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Józef Brandt
Ein Gefecht
oil on canvas
Canvas: 59 1/4 × 118 5/8 inches (150.5 × 301.3 cm)Framed: 60 1/4 × 119 × 2 inches (153 × 302.3 × 5.1 cm)
Credit Line
Museum purchase.
Accession Number
Józef Brandt’s Ein Gefecht portrays a 1656 skirmish between Polish and Swedish forces, in which a small village occupied by a detachment of Swedes was suddenly attacked by a squadron of Polish lancers, depicted charging in from the right. Brandt's scene was inspired by Henryk Sienkiewicz's epic novel The Deluge, first published in Poland in 1886. In his book, Sienkiewicz describes in explicit detail this encounter between the Swedish King's Guards and the Polish Panzer Hussars in the village of Rudnik. The Swedes were so surprised by the Polish attack that their king, who had taken refuge in Rudnik, barely escaped with his life.

Józef Brandt was born in Poland in 1841 and studied engineering in Paris before moving to Munich to pursue a career in art. He achieved great success as a painter of battles and military subjects, and at the time of his death in 1915 was recognized as one of Poland’s greatest artists.