a specific mood of the painting, created by the dark background and almost depicting the state of the portrayed soul. Ajdukiewicz, performing the portrait, showed both the physicality of the figure and its psychological portrait. Looking at the picture, the viewer sees a knight experienced in battle, aware of his duties.