The Last Day of a Condemned Man

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The Last Day of a Condemned Man painting

The Last Day of a Condemned Man, also known as the Condemned Cell, is the first hand-painted masterpiece of the Hungarian painter, Mihály Munkácsy. It portrays the highwayman’s theme, which was popular at that time and which was based on the painter’s personal experience during the early years of his life. The painting depicts a middle-aged highwayman who is condemned to death, sitting on a chair inside his prison cell. His face is filled with sadness and remorse of his ill-fated destiny, as evidenced by his eyebrows which were drawn close together. His hands are curled in a fist: his right hand on top of a table with a white tablecloth linen, where two candles are lit on a candlestick, his left arm is rested on the chair he’s sitting on. His left foot points outward and is bounded by a chain. He looks down to the floor where an open black book faced lying down; some of its pages are torn, situated at the lower right of the painting. At the lower left of the painting is a copper-colored bowl laying empty on the floor. At the upper left corner of the painting is a guard in uniform who is holding a stick or some weapon, resting his back against the wall. The painter uses mostly dark hues on the image which brought him success along with the skillful use of realism.