Napoleonas Ylakavičius

Napoleonas Ylakavičius (Napoleon Illakowicz, 1811-1861) – painter. He began to study art at the drawing lessons given by Motiejus Pšibilskis at Vilnius Gymnasium, later studied at Vilnius University with Jonas Rustemas (Jan Rustem). He participated in the November Uprising (1831), subsequently emigrated to France. He continued art studies in Paris. In 1836, he moved to Spain; after living for a short while in Saragossa, he was imprisoned by Carlist partisans led by General Ramon Cabrera. During the period of his captivity, he painted the portraits of the general, his relatives and members of the military staff. Two years later, he returned to France, created decorations for the theatre and the church of Bordeaux as well as churches and palaces of Southern France. Later on, he studied at the workshop of Michel Martin Drolling in Paris, studied lithography at the Cavalry School in Samour, travelled to Switzerland and Italy. In 1848, he was in Austria, and during the preparation for the uprising, visited Krakow and went to Lvov, where he remained up until 1850 under the covert surname of Cibulskis. Subsequently, he went to France and then to London. He worked at the royal manor and painted portraits and landscapes for the private gallery of Queen Victoria. In 1857, he returned to Vilnius, where, for the reason of his contacts with political emigrants in London, especially Stanislovas Vorcelis, he was under the surveillance of the Tsarist police up until the end of his life.He painted portraits (“Self-portrait”, 1852, “Adomas Jurgis Čartoriskis”, 1852, “Lajošas Košutas”, 1853), landscapes, household and historical scenes (“Vladislovas Jogaila before the Battle of Grunwald”), decorated interiors of churches, created religious paintings for the altars of churches in Smurgainiai, Sudervė, Vidiškės and Juzefovas (Infantai).

Source: [A. H. Kirkor] Napoleon Illakowicz/kurier Wilenski. 1862. Nr. 29; SAP, III (V Drėma, Z. Nowak).