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A genial Polish painter, drawer and illustrator. His preferences included horses and history painting. An art visionary (


Born on October 29, 1824 in Nowy Wiśnicz.

Juliusz Kossak was a senior of the many-talented Kossak family. His admirer, Stanisław Witkiewicz, wrote as follows:

his star had shined with the brightest glare for fifty years of the last century (i.e. nineteenth century)
Juliusz Kossak belonged to the generation of Polish romantics interested in history, battlepiece and genre painting. These painters created their works “towards hearts’ refreshment” and harked back constantly to the tradition, the noble custom and the knightly past.

Whatever lived within area of Poland, all that lives and will live in Kossak’s works – noticed Stanisław Witkiewicz.

Juliusz Kossak’s artistic career was formed by the artistic and gentry circles. He frequented Potocki family in Łańcut, Baworowski, Rozwadowski, Dzieduszycki, Sanguszko and their families at their mansion houses where, as he commented in his “Autobiography”:
I portrayed each of the beautiful horses (…) I painted horses, dogs, wolves and Kozaks. Juliusz Kossak owed a lot an Arabian horse expert, Władysław Rozwadowski, whereby he met Piotr Michałowski, 
the most superb horse painter.

The common motive of all Juliusz Kossak’s creation periods was a horse – a hero of history, landscape and genre paintings as well as portraits of riders and horses of different colours; a horse was a symbol of romantic freedom and liberty. Juliusz Kossak was also a horse expert and psychologist; he knew horses, understood their psyche and admired their beauty and movement elegance.

Arabian horses played a special role in Juliusz Kossak’s creation; they were a synonym not only a beauty but also the Orient highly respected by romantics. Expeditions to the East to buy Arabian horses became simply an obligatory stage of young generation education. The Arabian horses were also heroes of innumerable pages of poems depicting their beauty.

Juliusz Kossak showed the beloved horses simply masterfully. At first, there were rigid portraits of noble horses; at the next period, horses occurred in more and more expanded scenes showing their temperament, uproar, gallopade, movement. He painted, always on order, stud farms of exceptional beauty, borderland landscapes, most often Podolian, with wide, hazy horizons; they were the stud farms of the following owners: Stanisław Dunin-Borkowski, Sanguszko family, Jan Tarnowski, Przybysław Śreniawita; the paintings include the real masterpieces, eg. “Stud farm at Podolia” of 1886 or “Stud farm at meadow” of 1891. He registered also appassionato scenes depicting wolf, bear, fox hunt and bustard hunting with greyhounds wherein horses played leading roles, of course. Also, he returned readily to scenes from horse fairs where he seized the opportunity to present different breeds and different horse temperaments.

Juliusz Kossak was also undisputed master of watercolour technique in which he obtained absolute mastery. Thanks to his simply photographic memory, he created his compositions with amazing ease. He used sparing of colour, clear, soft and pictorial water-colour with superiority of warm, rust-coloured and golden tones.

Juliusz Kossak was a senior of the many-talented, both in painting and in literature, family. The painters were: the ancestor Juliusz; his brother Leon (dead childlessly) – a participant of risings, a Siberian deportee, an aquarellist-amateur; Juliusz’s son, Wojciech, a continuator of his father’s art; Wojciech’s son, Jerzy; the second Juliusz’s grandson, Karol, who was son of Stefan, brother of Wojciech.

Literary abilities came to light in the third generation, at both Wojciech’s daughters: Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, a poetess, and Magdalena Starzewska-Niewidowska, a writer, who wrote under a psedonym Magdalena Samozwaniec; and at Tadeusz’s daughter, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka-Szatkowska (Tadeusz was Wojciech’s twin brother).

Author: Stefania Krzysztofowicz-Kozakowska

Juliusz Kossak died on February 3, 1899 in Kraków, at the age of 75. He is buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków (northern section XIIb, main avenue, the family tomb).

Polish Digital Equestrian Library:

Click the links below to go to the Polish Digital Equestrian Library (will open in a new tab):

„’Fabryczka’ Kossaków…” (2021) – S. Krzysztofowicz-Kozakowska

„Kossakowie ; The Kossaks” [PL+EN] (2016) – Praca zbiorowa

„Kossakowie” [PL, EN] (2015) – S. Krzyształowicz-Kozakowska

„Kossakowie” (2005) – S. Krzyształowicz-Kozakowska

„Kossakowie” (2001) – S. Krzyształowicz-Kozakowska

„Juliusz Kossak” (2000) – Kazimierz Olszański

„Niepospolity ród Kossaków” (2000) – Zespół redakcyjny

„Juliusz Kossak” (1988) – Kazimierz Olszański

„Kossakowie” (1986) – Zespół redakcyjny

„Sztuka dynastii Kossaków” (1986) – Stanisław Ledóchowski

„Juliusz Kossak — piewca urody koni” (1974) – Stanisław Ledóchowski

„Juliusz Kossak” (1900) – Stanisław Witkiewicz

Juliusz Kossak – Art Visionary | PCBJ

Related articles:

Wojciech Kossak

An art visionary. A painter. A graduate of the Art Schools in Cracow and Munich. He is an author of such works as: ‘Olszynka Grochowska’, ‘Attack of 5th Zamojscy Uhlans Regiment’, ‘Uhlan’s rest’.

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Soldiers of light cavalry on the Rhine river – Juliusz Kossak 1866
Stud farm at Podolia – Juliusz Kossak 1886