'Throughout my childhood and adulthood, it has always been the last thing I look at before I go to sleep.'
Roxanna Panufnik says:
‘My godfather Andre Dzierzynski gave me this painting when I was six months old.
‘The two lonely trees are in memory of his godfather and the Catholic priest Andrzej Nodzynski, who baptised him, both of whom were murdered in the Second World War.
‘Throughout my childhood and adulthood, it has always been the last thing I look at before I go to sleep. Despite those tragic trees, it’s like a visual comforter.
‘I love the swirl of the wind in the clouds and the way the sky melts into the end of a sunset. Dobranoc ’
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Roxanna Panufnik is a composer. The world premiere of her Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light will be performed at the Last Night of the Proms on September 8
John McEwen says:
This picture belongs to my very early years, when memories of my youth were fading and I was unable to visit Poland. The communist regime stripped me of my Polish nationality in 1970, as it had robbed my father of his in 1945.
It is an invented landscape from part of Poland called Kujawy, where there is an ancient town called Raciazek.
The two lonely trees are in memory of two brothers of my maternal grandmother: Rev Andrzej Nodzynski, who baptized me in Raciazek and was murdered by the Germans in 1939, together with other Polish clergy; and Tomasz Nodzynski, my godfather, murdered in Auschwitz in 1940.
Mr Dzierzynski was born in Warsaw, his father an electronics specialist, his mother a primary-school teacher. War separated his parents; his father was in the UK with the exiled Polish army. Reading art history at Warsaw University aroused Mr Dzierzy-nski’s ambition to be an artist.
It was fulfilled when, permitted to visit his father, he took advantage of his automatic right to remain. He began to to paint landscapes, inspired by ‘the most internationally and brilliant English watercolourists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Since 1985, Mr Dzierzynski has forsaken oil painting for the medieval technique of egg tempera and, for almost 50 years, has divided his time between London’s Chelsea and a remote Tuscan hermitage: The beauty of the Earth is a reflection of the beauty of the Creator and the peace of the woods around my Italian home I can only guess is a poor reflection of Eternal Rest – if we deserve it!
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