Henryk Siemiradzki, studio of
Christ at the Home of Mary and Martha
Oil on canvas (relined). 68.5 x 104 cm.
Inscribed lower left: H. Siemiradszki. Pinx. A.D. MDCCCLXXXVI/Roma.
As Olga Sugrobova-Roth has noted in communication with the previous owner, this painting is a studio replica of a well-known composition by Henryk Siemiradzki, the prime version of which is now housed in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
Henryk Siemiradzki was one of the leading representatives of late academic painting in Russia. He gained particular renown for his monumental depictions of scenes from ancient history. After training at the Academy in St. Petersburg, he studied under Karl Theodor von Piloty in Munich, among others, before moving to Rome, where he spent most of his artistic career. This painting showing Christ with Martha and Mary is, like his “Christ and the Adulteress”, one of the biblical depictions in Siemiradszki's œuvre and was first shown at the 1866 Academy Exhibition in Berlin before being exhibited in St. Petersburg, where it was immediately acquired by the Russian government. This fact explains the emergence of high-quality replicas such as the present work, which were made to satisfy the demand of private collectors for Siemiradszki's compositions.