Title: All Souls' Day
Artist: Witold Pruszkowski
Medium: Oil on Canvas
In Western Christianity, All Souls’ Day commemorates the faithful departed. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven, may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass. Traditionally, those observing All Souls’ day would attend the cemetery to visit, bless and decorate the graves. Loved ones often offer a spray of flowers or lighted candles. The lighted candles signify that the love, hope and joy they shared with departed shall be kept forever burning.
Pruszkowski’s haunting painting captures the both the ethereal otherworldliness of the cemetery, and the plaintive loss depicted on the young woman’s face. Rendered as though the viewer has interrupted a private moment of reflection, her eyes – wide - speak to us even through the diffuse light of the scene. Only a single candle burns. Faint, but resolute.
Witold Pruszkowski (1846 – October 10, 1896) was a Polish painter and draughtsman. He lived his youth in