Juozapas Oleškevičius

Juozapas Oleškevičius (Józef Oleszkiewicz, 1777-1830) – artist and painter. He was born in 1777 in Šiluva and died in 1830 in St. Petersburg on 5 October 1830. During 1798-1802, he studied drawing and painting at Vilnius University with Pranciškus Smuglevičius (Franciszek Smuglewicz) and Jonas Rustemas (Jan Rustem). While being supported by Aleksandras Chodkevičius, a well-known patron and collector, he continued his studies during 1803-1806 at the Paris Academy of Fine Arts with Jean Simon Berthelemey and Jacques Louis David. During 1806-1811, he lived in Vilnius (in 1810, he organised here a personal exhibition) and in 1811 permanently moved to St. Petersburg. In 1812, he received the title of an academician of the Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts for the painting “Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, patron of the poor”. He created historical, allegorical and religious compositions, but portraits make up the largest part of the inheritance left by him. He created the portraits of nobles and professors of Vilnius University, namely, Jeronimas Stroinovskis, Mykolas Počobutas (both until 1810); a group portrait of K., A. and E. Tišinskiai (1813), Adomas Čartoriskis, Leonas Sapiega, Mikalojus Radvila (1820-1830), “Three Women”, etc. The stylistics of the works reveals the influence of French neoclassicism. In the later period, the features of sentimentalism and mysticism as well as the tendencies of early romanticism became more prominent. He created compositions of the mythological genre (“Antiochus and Stratonice”, 1810). Juozapas Oleškevičius was known not only as an artist, but also as an extraordinary personality, a Masonic figure holding in the order one of the highest positions, a mysticist and a philanthropist.

Source: Lithuanian Integral Museum Information System (LIMIS).