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From the memories of Adam Szemesz

“On the second floor of the building at Vilnius University next to the Astronomy Observatory, there were auditoria and one of them was quite far away from the others. That one was for sketching classes. It was closed all day and opened from 5 p.m. It was a big square room with vaults. There was still some painting on the vaults from Jesuit times, but it was impossible to see what was depicted because of the covering of dust and soot. At the heater, which usually gave off a lot of heat, in the middle of the side wall, there was a stage over half a cubit tall with a mattress and some installations for standing, sitting or laying a live model for sketching. A rope hung down from the vaults and was for the model to hold on if they needed to stand with a hand above their head. On both sides of the stage there were two stands for busts that were being drawn. Above the model, there was a lamp on the vaults; actually it was a lustre, consisting of tin-plate lamps fed with oil from a central reservoir.

Around the room, there were three half-circle rows of low benches that reminded one of benches for feet used in Lithuania but were a bit taller. They were for students sitting with the table on their knees. You could see different faces and types of people. Some of them (but not very many) obviously belonged to high society and others were clearly rural people with frock-coats from rude material ... among them sapphires shone on the collars and metal buttons of university uniforms, as there were students from other faculties who liked sketching or students from sketching school who were dressed in them. Actually, they were not under the strict jurisdiction of the university administration and the bedel, but nevertheless wore uniforms to obtain academic posture and importance. In that multi-coloured crowd you could easily recognise professor Rustem because of his striking face and head covered with a red fez. He went from one student to another, thrusting his way among the benches and tables of drawing students with difficulty, and made corrections to their work in a low voice, explaining what he was changing. Silence reigned over the hall even if there was never a bedel. It was enough that the much-loved and respected professor was there.”

A. Szemesz. Wspomnienia o szkole malarskiej wileńskiej // Athenaeum. Wilno, 1844, v. 6, p. 209–211