Lights and (painting) images in Ozimina
In his novel Ozimina [Winter Crop] Wacław Berent presented the state of minds on the eve of the 1905 revolution. The party at Baron and Baroness Nieman’s and then during the demonstration in the streets of Warsaw feature changing points of view, attitudes and ideas of people taking part in them. Everything is on the move. However, from time to time the movement is stopped by painting-like images. These images (an impressionist image of guests in the drawing room, grotesque presentation of dinner, portraits of women, monumental head of the demonstration, Mazovian landscape, symbolist image bringing to mind the Demeter myth) become in a commentary making the chaotic string of scenes in the novel more coherent. However, the last of these images, which is to express the idea behind the novel, simplifies the complications contained in it.
Sources of light in those pictures are artificial sources in the party scenes — from candles, through gas or kerosene lighting, to electric lighting; its variety suggests transformations of civilisation as well as changes in social stratification. Sunlight, on the other hand, gradually building the Mazovian landscape and then the view of the Krakowskie Przedmieście street, brings out the groundbreaking and complex nature of the historical moment captured in the novel.