The 19th century military uniform in the graphic works of Aleksander Orłowski

For our country, the Defender of the Motherland Day is a holiday of courage, strength of mind, military valour and dedicated worship to the interests of Russia. It embodies patriotism, nobility and bravery, the unbreakable bond of generations and continuity of traditions. The notion of the honour of the regiment has for hundreds of years served as the moral core of the outlook and behaviour of soldiers and officers of all armies and navies of the world. It is associated with discipline, loyalty, integrity and professionalism. Historically, 'honour of the uniform' referred to chivalric traditions and principles where service in the army was considered the highest calling and was regarded as noble and honourable. Wearing the uniform was not only a privilege but also an obligation to uphold the honour and status of one's military organisation.

Military uniforms emerged in the middle of the 17th century, and the main requirements they had to meet were functional convenience, uniformity across branches of the army, and difference from the uniforms of other countries. The uniform always served as a reminder of military valour, honour and sense of military camaraderie. It was believed that the military uniform was prestigious and, to some extent, elitist men's clothing. First of all, it concerned the ceremonial uniform, which was worn on ceremonial occasions and was intended for that very purpose.

For the festive day we have prepared a thematic photo album "The 19th century military uniform in the graphic works of Alexander Orłowski".
The 19th century was the "golden age" of the Russian officer corps and the period when the history of Russian painting and the Russian army were intertwined in the most surprising way. The art of Russian artist Alexander Orłowski, a Pole by birth, who lived half his life in Russia, was closely connected with the artistic culture of both countries. In his works, the artist vividly responded to the exciting problems of the time. Poetic lines were dedicated to the artist by Adam Mickiewicz in his poem "Pan Tadeusz":

"The artist Mr Orłowski was famous,
The capital was proud of him.
I have a sketch of him, it's kept in a table!
I swear by my mother that in this paradise life.
Orłowski longed for his abandoned fatherland,
He seemed to love it more and more as the years went by.
And forever painted the nature of sweet Poland!"

Alexander Pushkin, praised in verse the remarkable sides of Alexander Orłowski talent in Pushkin's poem "Ruslan and Lyudmila":
"Take your quick pencil,
Draw, Orłowski, the night and the battle!"

"Quick pencil" implied vividness of the image, aptness of characterisation, the ability to summarise his life observations in an extremely concise form.

Alexander Pushkin also recalled A. Orłowski in "A Journey to Arzrum":
"Ugly, shaggy-haired horses, familiar to you from the beautiful drawings by Orłowski… are grazing by tilt carts".

Alexander Orłowski was a battle painter and genre artist that arrived in Russia in 1802, and soon became involved in the development of sketches of uniforms for the Imperial Battalion of Militia and Guards regiments. In 1819, Alexander Orłowski was assigned to the General Staff to create drawings of military costumes. Since 1819, Orłowski served as a draftsman and painter of the 10th grade in the military topographical depot of the General Staff and created sketches of new military uniforms.

Orłowski was a talented artist who was able to capture the characteristic features of the depicted faces and figures, giving them vividness and movement. In addition to oil paintings, Orłowski created many pencil, watercolour and pen drawings, which can be found in the albums of royalty and art lovers. Many of these works, depicting mainly Cossacks, the Bashkirs and other equestrians, rushing troikas and scenes of common people's life, were lithographed by the painter.

Ref.: https://obzorposudy.ru/polezno/cto-znacit-vyrazenie-cest-mundira
Alexander Osipovich Orłowski. Aszarkina Esfir Nikolaevna. "Art", Moscow. 1968