Smolensk is a symbolic border place in Polish-Lithuanian-Russian history. Part of medieval Kyivan Rus', the city was taken by Lithuania in 1404, by Russia in 1514, by Poland-Lithuania again in 1611, and then permanently by Russia in 1654, as the Commonwealth went into decline.
The painting above (by Jan Matejko, 1862) depicts the legendary sixteenth-century court jester Stańczyk gravely pondering the loss of Smolensk to Muscovy in 1514, as the Polish royal court carelessly carouses behind him.
For more on this history - in particular, on the Polish-Russian wars of the early seventeenth century (including the brief occupation of the Moscow Kremlin by Polish-Lithuanian forces) - have a listen to the latest episode of my Brief History of Poland. https://notesfrompoland.com/2021/04/01/nfp-podcast-a-brief-history-of-poland-part-5-conflict-in-the-seventeenth-century/
NfP podcast: a brief history of Poland, part 5 (conflict in the seventeenth century)
The fifth episode of our history series looks at the Polish-Russian wars, Sarmatian culture, uprising in Ukraine, and conflict with the Turks.https://notesfrompoland.com/2021/04/01/nfp-podcast-a-brief-history-of-poland-part-5-conflict-in-the-seventeenth-century/