Eugeniusz Steinsberg (1855-?) began his painting studies at the private school of Andrzej Grabowski in Krakow. Continuing his studies at the Munich Academy, he enrolled in the drawing class of Johann Caspar Herterich and sculpture of Ludwig von Löfftz. After returning to the country, he debuted in 1888 in the Krakow TPSP, where he often exhibited in the following years. In 1899, Raczyński purchased the Smog to the gallery, an example of the often–taken theme of the sentimental, symbolically–filled landscape or genre scene by the artist. The Smog is also an excellent example of the skillful harmonization of the tonal color palette with the aura and elegiac mood of the mourning procession.
Description of the image:
Down a snow–covered cemetery avenue, a funeral procession is making its way. Preceding it is a group of gravediggers bent under the weight of a black coffin. The mourners, buffeted by the wind and dusted with snow, are seen from behind. Their dark figures, dusted with snow, merge almost with the monochromatic cemetery surroundings. Thus, they become as anonymous as the gravestones and crosses crowded to the sides. All this intensifies the atmosphere of sadness, uncertainty and existential emptiness. However, the movement of the cortège and the towering, bending under the pressure of the wind, leafless trees oppose this overwhelming realism. Nature is alive. Therefore, the overpowering realism is accompanied by hope for the eternal renewal of nature and a romantic belief in the fact that “Death is not destruction, but transformation […] Death is only a transition to another life, not to death“.