* 1841 Szczebrzeszyn
† 1915 Radom
The Polish historical painter Jozef Brandt was born in Szczebrzeszyn near the Polish-Ukrainian border in 1841. In 1858 he went to Paris and enrolled at the engineering school Ecole Centrale. Jozef Brandt became acquainted with the Polish painter Juliusz Kossak in Paris, which may have inspired Brandt to turn to painting. In 1863 he moved to Munich and became a student of Carl von Piloty at the Academy of Fine Arts. In addition he took lessons with the horse- and battle scene painter Franz Adam through whom Jozef Brandt came in contact with the painter Theodor Horschelt. Horschelt had specialized in battle scenes after he had accompanied the Russian army as painter for some time. As of 1867 Jozef Brandt had his own studio in Munich. After the oppression of the Polish uprising through the Russians, many Polish painters fled to Munich and a large Polish community began to form. Jozef Brandt soon became the center and most important representative of the circle of Polish painters and taught many Polish students in his studio. In 1878 Jozef Brandt was appointed professor at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts where a lot of Polish immigrants were among his students.
Jozef Brandt also specialized in battle paintings and the depiction of war scenes. His earlier paintings are still quite conventional, showing scenes from the Thirty Years War and other historical battles. However, he soon attained his successful key themes – the depiction of hussars, Cossack or Tatar warriors which he rendered in their gaudy uniforms mounted on horses with great authenticity. Additionally, he captured the vast landscape like hardly any other painter. As it was typical for academy painting, Jozef Brandt also executed his pictures in the studio. Together with his painter colleague Wladyslaw Szerner he traveled to his Polish home country and visited the Ukraine, spending the summer months with his wife on the family‘s estate in the village of Oronsko near Radom, where countless sketches came into existence.
Jozef Brandt died in Radom on June 12, 1915.