Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter

See also: Eleuter
Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter
Born Jerzy Szymonowicz
ca. 1660
Lwów, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Died ca. 1711
Lwów, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Nationality Polish
Known for Painting, Engraving
Movement Baroque
Patron(s) John III Sobieski

Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter (born Jerzy Szymonowicz; ca. 1660 – ca. 1711) was a prominent Polish painter and engraver of the Baroque, court painter of king John III Sobieski[1] and a Polish–Lithuanian noble. He is considered one of the most accomplished painters of Classical Baroque in Poland, who joined in his works classical theory with genuine motives.[2]

Life and professional career

Siemiginowski (born as Szymonowicz) was the son of a painter, Jerzy Szymonowicz and Teodozja née Korunka, born in Lwów (Lviv) in the mighty Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (today part of Ukraine). In 1677 he was entrusted to the king John III Sobieski by his parents and was sent by the king to Rome.[2] Before he went to Rome he probably spent at least a year, possibly two, in Paris. In 1682 due to recommendation of king John III he was admitted to Accademia di San Luca in Rome, he receive the Knighthood of the Golden Spur and the title of Eques Auratus from the Pope Innocent XI. On 11 January 1682 he also took first place award in the Academy's contest for two of his drawings Construction of the Tower of Babel, and God's anger caused by the building of a tower and was protected by the Pope's nephew Livio Odescalchi.[2] In Rome he was trained by Lazzaro Baldi, Luigi Garzi[2] and Carlo Maratta.[3]

Plafond Allegory of Autumn, 1681-1682

Shortly after his return to Poland in 1684 he was ennobled by the king and took the name of Chevalier Eleuter (Greek for free, independent). In 1687 John III granted him the village Łuka near Zolochiv to confirm his nobility.[2] After king's death he became secretary of Augustus II the Strong and was a court painter of Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski.[2] At that time he still worked in Wilanów (Sobieski's suburban palace) and supervised the construction of new palace's wings. In 1701 he was adopted by the impoverished noble family of Siemiginowski (he paid them lot of money for this privilege) and since that time he used their name.[2] Siemiginowski was married four times and had 11 children. In 1704 he had a house in Warsaw and a manor house at Wielopole near Warsaw. He died probably between February 28, 1708 and March 13, 1711.[2]

Siemiginowski-Eleuter was the main artist who was responsible for decorating and painting of the interior of Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.[1] His painting was heavily influenced by French artists of the Baroque. Similarities with plafonds by Charles Le Brun in his works (especially ceiling painting in Pavillon de l'Aurore in suburban Paris residence of Jean-Baptiste Colbert at Sceaux, 1671 or 1672) making his visit in Paris more probable. Influences of Carlo Maratta and Nicolas Poussin are also visible in his works (especially in his plafond Allegory of Spring in the Queen's Bedroom inspired by Maratta's Flora and Changes in the Kingdom of Flora by Poussin).[4] He painted antiquitised portraits of the members of the royal family and made engravings in participation of Charles de La Haye.[2] Siemiginowski painted many frescoes, notable for their many colors. His subject matter varied between dramatic scenes to peaceful landscapes. Among the most notable of his works are four plafonds of the four seasons in the Wilanów Palace.[5] Siemiginowski established his own school of painting in Wilanów and was a renowned architect (participated in designing of the Town Hall in Zhovkva).[2] Many of his religious paintings in Warsaw (Crucifixion in the Holy Cross Church, Transfiguration in the Capuchin Church among others) were destroyed during the extensive bombardment of the city by the Germans in 1944.[2]


  1. 1 2 "Siemiginowski, a painter of Jan III Sobieski". Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Renata Sulewska (2002). "Jerzy Eleuter Siemiginowski (Szymonowicz)". Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  3. Fijałkowski 1983, p. 22
  4. Fijałkowski 1983, p. 67
  5. Michael J. Mikoś. "Baroque". Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  • Fijałkowski, Wojciech (1983), Wilanów. Rezydencja Króla Zwycięzcy (Wilanów. The residence of the Victorious King) (in Polish), Warsaw: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza .

Works in Wilanów Palace

Ceiling paintings

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