This enormous 140m-long (450-ft.) "panorama" painting dates from the late 19th century and depicts the battle of Raclawice on April 4, 1794, when a Polish force led by national hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko defeated the Russian army. The battle came at a time when Poland faced threats from the east, west, and south, and aroused hopes that Poland might survive as a nation. Those hopes proved short-lived. A few months later, in November 1794, the Polish uprising was crushed, and Poland was later divided among Prussia, Russia, and Austria in the infamous Polish partition. The painting itself, executed while Poland was still partitioned, was a bold national statement at the time, and still evokes strong national sentiment. In the years following World War II, the painting was hidden from view lest its anti-Russian sentiments offend the Soviet overlords. After the rise of the Solidarity in the 1980s, the painting was finally unveiled to the general public in 1985.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010