Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by Tintoretto and circle of Titian
"The Queen is fresh and in such good health that I would not consider it a miracle if she were to become pregnant", reported from Warsaw on 29 January 1579, Giovanni Andrea Caligari (1527-1613), papal nuncio in Poland, about 56 years old Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, overweightness and obesity were considered symbols of sexual attractiveness and well-being" (Naheed Ali's "The Obesity Reality: A Comprehensive Approach to a Growing Problem", 2012, p. 7) and Anna's mother Bona Sforza, who visited Venice in 1556, was obese in her 40s and 50s, as visible in the cameo in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 17.190.869).
At the end of November 1575 Austrian legation arrived in Warsaw, officially promising the infanta marriage to Archduke Ernest of Austria (1553-1592), the son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, and her relative as a grandson of Anna Jagellonica (1503-1547). But the offer was accepted very restrainedly and cautiously, even coldly. Anna was to reply modestly that she depended on the entire Republic and would only do what custom and the general will would require of her, and that she "entrusted her orphanage to God's holy protection" (after "Anna Jagiellonka" by Maria Bogucka, p. 118). The young Archduke, 30 years younger than the potential bride, undoubtedly received her effigy. News coming mainly from Vienna and Venice informed the general public about the course of 1575 royal election in the Commonwealth. The Fuggers, a prominent group of European bankers, learned about the election of Emperor Maximilian as king of Poland from reports sent from Vienna on December 16, 1575, and then from Venice (newspaper of 30 December) (after "Z dziejów obiegu informacji w Europie XVI wieku" by Jan Pirożyński, p. 141).
In the Jagiellonian University Museum in Kraków there is a painting attributed to Tintorretto from about 1575 (after "Muzeum Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego" by Karol Estreicher, p. 100). This painting was offered to the Cracow Academy by Franciszek Karol Rogawski (1819-1888) in 1881 (oil on canvas, 110 x 96 cm, inventory number 2526). According to Rogawski's record, the portrait features the queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro (1454-1510), and was acquired at Sedelmayer's auction in Vienna. It had earlier belonged to the Viennese gallery of Joseph Daniel Böhm (1794-1865) and was also attributed to Paolo Veronese, Battista Zelloti and circle of Bernardino Licinio (after "Foreign Painting in the Collections of the Collegium Maius" by Anna Jasińska, p. 146).
The crown on her head alludes to a royal dignity, however, the woman's costume does not resemble well known effigies of the queen of Cyprus by Gentile Bellini and can be compered to the dress of La Belle Nani by Paolo Veronese (Louvre Museum), dated to about 1560, or to the costume of a lady from The Madonna of the Cuccina Family (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden), also by Veronese, painted around 1571. Her face has the appearance of not being taken live, as points out Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo ("Un Michele da Verona e uno Jacopo Tintoretto a Cracovia", p. 104), who also attribute the canvas to Tintorretto. Therefore the painting was created after another effigy, a drawing or a miniature.
The same woman was also depicted holding a cross and a book in a painting in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel (inventory number GK 491), a copy of which was in the Swedish royal collection (18th century copy of lost original is in the Gripsholm Castle, inventory number NMGrh 187). The painting in Kassel is attributed to circle of Titian or specifically to his pupil Girolamo di Tiziano, also known as Girolamo Dante, and was acquired before 1749. This effigy is a pendant to portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in white by Titian, identified by me. The woman bears strong resemblance to effigies of Anna Jagiellon, especially the miniature by Lucas Cranach the Younger in the Czartoryski Museum and her tomb sculpture at the Wawel Cathedral.
Polish-Lithuanian magnates owned a number of paintings by Titian and Tintorretto, like Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł, who according to the Catalogue of his picture gallery, published in 1835 (Katalog galeryi obrazow sławnych mistrzów z różnych szkół zebranych przez ś. p. Michała Hieronima xięcia Radziwiłła wojew. wil. teraz w Królikarni pod Warszawą wystawionych), had a copy of Venus of Urbino by Titian (Portrait of Princess Isabella Jagiellon nude, identified by me), item 439 of the Catalogue, or "Portrait of a lady in a dark green dress trimmed with gold braid. She takes a flower from the basket with her right hand, and leaning, holds a crimson scarf with her left hand. Painting well preserved. - Painted on canvas. Height: elbow: 1, inch 16.5, width: elbow: 1, inch 10" (Portret damy, w sukni ciemno-zielonej, galonem złotym obszytej. Prawą ręką bierze z koszyka kwiatek, lewą oparta, trzyma szal karmazynowy. Obraz dobrze zachowany. - Mal. na płót. Wys. łok. 1 cali 16 1/2, szer. łok. 1 cali 10, item 33, p. 13), a landscape with staffage (item 213, p. 64) and an Italian landscape with a tree (item 273, p. 83), all attributed to Titian or Saint Paul and Anthony in the desert, painted on wood, attributed to Tintorretto (item 365, p. 108).
In 1574 Anna decided to reactivate the postal service between Poland and Venice, suspended in 1572 after death of her brother, and to do so at her own expense (after "Viaggiatori polacchi in Italia" by Emanuele Kanceff, p. 106). The Queen, heiress of the Neapolitan sums, used Montelupi's postal facilities, who through their own agents, maintained close contact with the bankers in Naples, who sent them sums of money with great frequency (after "Saeculum Christianum", Vol. 1-2, p. 36).
Anna was a well known benefactor of the Cracow Academy (now Jagiellonian University) and she visted it twice on 20 July 1576 and on 24 April 1584. Three days after her last visit she sent the doctors of the Academy a mug of pure gold and a few beautifully bound books.
If Elizabeth I (1533-1603), hereditary Queen of England, favoured the French fashion, especially "when the Anjou marriage negotiation were at their height" in about 1579 (Janet Arnold's "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd", 2020, p. 188), the elected Queen of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic, could prefer the fashion of the Venetian Serenissima.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Jacopo Tintoretto, ca. 1575, Jagiellonian University Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) holding a cross and a book by circle of Titian, 1560-1578, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) holding a cross and a book by Georg Engelhard Schröder after original by circle of Titian, 1724-1750, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Henry of Valois by workshop of Tintoretto
After the death of Sigismund II Augustus in 1572, Catherine of Medici, Queen of France, willing to make her favourite son Henry of Valois, Duke of Anjou the king of Poland, sent her court dwarf Jan Krasowski, called Domino to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under the guise of visiting his family in his homeland, he was to make some inquiries and explore the mood in the Commonwealth. Catherine used all her power to offer the crown to her son by influencing the noble electors.
In order to be more agreeable to the Ottoman Empire and strengthen a Polish-Ottoman alliance, on 16 May 1573, Polish-Lithuanian nobles chose Henry as the first elected monarch of the Commonwealth. He was officially crowned on 21 February 1574.
Expecting that Henry will marry her and she will become a Queen, Infanta Anna Jagiellon the wealthiest woman in the country and a sister of his predecessor, ordered French lilies to be embroidered on her dresses.
Despite the fact that he arrived to Poland with a large retinue of his young male lovers, known as the mignons (French for "the darlings"), including René de Villequier, François d'O and his brother Jean, Louis de Béranger du Guast and especially his beloved Jacques de Lévis, comte de Caylus (or Quélus), and that "he even flattered the Polish lords by cleverly adopting their attire", as wrote Venetian envoy Girolamo Lippomano, he was not feeling well in the unknown country.
After death of his brother Charles IX, Catherine urged him to return to France. During the night of 18/19 June 1574, Henry secretly fled the country.
The portrait of a man in black hat by workshop of Tintoretto from private collection in Milan is almost identical with the portrait of Henry depicted against the wall hanging with his coat of arms as King of Poland in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest by Italian painter (inventory 52.602) and his portrait holding a crown in the Doge's Palace in Venice (Sala degli Stucchi) by workshop of Tintoretto.
It bears no distinction, no reference to his royal status, as in mentioned two portraits in Budapest and Venice, he is depicted as a simple nobleman. It is higly probable then that it was one of a series of state portraits commissioned by Anna in Venice before Henry's coronation, as a clear signal that he should marry her before becoming a king.
The Infanta was most probably well aware of his inclination towards men, as apart from Krasowski, there were also other Polish dwarfs at the French court. Raised at the multicultural court of the Jagiellons, where people spoke Latin, Italian, Ruthenian, Polish and German, they were perfect diplomats. In 1572 king Sigismund Augustus sent to Charles IX, four dwarfs and in October that year, Claude La Loue brought another three dwarfs from Poland as a gift from Emperor Maximilian II, father of Charles IX's wife Elisabeth of Austria (after Auguste Jal's "Dictionnaire critique de biographie et d'histoire", 1867, p. 896).
A portrait, said to be Mariana of Austria with a female dwarf wearing a wimple from a private collection in Spain, lost, is very similar to the portrait of Elisabeth of Austria in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which is attributed to Giacomo de Monte (Netherlandish Jakob de Monte, according to some sources). Painter of similar name, Giovanni del Monte, possibly Giacomo's brother, is mentioned as a court painter of Sigismund Augustus before 1557. It is therefore highly probable that the portrait of Queen of France with her dwarf was created for or at the initiative of the Polish-Lithuanian court.
Portrait of Henry of Valois, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Tintoretto, ca. 1573, Private collection.
Portrait of Elisabeth of Austria, wife of Charles IX as a widow with a female dwarf wearing a wimple by Jakob de Monte, after 1574, Private collection, lost.
Miniature portrait of George Radziwill by workshop of the Bassanos or Sofonisba Anguissola
"In the name of the Lord, in the year 1575. On the 11th of October, which then fell on Tuesday, I left Buivydiškės. I left there my sick brother, the great court marshal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Nicolaus Christopher, and went to Italy with my younger brother, Albert", wrote in Latin in a diary of his journey George Radziwill (1556-1600), future cardinal (after "Dziennik podróży do Włoch Jerzego Radziwiłła w 1575 roku" by Angelika Modlińska-Piekarz).
Born in Italian style villa of his father in Lukiškės in Vilnius, George was raised and educated as a Calvinist. After his mother's death, in 1562, he spent some time at the royal court (perhaps as a page). Between 1571-1573, together with his brothers Albert and Stanislaus, he studied in Leipzig. In the summer of 1573, he accompanied his brother Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan" to France and after his return, together with his younger brothers, he converted to Catholicism on April 11, 1574.
Through Warsaw (October, 24-26), where he spent time with Infanta Anna Jagiellon, and Vienna (November, 12-20), where he met Emperor Maximilian II and his sons and where he saw "a beast of strange size, an elephant, sent as a gift to the emperor by Philip, king of Spain" on December 3 or 4 he arrived to Venice, the city "which, because of its beauty and its location, undoubtedly holds the priority palm among the cities of the whole world". He went to stay at the Magnificent White Lion, a German inn. He left the city in a hurry two days later, because of the suspicion of the plague, but during his brief stay he admired the St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Arsenal. "After leaving the arsenal, I was driven around the city for two hours, where I saw many magnificent and very beautiful buildings, especially in the great street that stretches the entire width of the city, in colloquial language it is called the Grand Canal, the beauty of which I could never get enough of". He did not specify which places he visited, it is possible that he was also taken to the famous Venetian painting workshops. George commissioned works of art in Italy for himself and his brother, like in 1579, when one of the Roman painters made an altar for Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan" (after "Zagraniczna edukacja Radziwiłłów: od początku XVI do połowy XVII wieku" by Marian Chachaj, p. 97).
From Venice he went to Padua and then via Florence further to Rome to study philosophy and theology. In the years 1575-1581 he stayed in Italy, Spain and Portugal. In 1581, already as a bishop (from 1579), he was strongly condemned by King Stephen Bathory for the incident with the confiscation and burning of Protestant books in Vilnius. That same year, in 1581 he was again in Venice, together with his elder brother Nicolaus Christopher (after "Ateneum Wilenskie", Volume 11, p. 158). Two years later, in 1583, he was ordained a priest (April 10), consecrated a bishop (December 26), and received the cardinal's beret in Vilnius on April 4, 1584. In March 1586 he set out for Rome, where on June 26 he received the cardinal's hat from Pope Sixtus V.
A two sided miniature in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (inventory number 1890, 4051, oil on copper, 10.2 cm) is on one side a reduced and simplified version of portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" by Francesco Bassano the Younger or workshop, created between 1580-1586, identified by me. The composition of the miniatures is not similar, so they were probably not created at the same time. Both portraits, although close to miniatures by the Bassanos in the Uffizi (1890, 4072, 9053, 9026), also relate to works of Sofonisba Anguissola, who moved to Sicily (1573), and later Pisa (1579) and Genoa (1581) and who could copy the paintings by the Bassanos. The young man in a ruff is presenting a ring on his finger, comparable to that visible in portraits of cardinal George Radziwill, possibly a souvenir of conversion, and his face resemble other effigies of the cardinal.
According to Silvia Meloni, a copy of the recto of this miniature is kept in Udine, noth of Venice, which presents on the back the eagle testing its children in the sun. Eagle was a symbol of the Radziwills and cardinal George used it in his coat of arms, like the one published in 1598 in Krzysztof Koryciński's In felicem ad vrbem reditvm [...] Georgii S. R. E. cardinalis Radziwil nvncvpati [...]. All travelers returning from Venice to Poland or going to Rome from Poland trough Venice had to drive close to Udine. According to George's diary he was in San Daniele del Friuli near Udine in 1575.
Miniature portrait of George Radziwill (1556-1600) by workshop of the Bassanos or Sofonisba Anguissola, 1575-1581, Uffizi Gallery.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Bassano and circle of Veronese
On 15 December 1575, in Wola near Warsaw, infanta Anna Jagiellon and her husband Stephen Bathory, Voivode of Transylvania were elected as monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Since the end of the 1570s Anna's court was bursting with life and she kept lively correspondence with many Italian princes, like Francesco I de Medici and his mistress Bianca Cappello, the daughter of Venetian nobleman Bartolomeo Cappello, exchanging news on politics and fashion, sending and receiving gifts (cosmetics, medicaments, crystal bowls and cups, luxury fancy goods, small pieces of furniture e.g. marble tables, silver incrusted boxes etc.) and even courtiers. "From February of 1581 to December of that year, several letters from the agent of Bianca Cappello [...] Alberto Bolognetti, described the perfect female dwarf he found for Cappello in Warsaw; the nana is described as having great "proportions" and being "very beautiful." The nana's travels through Cracow and Vienna were fully documented [...]" (Touba Ghadessi's "Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance", p. 63).
The portrait of a lady by circle of Paolo Veronese from the 1570s, traditionally identified as effigy of Catherine Cornaro (1454-1510), Queen of Cyprus, and known in at least three variants (in Vienna, Montauban and private collection), bears a strong resemblance to the miniature of Anna when a princess of Poland-Lithuania from about 1553. Also the gold cross pendant set with diamonds, visible on the portrait, is very similar to the one depicted on the print in the Hermitage Museum showing Anna (inventory ОР-45839).
The picture in Vienna (Kunsthistorisches Museum, inventory number GG 33) was painted in the same period and in the same style as the portrait of a bearded man with hourglass and astrolabe attributed to Francesco Bassano (Kunsthistorisches Museum, inventory number 5775), identifed by me as the portrait of king Stephen Bathory, Anna's husband. The portrait of the king was most probably offered before 1582 to Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria for his collection in the Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, while the "portrait of the Queen of Cyprus" was initially installed at the Stallburg, where various holdings of the Habsburg family were brought together and displayed, and later transferred to the Belvedere in Vienna (after "Wien. Fremdenführer durch die Kaiserstadt und Umgebung" by Dr. J. Spetau, p. 122). Like in the case of the Queen's likeness in her widowhood by Martin Kober, acquired from the Imperial collection in Vienna in 1936 (Wawel Royal Castle), her Habsburg relatives undoubtedly also received other effigies from different periods of her life. The Queen also sent them other valuable gifts, like oriental fabrics, also visble in described portaits by Francesco Bassano. The 1619 inventory of the estate of Emperor Matthias lists several textiles of Ottoman and Safavid manufacture offered by Anna to either Matthias or his brother Emperor Rudolf II, veils and handkerchiefs (after "Objects of Prestige and Spoils of War" by Barbara Karl, p. 136).
The portrait of a woman from Barbini-Breganze collection in Venice, today in Stuttgart, bears a strong resemblance to the portrait of Anna by Tintoretto in the Jagiellonian University (pose and features) and to her effigy in Vienna holding a zibellino (features and garments), also by Tintoretto.
Anna's strong familial and intellectual connections to Italy and a reputation as an advocate for women's educational pursuits within the scientific disciplines, persuaded Camilla Erculiani, an Italian apothecary, writer and natural philosopher from Padua in the Venetian Republic, to dedicate her work "Letters on Natural Philosophy" (Lettere di philosophia naturale), published in Kraków in 1584, to Anna. The Queen was also known for promoting education of girls at her court (after "Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy" by Meredith K. Ray, p. 118).
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Musée Ingres in Montauban.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in a robe of pink damask over a patterned brocade dress by Parrasio Micheli, 1575-1585, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
Allegorical portrait of Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Montemezzano
In July 1572 died Sigismund II Augustus, leaving the throne vacant and all the wealth of the Jagiellon dynasty to his three sisters. Anna, the only member of the dynasty present in the Commonwealth, received only a small portion of inheritance, but still became a very rich woman. Sigismund's death changed her status from a neglected spinster to the heiress of the Jagiellon dynasty.
In June 1574 an unexpected turn of events made her one of the favorites in the second election, after Henry of Valois left Poland and headed back to France. Jan Zamoyski reconciled different camps promoting Anna to the crown. On December 15, 1575, Anna was hailed the King of Poland in the Old Town Square in Warsaw. Jan Kostka and Jan Zamoyski, representing the parliament, came to her to ask for her consent. It was then that Anna was supposed to utter the phrase that she "would rather be a queen than a king's wife". A day later, the nobility recognized her definitively as the "Piast" king and Stephen Báthory, Voivode of Transylvania, was proposed as her husband.
The painting identified as allegory of Pomona from the old collection of the Czartoryski Museum bears a great resemblance to other effigies of Anna. A woman in rich costume is being offered a basket with apples, denoted as symbol of the royal power and a symbol of the bride in ancient Greek thought, and pink roses, which represented innocence and first love - Báthory was the first husband to the 52 years old queen.
Allegorical portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Francesco Montemezzano, 1575-1585, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by workshop of Tintoretto and Francesco Montemezzano
"There is a bridge across the Vistula near Warsaw, built at a great cost of Queen Anna, sister of King Sigismund Augustus, famous all over the Crown", wrote Venetian-born Polish writer Alessandro Guagnini dei Rizzoni (Aleksander Gwagnin) in his book Sarmatiae Europeae descriptio (Description of Sarmatian Europe), printed in Kraków in 1578.
On 5 April 1573, during the Royal Election after death of king Sigismund Augustus, the longest bridge of Renaissance Europe was opened to the public. The construction cost 100,000 florins, and Anna Jagiellon, willing to become a Queen, also allocated her own funds for this purpose. It was a great achievement and major political success praised by many poets like Jan Kochanowski, Sebastian Klonowic, Andrzej Zbylitowski and Stanisław Grochowski.
The bridge, built of huge oaks and pines brought from Lithuania, was 500 meters long, 6 meters wide, it consisted of 22 spans and stood on 15 supports/towers that protected the construction. The construction, however, required constant renovations and was partially broken several times by ice floes on the Vistula River. It was severely damaged after Anna's coronation (1 May 1576) and in his letters from 15 August 1576 to the starosts, King Stephen Bathory recommended the delivery of wood for repair. Again in 1578 and the renovation was managed by Franciszek Wolski, voit of Tykocin. The wood material was floated from the San river. The works were completed in 1582 and "Anna Jagiellon, Queen of Poland, spouse, sister and daughter of grand kings, ordered the construction of this brick fortified tower", according to inscription on bronze plaque in Museum of Warsaw commemorating the fortified Bridge Gate.
Anna, as her brother, undeniably ordered some portraits to commemorate her role in construction and maintenance of the bridge. The portrait from private collection in Milan, attributed to Tintoretto or Veronese and depicting a blond woman in a crown against the view of a bridge, fit perfectly. Her facial features resemble greatly the portrait by Tintoretto in the Jagiellonian University Museum.
The painter depicted the bridge only symbolically in a small window. The recipients of the painting should know what it is about, there was no need to change the convention of Venetian portrait painting to show the whole construction.
On her gown there is a symbol of six pointed star, in use since ancient times as a reference to the Creation and in Christian theology - star of Bethlehem. The star, was symbolic of light and of the preaching of Saint Dominic, who was the first to teach the Rosary as a form of meditative prayer, and become an attribute of Virgin Mary, as Queen of Heaven and as Stella Maris. The title, Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), is one of the oldest and most widespread titles applied to Virgin Mary. It came to be seen as allegorical of Mary's role as "guiding star" on the way to Christ.
The crown of stars is visible in a painting by Tintoretto in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (acquired from Francesco Pajaro in Venice in 1841), created in about 1570 showing Madonna and Child venerated by St. Marc and St. Luke, and in a painting of Madonna of the Rosary from Sandomierz, created by Polish painter in 1599 in which old Queen Anna was depicted with other members of her family and Saint Dominic.
Thanks to Queen Anna's efforts the rosary confraternities, which mainly existed in Kraków were extended to all of Poland on 6 January 1577 and the annual feast of rosary was solemnly celebrated throughout the Commonwealth. She also donated, among other things, a few precious jewels and necklaces with which the image of Black Madonna of Częstochowa was adorned. In 1587 the Queen received the Golden Rose from Pope Sixtus V, which she offered to the collegiate church of St. John in Warsaw, lost.
The same woman in similar pose and in similar gown was depicted in painting by Francesco Montemezzano from William Coningham's collection in London, now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a symbolic view of the bridge in Warsaw by workshop of Tintoretto, 1576-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Tintoretto, 1576-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a dog by Francesco Montemezzano, ca. 1582, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine with a portrait of queen Anna Jagiellon by Venetian painter
In 1556 having ambitions of becoming a Viceroy of Naples, Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Anna's mother, agreed to lend to her distant relative king Philip II of Spain a huge sum of 430,000 ducats at 10% annual interest, so-called "Neapolitan sums". Even when paid, the interest payment was late and according to some people the loan was one of the reasons why Bona was poisoned by her trusted courtier Gian Lorenzo Pappacoda.
On November 10, 1573, and November 15, 1574 Catherine Jagiellon, Queen of Sweden, who had the right to a part of the Neapolitan sums in her dowry (50,000 ducats) agreed to renounce and cede it to her sister Anna, as the dispute deteriorated Polish-Swedish relations.
The Commonwealth had bad experiences with a "foreign" candidate, Henry of Valois, who fled the country through Venice just few monts after election, therefore the only possible succesors of over 50 years old queen were children of her sister Catherine, Sigismund born in 1566 (elected as Commonwealth's monarch in 1587) and Anna born in 1568.
The painting in Madrid is very similar in style to two portraits of Anna from the same period (in Vienna and Kassel). The lady in her 40s or 50s depicted as the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven is a clear indication that the scene has no purely religious meaning and it is very similar to other effigies of Anna, especially to the portrait by Tintoretto in Kraków.
According to the researchers the canvas should be attributed to Palma il Giovane, who created paintings for Anna's nephew and sucessor, Sigismund III Vasa (Psyche cycle and a painting for the St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, destroyed during World War II) or Domenico Tintoretto, who painted several paintings for Anna's Chancellor, Jan Zamoyski.
In the collection of the Royal Wilanów Palace in Warsaw there is a painting representing highly erotic subject of Leda and the swan by Palma il Giovane or his workshop from the last quarter of the 16th century. It is uncertain how it found its way there, so the option that it was commissioned by Anna, who, as her mother Bona, was strongly engaged in maintaining good relation with her husband Stephen Bathory, is very probable.
The mystical marriage of Saint Catherine, a symbol of spiritual grace, should be interprated then that Catherine's children still have claims to the Neapolitan sums and the crown. Its history before 1746 is unknown, therefore it cannot be excluded that the painting was sent to the Spanish Habsburgs, just as her portrait in Vienna, personally by the queen.
In November 1575, hence shortly before her election, Anna sent to Spain her envoy Stanisław Fogelweder, who was her ambassador there until 1587. She also had her informal envoys in Spain, dwarves Ana de Polonia (Anna of Poland, died 1578) and Estanislao (Stanislaus, died 1579).
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine with a portrait of queen Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) by Venetian painter, possibly Palma il Giovane or Domenico Tintoretto, 1576-1586, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Leda and the swan by Palma il Giovane or workshop, fourth quarter of the 16th century, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
The Banquet of Cleopatra with portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Stephen Bathory and Jan Zamoyski by Leandro Bassano
On 1 May 1576, then 52 years old Infanta Anna Jagiellon married ten years younger Voivode of Transylvania Stephen Bathory and was crowned as co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Soon after the wedding the king started to avoid his elderly wife. He dedicated her just three wedding nights and didn't look into her bedroom afterward. The papal nuncio in Poland, Giovanni Andrea Caligari, reported in August 1578, that the king does not trust her, that he is afraid of being poisoned by her, an art her mother, Bona, was well acquainted with, and he adds in a letter of February 1579, that she is haughty and vigorous (altera e gagliarda di cervello). One night, Anna wanted to visit Bathory, but he escaped. Many people witnessed this event, the Queen developed a fever and was subjected to phlebotomy.
King Stephen reportedly never held a great attraction for the marriage state and women in general, and he married Anna only to do a nice thing for the nation, she however was under the illusion that she would keep her husband with her and seduce him with boisterous balls and feasts. Primate Jan Tarnowski wrote in a letter to a Lithuanian magnate that "as she caught up a man, she carries her mouth high and proud".
The Queen had a grudge against Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, who according to Bartosz Paprocki "wanting to be a lord in Masovia, he sowed disagreement between the king and the queen" and "caused that the king did not live with the queen". Some "distasteful" rumors were also spread during the expedition to Polotsk in 1578, when the king slept in the same hut with Gaspar Bekes, his trusted friend (after Jerzy Besala's "Wstręt króla do królowej").
When Stephen left his wife in 1576, he did not see her, with some breaks, until 1583. She resided in Warsaw in Masovia where in a spacious and richly furnished wooden mansion in Jazdów (Ujazdów), built by her mother Queen Bona, she often held festivities and court games, he in Grodno (in todays Belarus). In January 1578 she organized in Jazdów famous wedding celebrations for Jan Zamoyski and his Calvinist second wife Kristina Radziwill, which lasted for several days.
In February 1579, the Queen prepared a court ball, awaiting Stephen's arrival. In the evening, the Warsaw Castle was illuminated, and the inhabitants were waiting for the king's arrival. Unfortunately, only the messenger with the letter arrived. The king wrote in it that due to the preparations for the war expedition, he would spend the whole year in Lithuania. The disappointed queen "ordered the lights to be turned off and the instruments to be taken out, and with great anger she retreated to her chambers", wrote the nuncio in a letter of February 26. The courtiers rumored that he wanted to divorce her.
The King and Queen reunited in June 1583 in Kraków for the opulent wedding celebrations of Zamoyski with his third wife and a king's niece, Griselda Bathory. The wedding feast was held in the chambers of Queen Anna at the Wawel Castle. The lavish tournaments and a procession of masks was illustrated by an Italian artist in a "Tournois magnifique tenu en Pologne", today in the National Library of Sweden.
Rich Venetian fabrics, like these used in chasubles founded by Anna and her husband (Cathedral Museum in Kraków) or vessels, like enamelled basin with her coat of arms and monogram (Czartoryski Museum), acquired by Anna in Venice, were undoubtedly used during the feasts. The sources confirm that allegorical paintings were brought to the Polish court from Venice for Sigismund III Vasa, Anna's sucessor, like Psyche cycle by Palma il Giovane or Diana and Caliosto by Antonio Vassilacchi.
"You subjects learned this riding from your king", snapped resentful Anna in 1583, when someone from her court set off on a journey.
The Banquet of Cleopatra by Leandro Bassano in Stockholm shows an episode described by both Pliny's's Natural History (9.58.119-121) and Plutarch's Lives (Antony 25.36.1), in which the spartan Roman warrior Antony being seduced by the sensual opulence of Cleopatra.
The Queen of Egypt takes an expensive pearl, reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, because of an association between pearls and Venus, the goddess of love, and dissolves it in her wine, which she then drinks. It is a culmination of a wager between Cleopatra and Mark Antony as to which one could provide the most expensive feast, which Cleopatra won. Lucius Munatius Plancus, a Roman senator had been asked to judge the wager.
The three protagonists are clearly Anna Jagiellon as Cleopatra, her husband Stephen Bathory as Mark Antony and his friend Jan Zamoyski as Lucius and the painting was commissioned by the Queen to one of her residences, most probably Jazdów.
It is recorded in the Swedish royal collection as far as 1739, therefore, most probably, it was taken from Poland during the Deluge (1655-1660), like the marble lions from Ujazdów Castle, or during the Great Northern War (1700-1721).
In 1578 with the support of Queen Anna the brotherhood of Saint Anne was founded in Warsaw at the Bernardine Church of Saint Anne, and approved by Pope Sixtus V with the bull Ex incumbenti in 1579. The first member and guardian of this fraternity was Jan Zamoyski, chancellor and great hetman of the Crown.
The painting by the same author, Leandro Bassano, from the Swedish royal collection, showing Saint Anne and the infant Virgin Mary was also undeniably created for Anna Jagiellon around the same time as the Banquet of Cleopatra. In 1760 this Catholic painting with Bernardine nuns was in the collection of Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, who freely converted from Calvinism to Lutheran when she moved to Sweden. It is another indication that this painting also was taken from Poland during the Deluge by Swedish or Prussian (Brandenburgian) forces.
Also other paintings by Bassano family and their workshop in Poland were created for partrons in Poland, like the Forge of Vulcan by Francesco Bassano the Younger in the National Museum in Warsaw. It was aquired in 1880 from Wojciech Kolasiński. Taking into consideration that other versions of this painting are in royal collections of "friendly" countries (Prado Museum in Madrid, inventory P005120, recorded as far as 1746 and Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, inventory 5737, recorded in Ambras collection in 1663), it is highly possible that it was commissioned or aquired by Bathory or Anna's successor Sigismund III. Another painting shows Adoration of the Magi with a man in Polish costume (almost idedntical as in the effigy of a Polish nobleman in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) as one of the Magi.
The Banquet of Cleopatra with portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Stephen Bathory and Jan Zamoyski by Leandro Bassano, 1578-1586, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Saint Anne and the infant Virgin Mary by Leandro Bassano, 1578-1586, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Forge of Vulcan by Francesco Bassano the Younger, 4th quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Adoration of the Magi with a Polish nobleman by Francesco Bassano the Younger, 4th quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Jadwiga Sieniawska, Voivodess of Ruthenia by the Bassano workshop and Jacopo Tintoretto
"You equated the state with the shy Diana, / You equated the face with the rosy Venus. [...] / Adornment of the earth! happy, happy, / To whom God has appointed you kind, / To whom Hymenaios in the steady words / And with eternal torches joined you", wrote in his poem entitled "To Miss Jadwiga Tarłówna, (later voivodess of Ruthenia)", a Polish poet of the late Renaissance Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński (ca. 1550 - ca. 1581). It is considered an epithalamium, a wedding song for the wedding with the lord of Berezhany (Brzeżany), Hieronim Sieniawski (1519-1582), who married Tarłówna in 1575.
Jadwiga was the fifth child of Jan Tarło, standard-bearer of Lviv, and Regina Malczycka. She came from the ancient Tarło family from Szczekarzowice. Her parents owned Chapli (Czaple nad Strwiążęm) near Sambir (Sambor) and a part of Khyriv (Chyrów) in the Ruthenian Voivodeship (Ukraine). "Lords of Hungary and Wallachia" wanted to marry her and King Sigismund Augustus promised her hand to Bogdan IV (1555-1574), Prince of Moldavia in 1572, but he was deposed that year (after "Brzeżany w czasach Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej: monografia historyczna" by Maurycy Maciszewski, p. 78-80).
After death of her father (died in 1570 or 1572) and before marriage, she most probably lived at the very Italianized court of king's sister, Infanta Anna Jagiellon. Jadwiga received from father as a dowry only 3,000 zlotys and 1,500 zlotys in jewels, and from her mother 2,000 zlotys. It was a considerable amount for those times, but far from being a magnate's fortune. In June 1574, Hieronim buried his third wife, Anna née Maciejowska, and ordered a beautiful marble tombstone for her. Just few months later, in 1575, at the age of 56, he married Jadwiga who was about 25 years old (born in about 1550). The bridegroom bequeathed 14,000 zlotys to her as a dower. The next year (1576), she gave birth to Hieronim's only son, Adam Hieronim. Her husband died in 1582 and was buried in the family chapel in Berezhany. The young widow founded a beautiful tomb monument for him and his father and dedicated herself to raising her only son and did not remarry. She was glorified on a marble plaque in the castle church in Berezhany for restoring the weakened fortune to good condition after her husband's death: "These monuments were laid to her father-in-law and to her sweet husband by Jadwiga née Tarło, both with her powerful virtue, which she shines in her homeland, and with the sharpness of her mind. May our ages produce more of likewise matrons here and everywhere! The Republic would flourish if each of them would restore lost goods in this way after her husband's death" (Haec socero et dulci posait monumenta marito / Tarlonum Hedvigis progenerata domo, / Virtate omnigena patrio quae claret in orbe, / Nec minus ingenii dexteritate sui. / O utinam similes illi praesentia plures / Saecula matronas hic et ubique ferant ! / Publica res floreret abi post fata mariti / Quaelibet amissas sic repararet opes).
According to the sculptor's monogram (H.H.Z.) hidden behind the statue of Hieronim, the monument was created by Hendrik Horst (d. 1612), a Dutch sculptor from Groningen, active in Lviv since 1573. The overall design of this tomb monument, destroyed during World War II, resemble the monument to King Sigismund II Augustus in the Wawel Cathedral, founded by Queen Anna Jagiellon and created between 1574-1575 by Santi Gucci, and monument to Doge Francesco Venier (1489-1556) by Jacopo Sansovino and Alessandro Vittoria in San Salvador in Venice, created between 1556-1561. Until 1939 in the armoury of the Berezhany Castle in the western tower, there was a large painting depicting the funeral procession of Mikołaj Sieniawski (ca. 1489-1569), Jadwiga's father-in-law, in Lublin in 1569 with king Sigismund Augustus and lords of the kingdom.
The deathbed conversion of Hieronim Sieniawski, a definitive Calvinist, was also influenced by his fourth wife, Tarłówna, a zealous Catholic according to papal nuncio, with the aid of Benedictus Herbestus Neapolitanus (Benedykt Zieliński or Benedykt Herbest), educated in Rome. Also Hieronim's sisters converted shortly after his death, closing numerous Calvinist churches on their estates (after "Calvinism in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth 1548-1648" by Kazimierz Bem, p. 181). In 1584 she issued a location privilege for the new town of Adamówka, named in honor of her son, later a suburb of Berezhany and most probably founded the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. Her only son, who most probably, like all his three sons later, studied in Padua before 1593, employed at his court Venetian engineer and architect Andrea dell'Aqua.
A painting by workshop of Jacopo Bassano (1515-1592) of unknown provenance in the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, shows a wealthy lady in the mythological scene of Abduction of Europa. In the same museum there is also a portrait of Princess Elizabeth Radziwill (d. 1565) by Lambert Sustris, identified and attributed by me.
In the 1560s Jacopo Bassano created several versions of Adoration of the Magi (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, The State Hermitage Museum) with a man in a costume of a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman depicted as Melchior, the old man of the three Magi, comparable to effigies of Constantine (ca. 1460-1530), Prince of Ostroh by Lucas Cranach the Elder. He wears a green kaftan with sweeping floor-length sleeves and a fur collar, very similar to those visible in the effigy of a Polish horseman by Abraham de Bruyn, published in 1577 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) or in his Twelve Polish and Hungarian types, published in 1581 (also in the Rijksmuseum) or in the picture of a Polish-Lithuanian noble in "Theatrum virtutum ac meritorum D. Stanislai Hosii" by Thomas Treter, created between 1595-1600 (National Library in Warsaw). The effigy of the old man represented as Melchior, possibly intentionally or unintentionally, bear a resemblance to the effigy of Jadwiga's father-in-law, Mikołaj Sieniawski, Voivode of Ruthenia (and a Calvinist), from the tomb monument founded by her. According to some sources Mikołaj also converted to the Catholic faith shortly before his death (died in 1569), therefore he could commisson a series of his effigies as one of the Magi, or the painter just inspired by the images of Mikołaj commissioned in his studio.
In the myth, the god Zeus (Jupiter) assumed the form of a bull and enticed Europa to climb onto his back. The bull carried her to Crete, where Europa became the first Queen and had three children with Zeus. Unlike the earlier, very erotic version of the scene painted between 1560-1562 by Titian for King Philip II of Spain (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston) with Europa sprawled helplessly in open-legged posture and her face not visible, in Bassano's painting the woman's face is clearly visible. This portrait-like historié picture was therefore commissioned by this woman.
In the foreground there is a rabbit as an allegory of fertility, a duck, associated with Penelope, queen of Ithaca, as a symbol of marital fidelity, and a small dog, allegory of fidelity and devotion. A Cupid sitting on a tree in the upper right corner is prepared to aim an arrow at her heart. The island of Crete is visible in the far background, but the landscape around is similar to topography of Berezhany as depicted on the Austrian map of 1779-1783. There is a large lake (regulated in the 18th century) and two hills, which were depicted by the painter as rocky Alpine hills. Another, horizontal (96 x 120 cm) version of this composition, from private collection in Rome and attributed to circle of Francesco Bassano (1549-1592), was sold in 2021 (Finarte Auctions, 16.11.2021, lot 73). In both paintings the woman has a fashionable hairstyle from the late 1570s or early 1580s and the painting in Rome was most probably sent as a gift to the Pope or one of the cardinals (this woman managed to convert to Catholicism the Voivode of Ruthenia!). A number of paintings by Francesco Bassano and his workshop are also in Poland (Adoration of the Magi with a Polish nobleman and Forge of Vulcan in the National Museum in Warsaw, Forge of Vulcan in the National Museum in Poznań or Annunciation to the shepherds in the Wawel Royal Castle and another in the Museum of the Warsaw Archdiocese).
The same woman was also depicted in a portrait of a lady in a green dress (a color being symbolic of fertility), attributed variously to Jacopo and Leandro Bassano, in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. The picture was previously in the Edward Cheney collections in Badger Hall in Badger, near Wolverhampton, England (demolished in 1952). A pendant on a gold chain around her neck is a jewel in which two different stones and a pearl are set, each with its own precise meaning: the ruby indicates charity, the emerald indicates chastity, and a pearl is a symbol of marriage fidelity. The woman's dress and hairstyle are very simular to those visible in a self-portrait with madrigal by Marietta Robusti in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, dated to about 1578 (inventory 1890 n. 1898). A signed painting by Leandro Bassano (signature: Leandro) from Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski collection is in the Wawel Royal Castle and Lamentation of Christ, attributed to him is in the Vereshchagin Art Museum in Mykolaiv, close to Odessa. Resurrection of Lazarus from the altar of the Mocenigo family in the church of Santa Maria della Carità in Venice (today in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice), another signed work by Leandro Bassano (LEANDER/ BASSANE.is/ F.), dated to between 1592-1596, shows a man in a costume of a Polish-Lithuanian noble.
She was also depicted as a widow in a portrait by Jacopo Tintoretto in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. This painting was probably acquired in Venice by Duke Francesco I d'Este (1610-1658) and listed as "Portrait of a woman dressed in black - Titian" (Ritratto di donna vestita de nero - Tiziano) in the inventory of 1744 of the Galleria Estense in Modena, then sold to Augustus III of Poland-Lithuania-Saxony in 1746 (as portrait of Caterina Cornaro). This portrait is dated to early 1550s, however similar costume of a Venetian widow (Vidua Veneta / Vefue Venetiene) is visible in an engraving representing Ten women dressed according to Italian fashion by Abraham de Bruyn, created in about 1581 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). The style of this picture can be compared with portrait of the Procurator Alessandro Gritti in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, dated to between 1581-1582, and portrait of Piotr Krajewski (1547-1598), żupnik of Zakroczym in the Masovian Museum in Płock, dated '1583'. The latter painting is generally attributed to circle of Martin Kober, however the man's face is painted in the same style as the widow in Dresden. Krajewski, a nobleman of Leliwa coat of arms, was the owner of villages Mochty and Smoszewo and a manager (żupnik) which oversaw the salt storehouse in Zakroczym near Warsaw, the seat of Infanta Anna Jagiellon. His portrait was most probably commissioned in Venice and a court painter in Warsaw added coat of arms and inscription (painted in different style).
In the Zhytomyr Region History Museumin Ukraine there is a portrait of Giovanni Francesco Sagredo (1571-1620), a Venetian mathematician and close friend of Galileo, painted by Gerolamo Bassano. The painting comes from the nationalized collections of barons de Chaudoir (the family may come from a line of French Protestant emigrants who fled in 1685 from Belgium and one de Chaudoire worked at the court of King Stanislaus Augustus). In the 1590s Sagredo studied privately with Galileo in Padua and in 1596 at the age of 25 he became a member of the Great Council of Venice. His portrait attributed to Gerolamo Bassano in the Ashmolean Museum depict him in the robes of the a Procurator of Saint Mark, therefore the portrait from Zhytomyr like the effigy from private collection, attributed to circle of Domenico Tintoretto, should be dated to before 1596, therefore could be acquired by Adam Hieronim during his potential studies in Italy. Sagredo was depicted in a crimson tunic similar to Polish-Lithuanian żupan.
It is possible that all mentioned paintings by Venetian painting workshops, in Odessa, Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr, originate from the same collection - "the Eastern Wawel": Berezhany Castle, dispersed among several museums in Ukraine. Despite that no signed likenesses of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło or her close relatives have preserved, basing on all these facts the mentioned potraits should be indentified as her effigies.
Abduction of Europa with portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia by workshop of Jacopo Bassano, 1578-1582, Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art.
Abduction of Europa with portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia by workshop of Francesco Bassano, 1578-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia in a green dress by Jacopo or Leandro Bassano, ca. 1578, Norton Simon Museum.
Lamentation of Christ by Leandro Bassano, late 16th century, Vereshchagin Art Museum in Mykolaiv.
Portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia in mourning by Jacopo Tintoretto, ca. 1582, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
Portrait of Piotr Krajewski (1547-1598), żupnik of Zakroczym by workshop of Jacopo Tintoretto, 1583, Masovian Museum in Płock.
Portrait of Giovanni Francesco Sagredo (1571-1620) by Gerolamo Bassano, 1590s, Zhytomyr Region History Museum.
Portraits of king Stephen Bathory by Venetian painters
Official portraiture showed Bathory as he should look like and as he was perceived, imagined by average and less educated subjects, i.e. a strong, powerful, masculine monarch in rich national costume, a man capable to protect the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a brutal tyrant, who used terror and cruelty as a method of controlling his country and who invaded the Commonwealth during the second royal election after Henry of Valois's sudden return to France in mid-June 1574 through Venice. The Tsar had captured Pärnu on 9 July 1575, took as many as 40 thousand captives (according to Świętosław Orzelski) and devastated much of central Livonia. Anna Jagiellon and Bathory were elected just few months later on December 15.
In private effigies or these dedicated to his European colleagues Bathory could allow himself to be depicted as educated in Padua lover of astronomy, in a cloak of a simple soldier in his army or as an old, tired man.
The portrait by Tintoretto from the Spanish royal collection, shows Bathory in a toga-like attire similar to the costume of a Venetian magistrate. It is a kopieniak a sleeveless raincoat of Turkish origin (kepenek), popular at that time in Hungary (köpenyeg). According to Stanisław Sarnicki's "Księgi hetmańskie", published in 1577-1578, kopieniak was a sort of Gabina (gabìno), a toga in ancient Rome, while according to "Encyklopedja powszechna" (Universal encyclopedia, vol. 15 from 1864, p. 446) in Poland the attire and a word were popularized by Bathory, "who used the kopieniak in hunting and during war expeditions".
After king's death some of his robes valued at 5351 zlotys were given to his courtiers. The inventory made in Grodno on 15 December 1586 includes many kopieniaks, made by his Hungarian tailor Andrasz, like the most valuable "scarlet kopieniak lined with sables with one silk button and a loop, 1548 zlotys worth", "12 navy blue half-kopieniaks lined with sables, with gold buttons" or "4 kopieniaks of different colors".
The portrait of a bearded man with hourglass and astrolabe by Francesco Bassano from Ambras Castle in Innsbruck is very similar in style and composition to the portrait of Anna Jagiellon in Vienna. Before 1 February 1582 Bathory offered to Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria many items captured during the Siege of Pskov to his large collection of armaments in Ambras, including his armor accompanied by a portrait and resume.
Among the things given in deposit to king's courtier Mr Franciszek Wesselini (Ferenc Wesseleny´i de Hadad) in the inventory of king's belongings, there were "A gold carriage chest with the coat of arms of His Highness Augustus, in which there are various small things. Golden saddle of the deceased king Sigismund Augustus. A casket with small things and crane feathers" and also "A leaky watch (water hourglass)" and "Large old Turkish carpets, which were brought by Mr. Grudziński from Hungary from Machmet Basha", most probably offered by Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
The inventory does not include any Western, black costumes, however since the king used many items of his predecessor Sigismund Augustus, he undoubtedly had access to his extensive black Italian wardrobe. Curiously the black Italian hose with protruding codpiece were at that time in Poland considered by simple people as more effeminate than dress-like żupan of colorful Venetian fabric. "The nation is effeminate [...] Franca [syphilis], musk, lettuce, with them it came, These puffed hose, stockings, mostardas, The Italian haughty nation has recently brought here" (269, 272-274), wrote in his satire "Conversation of the New Prophets, Two Rams with One Head" (Rozmowa nowych proroków, dwu baranów o jednej głowie) published in 1566/1567, Marcin Bielski.
His interest in astronomy is confirmed by his support to the sorcerer Wawrzyniec Gradowski from Gradów and with a sojourn at his court of John Dee, an English mathematician, astronomer and astrologer and Edward Kelley, an occultist and scryer in March 1583 and April 1585, who were paid 800 florins by the king. He also transformed the Jesuit gymnasium in Vilnius into an academy (1578), where astronomy, poetry and theology were taught. Leaving Transylvania for Poland in 1576, he consulted astrologers, with whom he also set the date of his wedding with Anna Jagiellon.
Therefore Bathory was maybe more effeminate in his private life then in his public appearance, he was however one of the most eminent monarchs of this part of Europe, a wise and brave king who led the Polish-Lithuanian Republic to its greatest glory and power.
After 50 his health rapidly declined. As Sigismund Augustus, Bathory most probably suffered from syphilis, treated by his Italian physicians Niccolò Buccella and Simone Simoni. "The king his grace had on his right leg two fingers below the knee, up to the ankle, a kind of rash, in which there were sometimes shallow, flowing wounds. On that leg, lower than the knee, he had an apertura [ulcer]: and when little was leaking from it, he had no appetite, the nights were restless and sleepless." The portrait in Budapest by Leandro Bassano, which is very similar to other effigies of Bathory, undeniably show him in the last year of his life.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory in kopieniak coat by Tintoretto, ca. 1576, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory with hourglass and astrolabe by Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory sitting in a chair by Leandro Bassano, ca. 1586, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Portrait of Cardinal Henry I, King of Portugal by Domenico Tintoretto
In 1579 brothers of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616), George (1556-1600), future cardinal, and Stanislaus (1559-1599), arrived in the capital of Portugal. "The coadjutor of Vilnius Radziwll, wrote to me from Lisbon on April 3 that he greeted the king dressed in cardinal's robes, but holding pleasantly a scepter in his old and weakened hand", wrote in a letter from Rome on June 6, 1579 the royal secretary Stanisław Reszka (1544-1600) about the audience before Cardinal Henry I (1512-1580), King of Portugal (after "Z dworu Stanisława Hozjusza: listy Stanisława Reszki do Marcina Kromera, 1568-1582" by Jadwiga Kalinowska, p. 221). Then, via Turin and Milan, the Radziwill brothers arrived in Venice in September 1579. From there they set off via Vienna to Poland and finally reached Kraków by the end of the year (after "Radziwiłłowie: obrazy literackie, biografie, świadectwa historyczne" by Krzysztof Stępnik, p. 298).
In 2022 the portrait of Cardinal-King of Portugal from private collection, created in Venice, Italy, was sold at the auction in Munich, Germany (Hampel Auctions, December 8, 2022, lot 238). It was painted by Domenico Tintoretto in 1579 as according to Latin inscription it depict the Cardinal-King at the age of 67 (HENR.S CARD.S / REX. PORTV / GALIAE. ETCZ [...] /. AETATIS / SVAE. LXVII.). Cardinal Henry, born in Lisbon on January 31, 1512, become the king of Portugal at the age of 66 (coronation in Lisbon on August 28, 1578) after death of his great-nephew King Sebastian, who died without an heir in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir that took place in 1578.
In January 1579 Jerónimo Osório da Fonseca (Hieronymus Osorius, 1506-1580), Bishop of the Algarve, Portuguese historian and polemicist, wrote a letter in Latin to "to the invincible Stephen Bathory, king of Poland" (inuictissimo Stephano Bathorio regi Poloniae) expressing his gratitude for reading his books (scripta namque mea tibi usque adeo probari ut in castris etiam, quotiens esset otium, otium illud te libenter in libris meis assidue uersandis consumere) (after "Opera Omnia. Tomo II. Epistolografia" by Sebastião Pinho, p. 214). Osório was a member of the royal council (Mesa da Consciência e Ordens), who advised the Cardinal-King on political matters.
It cannot be excluded that the portrait of the Cardinal-King was commissioned in Venice by the Radziwill brothers, or by the Cardinal-King through their intermediary, as a gift to the royal couple of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Queen Anna Jagiellon and her husband Stephen Bathory.
Portrait of Cardinal Henry I (1512-1580), King of Portugal, aged 67 by Domenico Tintoretto, 1579, Private collection.
Portraits of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" by Domenico Tintoretto and Francesco Bassano
Around 1550 in Lukiškės, a part of the city of Vilnius, located to the west and southwest of the Old Town, Nicolaus "the Black" Radziwill (1515-1565), cousin of Queen Barbara, built a magnificent renaissance villa or a summer manor house, beautifully located in the bend of the Neris river, surrounded by the steep banks of the river and a pine forest. The estate was owned by the Radziwill family from 1522 and called Radziwill Lukiškės, later Vingis in Lithuanian or Zakręt in Polish, both meaning a bend or a curve.
Lukiškės (Łukiszki in Polish) took its name from the name of a merchant, Łuka Pietrowicz, most probably a Ruthenian, who founded a settlement here in the 14th century in the land given to him by Vytautas the Great. It was also here that Vytautas settled the Tatars, who had their mosque in Lukiškės, and in the 15th century the district was also called Tatar Lukiškės (after "Przewodnik po Wilnie" by Władysław Zahorski, p.83).
Nicolaus "the Black", the strongest supporter of the Reformation in Lithuania, arranged a chapel for the Calvinists in one of the rooms. Protestants were active in the manor in the years 1553-1561, and the estate became the cradle of the Reformation in Lithuania. "In a room covered with a pall, in front of a table on which there were branched candlesticks with three Graces of Greek mythology, Czechowicz with Wędrychowski, Catholic priests in the past, taught from the pulpit the Lithuanian nobility", wrote Teodor Narbutt in his work published in Vilnius in 1856 ("Pomniejsze pisma historyczne szczególnie do historyi Litwy odnoszące się", p. 66). In 1558 a reformed school also started operating in the palace. Nicolaus "the Black" died in Lukiškės in May 28/29, 1565 and the estate was inherited by his sons. The eldest, Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616), received his primary education in Lukiškės in the Protestant gymnasium founded by his father. "In the 1550s and the 1560s the palace in Lukiškės was one of the most important centers of political, religious and cultural life of the then Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" (after "Miles Christianus et peregrinus: fundacje Mikołaja Radziwiłła "Sierotki" w ordynacji nieświeskiej" by Tadeusz Bernatowicz, p. 139). Between 1566-1574, the sons of Nicolaus "the Black" converted from Calvinism to Catholicism.
According to legend, Nicolaus Christopher received the nickname "the Orphan" in early childhood. Allegedly, once the King Sigismund Augustus found a child left unattended in one of the rooms of the royal palace, he caressed the child saying: "poor orphan". On June 20, 1569 he was granted the post of Court Marshal of Lithuania. Soon "the Orphan" became close to the king and carried out his personal assignments until his death.
In 1567, Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan" inherited his father's estate and became the guardian of his younger brothers and sisters. He was a capable diplomat and in 1573, he headed the embassy to Paris to Henry of Valois. The journey at the turn of 1573 and 1574 lasted six months. After returning to the Commonwealth, he fell seriously ill and vowed to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as soon as his health allowed. It is believed that Nicolaus Christopher was ill with gout and some kind of venereal disease. He set out in the autumn of 1580 and after treatment near Padua and Lucca, he spent the entire spring of 1581 in Venice, also visiting Padua and Bologna. There was a plague in the Middle East at that time, so "the Orphan" changed his plans and returned the Commonwealth in April 1581. In 1582 he again left for Italy, from where in 1583 he went to the Holy Land.
Together with his brothers Albert (1558-1592) and Stanislaus (1559-1599), he created the Nesvizh, Kletsk and Olyka entails in 1586, becoming the first Nesvizh ordynat. He was also Grand Marshal of Lithuania from 1579 and castellan of Trakai from 1586. In 1584 Stanislaus, nicknamed "the Pious", first ordynat of Olyka, offered part of the Lukiškės estate to the Jesuits and in 1593 he also donated the remaining part of the Lukiškės estate with the palace and other buildings.
Jesuit Lukiškės became the intellectual and cultural center of Vilnius at that time. In the years 1593-1774, traditional ceremonies of conferring academic degrees were held there. From 1646, there was a garden of medicinal herbs, and tinctures and mixtures were sold in the Jesuit Academic Pharmacy. In March 1647 the Jesuits offered a sumptuous feast in the villa in Lukiškės to the royal couple, Ladislaus IV and Marie Louise Gonzaga, who visited the academy. Between 1655 and 1660, during the Deluge, like much of the capital of Lithuania, Lukiškės and Tatar estates were destroyed. In the place of a manor house or near to it, in the years 1757-1761, the Jesuits built a baroque three-story palace to design by Johann Christoph Glaubitz. According to Teodor Narbutt ("Pomniejsze pisma historyczne szczególnie do historyi Litwy odnoszące się", p. 66-67), in the chapel in the left wing of the palace there was a beautiful painting of the "Three Marys going to the tomb of the Savior, painted by the Italian school", possibly from the Radziwill collection, lost after 1793.
During his stays in Venice in 1580 or 1582 "the Orphan" commissioned a marble altar of the Holy Cross, created in 1583, which was originally intended for the parish church in Nesvizh, built in the years 1581-1584, later moved to the new Corpus Christi Church, constructed between 1587-1593 by Gian Maria Bernardoni. The altar is attributed to Girolamo Campagna (1549-1625), a sculptor from Verona and a pupil of Jacopo Sansovino, and a signature of his collaborator Cesare Franco (Franchi, Francus, Francho) from Padua is visible on the base: CESARE DE FRANCHI PATAVINO OPVS FEC ... /...CHI LAPICIDA VENETIIS 1583. The sculptures were probably transported to Nievizh in 1586, and the permit issued by the Doge of Venice, Pasquale Cicogna (1509-1595), for the transport of marbles probably concerns the altar of the Holy Cross (after "Rzeźby Campagni i Franco w Nieświeżu a wczesny barok" by Tadeusz Bernatowicz, p. 31) or other sculptures commissioned in Venice.
Marble bust of a painter Francesco Bassano the Younger (1549-1592), the eldest son of Jacopo and brother of Leandro, from his tombstone in the church of San Francesco in Bassano (today in the Museo Civico di Bassano del Grappa), created in about 1592, is also attributed to Campagna as well as bust of Christopher Nicolaus Radziwill (1590-1607), Nicolaus Christopher's son, in the Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh.
Portrait of young man in a black coat lined with lynx fur and with a landscape visible in the distance through a window, was acquired by the Pushkin Museum in Moscow in the 1930s from an unknown source as the work of the painter from the Bassano circle (inventory number 2842). It is today attributed to Domenico Tintoretto (1560-1635), the eldest son of Jacopo, who from 1578 was already involved in Tintoretto's Gonzaga cycle and participated in the redecoration of the Doge's Palace between 1580 and 1584.
The man presents his estate which resemble greatly the topography of the Vingis estate (Radziwill Lukiškės) in Vilnius, depicted on a map created in 1646 (collection of the Vilnius University), as well as on watercolor paintings by Seweryn Karol Smolikowski created in 1832 (National Museum in Warsaw, inventory number Rys.Pol.14339 MNW and Rys.Pol.14340 MNW), and by Marceli Januszkiewicz created in 1836 (National Museum of Lithuania). The architecture of his Italian-style villa is similar to the pavillons of the Radziwill Palace in Vilnius, the larger palace of the Calvinist branch of the family, depicted in 1653 medal by Sebastian Dadler. There is a church or a chapel far in the background with high tower, similar to that visible on 1646 map of Lukiškės (F), undoubtedly a Catholic temple. It can be assumed that it symbolizes the triumph of Catholicism over the cradle of the Reformation in Lithuania. The young man from the portrait is therefore the eldest son of Nicolaus "the Black", Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan". He was depicted in very similar costume and in similar compositon (window, table) in a print created by Tomasz Makowski in Nesvizh in 1604 - Panegyric of the Skorulski brothers (Jan, Zachariasz and Mikołaj) on the occasion of receiving the office of voivode of Vilnius by Nicholaus Christopher (National Museum in Kraków, inventory number MNK III-ryc.-36976).
The same man, in similar costume, was also represented in another painting which was attributed to Domenico Tintoretto - Portrait of a man holding his right hand on his heart. This work comes from the collection of Géza von Osmitz (1870-1967) in Bratislava (sold in Vienna, 12 March 1920, lot 68). The style of this painting is more close to the Bassanos, especially portrait of King Stephen Bathory by Francesco Bassano the Younger from the Ambras Castle, identified by me.
The man from both described portraits bear a great resemblance to effigies of Nicolaus Christopher, all created in his later age, like engraving by Lukas Kilian, created in Augsburg in about 1610 (National Library in Warsaw, inventory number G.10401) or engraving by Dominicus Custos, published in 1601, after a drawing by the Veronese painter Giovanni Battista Fontana (1541-1587), who decorated the walls of the Spanish Hall at Ambras (Lithuanian Art Museum, inventory number LDKVR VR 667).
A two sided miniature in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (inventory number 1890, 4051, oil on copper, 10.2 cm) is on one side a reduced and simplified version of the painting by Bassano, showing the man in a similar pose but with a different hairstyle. Both portraits, although close to miniatures by the Bassanos in the Uffizi (1890, 4072, 9053, 9026), also relate to works of Sofonisba Anguissola, who moved to Sicily (1573), and later Pisa (1579) and Genoa (1581).
Portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) with a view of the Vingis estate (Radziwill Lukiškės) in Vilnius by Domenico Tintoretto, 1580-1586, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) by Francesco Bassano the Younger or workshop, 1580-1586, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) by workshop of the Bassanos or Sofonisba Anguissola, 1580-1586, Uffizi Gallery.
Entombment of Christ with the portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" by Francesco or Leandro Bassano
On September 16, 1582 Prince Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616), Grand Marshal of Lithuania, accompanied by a dozen or so people (friends and servants), set off from his family castle in Nesvizh towards Venice from where in 1583 he went to the Holy Land. Through Dalmatia, the Greek islands, Tripoli, Damascus, he reached Jerusalem in the middle of the year, where in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher he was awarded the title of Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. Then through Egypt, where he had the opportunity to see the famous Great Sphinx, the eastern coast of Italy and again Venice he returned to his homeland on July 7, 1584.
Nicolaus Christopher was the son of Nicolaus Radziwill the Black and Elżbieta Szydłowiecka, daughter of Chancellor Krzysztof Szydłowiecki. After his father's death, as a result of his stay in Rome (he also visited Milan, Padua and Mantua), he converted in 1567 from Calvinism to Catholicism. Suffering from syphilis, in February 1580 he again went to Italy for treatment, near Padua and Lucca, and spent the turn of 1580-1581 in Venice, with an attempt to make an expedition to the Holy Land. He vowed that if his health would improve, he would go on a pilgrimage. Just few months after return from the Holy Land, on November 24, 1584, he married Princess Elżbieta Eufemia Wiśniowiecka (1569-1596), who was only 15 at the time and was 20 years younger than himself, and he had 6 sons and 3 daughters with her. In 1593, he and his wife left for the last time in his life the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, for treatment in a health resort in Abano Terme near Padua. Nicolaus Christopher died on February 28, 1616 in Niasvizh.
During his lifetime Radziwill founded himself a tombstone in the Jesuit Church in Nesvizh - mentioned in the inscription on the pedestal, as well as in the sermon given by the Jesuit Marcin Widziewicz during his funeral. The co-founder was the wife of Nicolaus Christopher, therefore it should be dated to 1588-1596. The general conception of the tomb was probably modelled after the tomb of Pope Sixtus V in Rome, executed between 1585-1591 by Domenico Fontana and the tomb of Queen Bona Sforza in Bari, created between 1589-1593. Nicolaus Christopher saw the coffin with the body of the Queen in Bari in March 1584 and not without significance were his contacts with Queen Anna Jagiellon, the founder of the tombstone in Bari. The center of his tombstone is filled with a plate with a relief image of the prince in profile kneeling in prayer, with his head raised and in pilgrim's attire. It is crowned with a triangular pediment with the Order of the Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. The tomb was designed by a Jesuit architect Giovanni Maria Bernardoni (d. 1605) and created by an anonymous Italian sculptor active in Lesser Poland, possibly from the royal court.
The painting by Francesco or Leandro Bassano from the late 16th century in the Lithuanian National Art Museum in Vilnius, shows the scene of Entombment of Christ with a kneeling donor in the right corner, whose pose is identical with the pose of Nicolaus Christopher in his tombstone. The painting was owned by the Society of Friends of Science in Vilnius in 1937 and its earlier history is unknown. Similar scene of the Entombment was published on page 61 of Stanisław Grochowski's "The Jerusalem procession in the church of the glorious tomb of the Lord Jesus [...] taken from the books of the Jerusalem Peregrination or the Pilgrimage [...] of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwll, prince on Olyka and Nesvizh [...]" (Hierozolimska processia w kosciele chwalebne[g]o grobu Pana Iezusowego [...] wzięta z ksiąg Hierozolymskiey Peregrynatiiey albo Pielgrzymowania [...] Mikołaia Chrzysstopha Radziwiła na Ołyce y Nieświeżu książęcia [...]), published in Kraków in 1607.
The man bears a great resemblance to effigies of Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan", especially to his earliest known portrait, a drawing by David Kandel in the Louvre Museum, created between 1563 and 1564 during his studies in Strasbourg.
Entombment of Christ with the portrait of Prince Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) as donor by Francesco or Leandro Bassano, 1584-1596, Lithuanian National Museum of Art in Vilnius.
Portrait of Gustav Eriksson Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1575 another inconvenient royal child was sent to be raised abroad, this time from Sweden to Poland. In August 1563 King Eric XIV of Sweden imprisoned Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in Gripsholm Castle. She was released in 1567, but during this four-year imprisonment she gave birth to a daughter and a son, future Sigismund III. Catherine was crowned queen of Sweden in spring of 1569, when Eric was deposed. In March 1575, the Swedish Council of State decided to separate the seven-year-old boy Gustav Eriksson Vasa, the only son of Eric XIV, from his mother Karin Månsdotter, as king John III feared that the deposed Eric's followers in Sweden would use Gustav to be able to carry out their reinstatement plans. At Catherine's request her sister Anna agreed to take care of him.
He was well educated, attended the best Jesuit schools in Toruń and Vilnius and Collegium Hosianum in Braniewo. He knew many languages as well as astrology, chemistry and medicine. He travelled to Rome in 1586 and to Prague to meet Emperor Rudolf II, who learned about his chemical talent. As education and travel at that time were far more expensive than nowadays, he was not living in poverty as a prisoner or even a slave in chains in a poor and barbaric country, as some people want to believe.
A small portrait of a child by Sofonisba Anguissola in profuse mannerist frame from private collection in Switzerland shows a boy wearing an elegant black velvet doublet trimmed in gold, black hose and a black cape, like an attendant of the Jesuit school. The boy's features are very similar to these known from portraits of Eric XIV, his daughter Sigrid and to the portrait of a woman from Gripsholm Castle from about 1580, which is identified as Eric's step-sister Princess Elizabeth or his wife Karin Månsdotter. His pose and costume are almost identical with these visible in portrait of king John III of Sweden, husband of Catherine Jagiellon and Gustav Eriksson's uncle, in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, a copy of original portrait by Johan Baptista van Uther from 1582. Anguissola's portrait can be threfore dated to 1582, a year when Gustav Eriksson reached his legal age of 14, and it was commissioned by his foster mother, proud of her boy starting education, most probably as one of a series for herself, her friends in Poland and abroad.
Portrait of Gustav Eriksson Vasa (1568-1607) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola
Another mysterious portrait by Anguissola from the 1580s was acquired in 1949 by the National Museum in Warsaw from private collection. It was previously attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni and it shows a man with his daughter.
The girl is holding a flower with four petals, similar to a primrose considered as a symbol of true (faithful) love, just as in "The Primrose" by John Donne (1572-1631), to white Caucasian rockcress (Arabis caucasica) or myrtle, consecrated to Venus, goddess of love and used in bridal wreaths - Pliny call it the "nuptial myrtle" (Myrtus coniugalis, Natural History, XV 122).
She wears a coral necklace, a fertility symbol in ancient Rome (after Gerald W. R. Ward's "The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art", 2008, p. 145), as in portraits of young brides by Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio and in Polish folk costumes, and a symbol of protection, meant to bring good luck, as in portraits of court dwarf Magdalena Ruiz.
The red-haired man with blue eyes holds firmly a hand of young blue-eyed blond girl, this is not her father, this is her husband.
In 1581 Anna Jagiellon sent to her friend Bianca Cappello, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, one pretty, graceful female dwarf who could dance and sing. Monsignor Alberto Bolognetti, Bishop of Massa Marittima organized a travel for her from Warsaw through Kraków and Vienna. She was accompanied by "a Polish Gentleman named Mr. Giovanni Kobilmiczhi, and I [...] lingua Cobilnisczi, who is setting off in a carriage. I believe that the girl will feel comfortable, being highly recommended to the gentleman, and provided with whatever she needs to protect her from cold" (un Gentilhuomo Polaco nominato Signore Giovanni Kobilmiczhi, et mi [...] lingua Cobilnisczi, Il quale mettendo a viaggio in carozza. Mi credo che la fanciulla si condurrà comodamente, havendola lo massime al gentilhuomo molto raccomandata, et provista di qual che suo bisogno per difenderla dal freddo), according to the letter of February 15, 1581. The man was most probably Jan Kobylnicki, a courtier of king Stephen Bathory.
Beautiful Nana (Italian for female dwarf) was probably married after her arrival to Florence, possibly even with Kobylnicki or other Pole, and it was probably the Queen who commissioned her portrait with her husband from Anguissola, who moved from Pisa near Florence to Genoa in 1581. Consequently a two-sided portrait miniature of a female dwarf and her husband in the Uffizi Gallery painted in the style of Sofonisba from the same period, should be considered as effigy of parents of beautiful Nana.
Portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait miniature of mother of Beautiful Nana by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait miniature of father of Beautiful Nana by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portraits of Griselda Bathory and Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska by Sofonisba Anguissola
To strengthen the influence of the Bathory family in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, king Stephen planned the marriage of his Calvinist niece Griselda (née Christine) with the widowed Grand Chancellor of the Crown, Jan Zamoyski, one of the most powerful men in the country.
They were married on June 12, 1583 at the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. Griselda came to Kraków with a retinue of 1,100 people, including six hundred soldiers guarding the her dowry. The wedding celebration with truly royal splendor lasted ten days.
After Bathory's death in 1586, Zamoyski helped Sigismund III Vasa gain the Polish throne, fighting in the brief civil war against the forces supporting the Habsburgs.
Griselda died four years later on 14 March 1590 in Zamość, an ideal city designed by Venetian architect Bernardo Morando. The city was not far from the second largest city of the Commonwealth, Lviv, dominated by a Royal Castle.
The portait of a young lady by Sofonisba Anguissola from the National Art Gallery in Lviv is very similar to the portrait of Anna Radziwill née Kettler from about 1586 in the National Museum in Warsaw. Anna Radziwill was a wife of a brother of first wife of Zamoyski. Their headdresses or bonnets are very much alike, as well as the dress, ruff, jewels and even the pose. The woman in Anguissola's painting is holding a zibellino, a symbol of a bride, and a small book, most probably a Protestant bible. The features of the woman's face are very similar to portraits of Griselda's uncle, cousin and brother.
A miniature in Sofonisba's style in the Uffizi Gallery (Inv. 1890, 9048, Palatina 778), shows a girl in very similar dress inspired by Spanish fashion to that in Lviv portrait. Her jewelled headdress is not Western however, it is in Eastern style and similar to Russian kokoshnik (from the Old Slavic kokosh, which means "hen" or "cockerel"). Such headdresses carried the idea of fertility and were popular in different Slavic countries. In Poland they preserved in some folk costumes (wianek, złotnica, czółko) and become dominant at the court of Queen Constance of Austria in Warsaw in the 1610s and 1620s.
The girl is therefore Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska (later Sieniawska), who in about 1587 at the age of 13 (born 13 December 1573), entered the court of Anna Jagiellon and whose miniature the Queen could send to her friend Bianca Cappello in Florence. She was the child of a Calvinist Anzelm Gostomski (d. 1588), voivode of Rawa. Her mother, Zofia Szczawińska, fourth wife of Anzelm, who raised her in Sierpc was affraid that her beautiful and wealthy daughter would be abducted by suitors. In 1590, despite her aversion to marriage, she married the Calvinist Prokop Sieniawski, then the court cupbearer, whom Queen Anna and her relatives chose for her.
Consequently also other portrait, depicting a lady with a pendant with Allegory of Abundance, and attributed to Spanish school (Alonso Sánchez Coello) could be a work of Anguissola and identifed as a court lady of Anna Jagiellon. She could be Dorota Wielopolska, lady-in-waiting of the Queen who in May 1576 married Piotr Potulicki, Castellan of Przemyśl. The queen organized for her a lavish feast and a tournament at the Wawel Castle. The painting was aquired by the National Museum in Kraków from a private collection in Gdów near Wieliczka, which was owned by the Wielopolski family.
Portrait of Griselda Bathory (1569-1590) by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1586-1587, National Art Gallery in Lviv.
Miniature portrait of Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska (1573-1624) by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1586-1587, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait of a young woman with a pendant with Allegory of Abundance, most probably Dorota Wielopolska by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1580s, National Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of Jan Tomasz Drohojowski by Leandro Bassano
Jan Tomasz Drohojowski (1535-1605) from Drohojów, near Przemyśl, was a son of Krzysztof Drohojowski, a nobleman of Korczak coat of arms, and Elżbieta Fredro. He had five sisters and two brothers, Kilian and Jan Krzysztof (died before December 12, 1580), the royal secretary. He studied at the University of Wittenberg (enrolled on June 21, 1555), with his brother Kilian in Tübingen, then alone in Basel in 1560. Well educated, knowing French, Italian and Latin, he began to serve the king Sigismund Augustus. He was sent by him with a mission to Italy. According to Krzysztof Warszewicki (1543-1603), he brought the king as a gift a horse of wonderful color and virtue (equum admirabilis coloris et bonitatis Regi donavit). After return he became the royal secretary and in 1569 in this capacity he signed three privileges. At the time of the king's death, he was in Knyszyn and prevented the royal property from being looted and at the Sejm of 1573, Jan Tomasz called for a punishment of those guilty of looting royal valuables.
Shortly thereafter, Jan Tomasz went to Kraków to participate in the reception ceremony of king Henry of Valois. He stayed in Kraków, performing his duties as secretary and courtier of the king, and he even borrowed a certain amount to king Henry. Then he was sent on several ambassadorial missions, including to France. He was present at the anointing of king Henry at Reims on February 13, 1575. On March 2, 1575 in a letter from Prague to Infanta Anna Jagiellon he reported to her about the coronation of Henry and his marriage with Louise of Lorraine. The Infanta, in a letter of April 10, 1575, written from Warsaw to her sister Sophia, calls Jan Tomasz a courtier of the King.
After returning from the mission in Courland in 1578, he hosted king Stephen Bathory for 5 days in Przemyśl (for which he spent 911 zlotys) and become the starost of Przemyśl. Also in 1578, he founded octagonal chapel of St. Thomas (Drohojowski Chapel) at the Przemyśl Cathedral, built in the Renaissance style. To put up one tower at the Przemyśl castle he spent 180 zlotys. At the end of January 1579 he was sent by the king to Constantinople (Istanbul).
In a letter of January 13, 1581 from Warsaw to Andrzej Opaliński (1540-1593), Court Crown Marshal, Mr Bojanowski calls Jan Tomasz, Gian Tomaso in Italian. In May 1583, princess Griselda Bathory, niece of the king, stayed in Drohojowski's Palace in Voiutychi, designed in Renaissance style by Italian architect Galeazzo Appiani from Milan, with her entire retinue of 500 infantry soldiers and 78 mounted knights. In 1588 he escorted to Krasnystaw, Archduke Maximilian of Austria (1558-1618), who stood as a candidate for the throne of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, taken captive at the Battle of Byczyna (24 January). Before December 20, 1589 Jan Tomasz was appointed the crown referendary because the letter of king Sigismund III from that date already gives him this title.
His career was facilitated by family ties with Jan Zamoyski, Great Hetman of the Crown, who entrusted the guardianship of his son Tomasz to him in 1589. He became friends with Mikołaj Herburt (1524-1593), castellan of Przemysl and he married his daughter, Jadwiga Herburt. From this marriage he had a son, Mikołaj Marcin Drohojowski, most probaly born in the late 1580s (he loses a trial in 1613 and in 1617 he sold Rybotycze estate to Mikołaj Wolski (1553-1630)). Jan Tomasz died in the Przemyśl castle on November 12, 1605 at the age of 70.
The portrait of a nobleman in a black French style costume lined with fur by Leandro Bassano, was offered to the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm in 1917. The aristocratic tone of this portrait is accentuated by the verticality of the figure, his pose and gloves. The date in upper left corner of the canvas was not added very skillfully, therefore we can assmue that it was added later by the owner or at his request, not by the original painter. According to this inscription in Latin, the man was 53 in June 1588 (AET . SVAE . / LIII / MĒS . VI / 1588), exactly as Jan Tomasz Drohojowski. Below there is also another date in Latin: March 27 (27 mês martij), which could be the date of birth of Jan Tomasz's son Mikołaj Marcin. The man's costume and pose as well as facial features bears a striking resemblance to a portrait of Jan Tomasz's brother Jan Krzysztof (d. 1580), the royal secretary, in the Przemyśl Cathedral. This portrait, created in the first half of the 18th century, is a copy of other effigy and is a pendant to a portrait of his brother Jan Tomasz, who as a starost (capitaneus) of Przemyśl, administrative official, equivalent to the County Sheriff, was depicted in an armor and holding an axe.
Portrait of Jan Tomasz Drohojowski (1535-1605), starost of Przemyśl aged 53 by Leandro Bassano, 1588, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto
After the death of Stephen Bathory in December 1586, when 63 years old elected Queen Anna Jagiellon, could finally rule on her own, she was most probably too sick and too tired to do this. She supported the candidature of her niece Anna or her nephew Sigismund, children of her beloved sister Catherine, Queen of Sweden as candidates in next election. Sigismund was elected the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on 19 August 1587.
Raised in Protestant Sweden, where Flemish Domenicus Verwilt and Dutch Johan Baptista van Uther with their stiff realism were chief portraitists at the court of his father and his predecessor, he found "degenerated", frivolous style of the Venetians not very appealing to him, at least initially. Although, he commissioned paintings in Venice, all most probably destroyed, no portrait is mentioned in sources. He supported Martin Kober, a Silesian painter trained in Germany, as his main court portraitist. It was therefore his aunt Anna Jagiellon, who could order a series of portraits of her protégé from Tintoretto for her and for her Italian friends.
The portrait of a blond hair young man, wearing a tight black doublet in El Paso Museum of Art is very similar to other known portraits of the king, especially his effigy in Spanish costume by Jakob Troschel from about 1610 (Uffizi in Florence) and a portrait holding his hand on a sword, attributed to Philipp Holbein II, from about 1625 (Royal Castle in Warsaw).
Chronologically this portrait fit perfectly known portraiture of the king: portrait as a child aged 2 from 1568 (AETATIS SVAE 2/1568), created by Johan Baptista van Uther as gift for his aunt (Wawel), as a Duke of Finland aged 18 (AETATIS SVAE XVIIII), consequently from 1585, also created by van Uther in Sweden (Uffizi), next this portrait by Domenico Tintoretto from about 1590, when he was 24 and was already in Poland and then the miniature at the age of 30 (ANNO AETATIS XXX) from about 1596 by workshop of Martin Kober or follower (Czartoryski Museum). The painting was inscribed on the column (AETATIS…X…TORET), now mostly effaced.
His left hand looks like if was posed on a sword at his belt, however no object is present. It was probably less visible in a drawing or miniature sent to Tintoretto, hence he left his hand strangely in the air, a proof that the sitter was not in painter's atelier. Forgetting of such an important object in the 16th century male portraiture, could be also a result of a rush to accomplish some big royal commission. The Order of the Golden Fleece, basing on which some of Sigismund's portraits were identified, was granted to him in 1600.
It is highly probable that the painting showing the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the National Museum in Warsaw, created by Domenico Tintoretto around that time (after 1588) was also commissioned by Anna. It was bequeathed to the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw by Piotr Fiorentini in 1858 and later purchased by the Museum. Its earlier history is unknown, therefore Fiorentini, born in Vilnius, who later lived in Kraków and Warsaw, could have acquire it in Poland or Lithuania. Anna was engaged in embellishment of the main church of Warsaw - Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and she also built 80-meter-long corridor (covered passage) connecting the Royal Castle with the Cathedral.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1590, El Paso Museum of Art.
Baptism of Christ by Domenico Tintoretto, after 1588, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of princess Anna Vasa in Spanish costume by Domenico Tintoretto
In about 1583, after her mother's death, Anna Vasa like her aunt Sophia Jagiellon in 1570, converted to Lutheranism. Already in 1577, papal diplomacy proposed to marry her to an Austrian archduke, Matthias or Maximilian.
She arrived to Poland in Ocober 1587 to attend her brother's coronation and she stayed until 1589, when she accompanied Sigismund to meet their father John III of Sweden in Reval and then followed John to Sweden. Anna returned to Poland to attend the wedding of Sigismund with Anna of Austria in May 1592. When just few months later, on 17 November 1592, John III died, Sigismund was willing to abdicate in favor of Archduke Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry his sister Anna. This was also intended to alleviate the Habsburgs, who already lost in two royal ellections.
Archduke Ernest, the son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, together with his brother Rudolf (Emperor from 1576), was educated at the court of his uncle Philip II in Spain.
To announce this turn in country's politics, where Anna Vasa become a focal point, her aunt most probably commissioned a series of portraits of her niece.
The portait by Domenico Tintoretto from the collection of Prince Chigi in Rome, now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, shows a woman in black saya, a Spanish court dress, from the 1590s, similar to that visible in the portrait of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia by Sofonisba Anguissola in the Prado Museum from about 1597. However the white ruff collar, cuffs and her gold necklace are definitely not Spanish, they are more Central European and very similar to garments visible in portraits of Katarzyna Ostrogska from 1597 in the National Museum in Warsaw and in the portrait of Korona Welser by Abraham del Hele from 1592 in the private collection, they are not Venetian. The features of the woman's face are the same as in Anna Vasa's portrait from about 1605 and her miniatures from the 1590s identified by me (Marcin Latka). A book on the table beside her is therefore Protestant Bible, published in the small octavo format and landscape with rivers and wooded hills is how Tintoretto imagined her native Sweden.
The portrait of a man with a red beard from the same period in the National Museum in Warsaw and attributed to Tintoretto's workshop is almost identical in composition, techinique and dimensions. He is holding a similar book. It is therefore an important royal court official. The royal secretary from 1579 and a staunch Calvinist Jan Drohojowski (d. 1601) fit perfectly. From 1588 he was also a castellan of Sanok, hence one of the most powerful protestants in the country.
Drohojowski was the son of Stanisław Drohojowski, the promoter of Calvinism. His mother Ursula Gucci (d. 1554), also known as Urszula Karłowna, was also a protestant. She was a lady-in-waiting of Queen Bona and a daughter of Carlo Calvanus Gucci (d. 1551), a merchant and contractor, who arrived in Kraków in the retinue of Queen Bona and was later made Żupnik of the Ruthenian lands.
Portrait of princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) in Spanish costume by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Portrait of Jan Drohojowski, castellan of Sanok by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Anna of Austria and Anna Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1586, to strengthen her nephew's chances in royal election, Queen Anna Jagiellon proposed a marriage between Sigismund and Anna of Austria (1573-1598). The Habsburgs had strong influences in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and their claims to the throne were supported by part of the nobility. Due to the political instability and Maximilian of Austria's desire for the Polish crown, Anna's parents, preferred the match with Henry of Lorraine.
The plans resummed in 1590 when Anna's engagement with Duke of Lorraine was broken off. In April 1592, the betrothal was formally celebrated in the Imperial Court in Vienna. Despite the opposition of the nobles, Sigismund and 18 years old Anna were married by proxy in Vienna on 3 May 1592. She arrived to Poland with her mother Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria and a retinue of 431 people. The young king welcomed his wife accompanied by the "old queen" Anna Jagiellon and his sister Princess Anna Vasa in Łobzów Palace near Kraków where four tents were set up, decorated in Turkish style for the feast. The young queen received rich gifts, including "Kanak necklace with large diamonds and rubies and oriental pearls, which are called Bezars 30" from the king, "a chain of oriental pearls and a diamond necklace, and two crosses, one ruby, the other diamond" from the "old queen" and "kanak necklace with a cross of rubies and diamonds pinned on one" from Princess Anna, among others. Also "the envoy from the Lords of Venice" brought gifts valued at 12,000 florins.
Anna of Austria's Spanish connections become very important soon after her arrival, when after death of his father Sigismund left for Sweden and was willing to abdicate in favor of Archduke Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry his sister Anna Vasa. Two of Anna's effigies by Martin Kober from about 1595 were later sent to dukes of Tuscany (both Francesco I and Ferdinando I were half-Spanish by birth, through their mother Eleanor of Toledo).
Three miniatures and a portrait, all in Sofonisba Anguissola's style, can be dated to around that time. One minature from the Harrach collection in Rohrau Castle in Austria, possibly lost, identified as effigy of Anna of Austria, shows de facto Anna Vasa with an eagle pendant. The other in the Uffizi Gallery (Inv. 1890, 8920, Palatina 650) depict Anna Vasa in more northern costume. The latter miniature is accompanied by very similar miniature of a lady in Spanish cosume with a necklace with Imperial eagle (Inv. 1890, 8919, Palatina 649), it is an effigy of Anna of Austria, the young queen of Poland and relative of the Holy Roman Emperors and the King of Spain.
The portrait by Sofonisba from private collection, which shows a blond lady with a heavy gold necklace is very similar to other effigies of Queen Anna of Austria, especially her portrait in Kraków, most probably by Jan Szwankowski (Jagiellonian University Museum) and engravings by Andreas Luining (National Museum in Warsaw) and Lambert Cornelis (Czartoryski Museum in Kraków).
The miniature of a man from the collection of Dukes Infantado in Madrid, painted in Sofonisba Anguissola's style shows a man in Eastern costume. His attire is very similar to these visible in a miniature with Polish horsemen from Albert of Prussia's "Kriegsordnung" (Military ordinance), created in 1555 (Berlin State Library) and in a portrait of Sebastian Lubomirski (1546-1613), created in about 1613 (National Museum in Warsaw). The features of the man's face are similar to miniature of Sigismund III Vasa (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum) and his portrait by Martin Kober (Kunsthistorisches Museum), both created in the 1590s. In the same collection of Dukes Infantado, there is also a miniature attributed to Jakob de Monte (Giacomo de Monte) from the same period, showing king's mother-in-law Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria (1551-1608).
Portrait of Queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) in Spanish cosume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Miniature portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Miniature portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) with eagle pendant by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Rohrau Castle.
Miniature portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa in Polish costume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, collection of Dukes Infantado in Madrid.
Portraits of Sigismund Bathory at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto
After failed plans to cede the throne of the Commonwealth to Archduke Ernest, as no monarch could do this without approval from the Diet, the Holy See had proposed the marriage of Princess Anna Vasa to Sigismund Bathory, who both could rule the country during the absence of the king (Sigismund III left for Sweden in 1593).
Sigismund was the nephew of king Stephen Bathory, who on 1 May 1585 confirmed his legal age by dissolving the council of twelve noblemen who ruled Transylvania in his name and made János Ghyczy the sole regent.
After death of his uncle in 1586, he was one of the candidates to the throne of the Commonwealth. Sigismund knew Latin and Italian and in 1592 at his court in Alba Julia he had a large group of Italian musicians like Giovanni Battista Mosto, Pietro Busto, Antonio Romanini, or Girolamo Diruta among others.
In summer of 1593, he went to Kraków in disguise to start negotiations regarding his marriage with Anna Vasa. Possibly on this occasion either the Polish court or Sigismund himself ordered a series of portraits from Domenico Tintoretto. It is unknown why negotiations were eventually unsuccessful, possible reason might be his homosexuality. The elites were probably afraid of another frivolous "Valois", who will escape from the country after few months or it was Anna who refused to marry him.
Three years later however, on August 1595, Sigismund married Maria Christina of Austria, a sister of Anna of Austria (1573-1598), hence becoming brother-in-law of the king of Poland. It was regarded as a major political gain, but Sigismund refused to consummate the marriage.
In summer of 1596 he sent his confessor, Alfonso Carrillo, to Spain. The Jesuit asked Philip II for finacial aid, as well as the Order of the Golden Fleece for Sigismund. The king promised Carrillo, in addition to 80,000 ducats in aid and granting of high distinction, diplomatic aid to Poland.
On 21 March 1599 Sigismund formally abdicated receiving the Silesian duchies of Opole and Racibórz as compensation and left Transylvania for Poland in June. On 17 August 1599 Pope Clement VIII dissolved his marriage.
A young man in a ruff from the 1590s, known from a series of portraits by Domenico Tintoretto, his workshop and some Italian painter, resemble greatly Sigismund Bathory, who was 21 in 1593. One version, in Kassel, bears an inscription ANNO SALVTIS / .M.D.L.X.X.X.V. (In the year of Salvation 1585) on a letter placed on a table beside him, it is a letter from Sigismund's uncle, King Stephen of Poland confirming his rights to Transylvania and therefore his claims to King's inheritance. The other in private collection in Marburg is inscribed TODORE del SASSO / CIAMBERLANO / AETATIS SVAE XXXVI with an image of a key, therefore claiming to be Chamberlain Todore del Sasso, aged 36, however no such man is confirmed in sources, especially as a recipient of the Order of the Golden Fleece known from so many portraits, the inscription must be false. It cannot be also Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino as the effigy does not match with his features and he had his exquisit court painter Federico Barocci. Another portrait from the Swedish royal collection by Domenico's workshop is in Stockholm. It was probably sent to Sigismund III, when he was in Sweden for his coronation.
There is also another version, but by a different painter, in Mexico. It is attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni or to Domenico Tintoretto, therefore stylistically close, to a painter born in Cremona, Sofonisba Anguissola, court painter of Spanish monarchs. The effigy is very similar to previous portraits, just the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece was added. It was commissioned by Polish court or Sigismund himself in about 1596 basing on effigy from 1593.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1593, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto or workshop, ca. 1593, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto or workshop, ca. 1593, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by circle of Giovanni Battista Moroni, most probably Sofonisba Anguissola after Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1596, Museo Nacional de San Carlos in Mexico.
Portrait of Agnieszka Tęczyńska as Saint Agnes by Francesco Montemezzano
In October 1594, when she was just 16 years old, the eldest daughter of Andrzej Tęczyński, Voivode of Kraków, and Zofia nee Dembowska, daughter of Voivode of Belz, married the widower Mikołaj Firlej, Voivode of Kraków from 1589. The wedding feast with the participation of the royal couple took place in the "Painted Manor" of the Tęczyński family in Kraków, later donated to the barefoot Carmelites (1610). The groom, brought up in Calvinism, secretly converted to Catholicism during his trip to Rome in 1569. He studied in Bologna.
Agnieszka was born in the lavish Tenczyn Castle, near Kraków on January 12, 1578 as the fourth child. Both of her parents died in 1588 and most probably then she was raised in the royal court of Queen Anna Jagiellon. In 1593 she accompanied the royal couple, Sigismund III and his wife Anna of Austria, on their trip to Sweden.
For some time, Tęczyńska's confessor was the Jesuit Piotr Skarga. After her husband's death in 1601, she took up the upbringing of her children, the administration of huge assets and she became involved in philanthropic and charitable activities. Widowed, Tęczyńska fell into devotion. She died in Rogów on June 16, 1644, at the age of 67, and was buried in the crypt at the entrance to the church in Czerna, she founded.
In the preserved paintings, offered to different monasteries, she is depicted in a costume of a widowed lady or in a Benedictine habit, like in a full-length portrait in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków from about 1640, created by circle of royal court painter Peter Danckerts de Rij or in a three-quarter length portrait in the National Museum in Warsaw, created by Jan Chryzostom Proszowski in 1643. The latter portrait, very Italian in style, was most likely inspired by a portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola.
A portrait in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH) depicts a lady with a lamb, an attribute of Saint Agnes, a patron saint of girls, chastity and virgins. "During the Renaissance, women who were soon to be married often associated themselves with this saint because Agnes chose to die rather than marry a man she did not love", according to MFAH catalogue. She is holding a Catholic book, most probably a volume of Saint Thomas Aquinas' "On the truth of the Catholic faith" (Incipit liber primus de veritate catholicae fidei contra errores gentilium). A rose-bush is in this context a symbol of the Virgin Mary and of messianic promise of Christianity because of its thorns (after James Romaine, Linda Stratford, "ReVisioning: Critical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art", 2014, p. 111).
Woman's face is very similar to the effigies of Agnieszka Tęczyńska, later Firlejowa from the last decade of her life and to the portrait of her nephew, Stanisław Tęczyński in Polish costume, created by Venetian painter active in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Tommaso Dolabella.
The portrait was in von Dirksen's collection in Berlin before 1932 and stylistically is very close to portraits of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Montemezzano (died after 1602), a pupil and a follower of Paolo Veronese.
Portrait of Agnieszka Tęczyńska as Saint Agnes by Francesco Montemezzano, ca. 1592-1594, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola
In about 1550, a young Cremonese painter, Sofonisba Anguissola, created her self-portrait (private collection) in a rich dress and in a pose exactly the same as that visible in a portrait of Catherine of Austria, Duchess of Mantua and later Queen of Poland. Catherine's portrait, in Voigtsberg Castle, is attributed to Titian. Sofonisba either created this portrait, participated in its creation or saw it somewhere, as Mantua is not far from Cremona. It could be threfore Catherine, who introduced her to the Polish court, when in June 1553 she married Sigismund II Augustus. Around that time Sofonisba created her self-portrait at the easel, one of the best of her self-portraits, which she could sent to the Polish court as a sample of her talent. This portrait is now in the Łańcut Castle.
The portrait which was previously identifed as effigy of Catharine Fitzgerald, Countess of Desmond and Duchess of Dorset (d. 1625) in Knole House is very similar to effigies of Anna Jagiellon by Martin Kober and his workshop in coronation robes from the Sigismund's Chapel (1587) and in widow's clothing (1595) at the Wawel Castle. It was recently identified as portrait of Sofonisba Anguissola basing on a leaf from van Dyck's Italian Sketchbook. The inscription in Italian was evidently added later, as the year 1629 is mentioned in the text (the painter was in Italy between 1621 and 1627).
The drawing shows an old lady, similar to that from the Knole portrait. According to inscription it is an effigy of Sofonisba, whom the Flemish painter visited in Palermo: "Portrait of Lady Sofonisma painter made live in Palermo in the year 1629 on the 12th of July: her age 96 still having her memory and brain very prompt, very courteous" (Rittratto della Sigra. Sofonisma pittricia fatto dal vivo in Palermo l'anno 1629 li 12 di Julio: l'età di essa 96 havendo ancora la memoria et il serverllo prontissimo, cortesissima). However Sofonisba died on 16 November 1625 and according to sources she was born on 2 February 1532, hence she was 92 when she died. Van Dyck was in Palermo in 1624. If he could confuse the dates of Sofonisba's life, he could also confuse the portrait of Queen of Poland by her hand, created in about 1595, that she had, with her self-portrait (Keller Collection, 1610). He may also have seen the portrait elsewhere in Italy, or even in Flanders or England. The Knole portrait was most probably acquired from the English royal collection, therefore it is highly probable that Anna sent to Queen Elizabeth I her effigy, one from a series created by Anguissola.
In July 1589, English envoy Jerome Horsey, wanting to see Anna, sneaked into her palace in Warsaw: "before the windows whereof were placed pots and ranks of great carnations, gillyflowers, province roses, sweet lilies, and other sweet herbs and strange flowers, giving most fragrant, sweet smells. [...] Her majesty sat under a white silk canopy, upon a great Turkey carpet in a chair of estate, a hard-favored queen, her maids of honor and ladies attendants at supper in the same room". Queen Anna allegedly asked him, how Queen Elizabeth could "'spill the blood of the Lord's anointed, a queen more magnificent than herself, without the trial, judgment and consent of her peers, the holy father the Pope and all the Christian princes of Europe?' 'Her subjects and parliament thought it so requisite, without her royal consent, for her more safety and quiet of her realm daily endangered.' She shook her head with dislike of my answer", reported Horsey.
Anna died in Warsaw on 9 September 1596 at the age of 72. Before her death she managed to accomplish tomb monuments for herself (1584) and her husband (1595) in Kraków, created by Florentine sculptor Santi Gucci, and for her mother in Bari near Naples (1593), created by Andrea Sarti, Francesco Zaccarella and Francesco Bernucci. She was the last of the Jagiellons, a dynasty that ruled over vast territories in Central Europe since the late 14th century, when Polish nobles proposed to pagan Duke of Lithuania, Jogaila, to marry their eleven-year-old Queen Jadwiga and thus become their king.
Counter-Reformation, that she supported, and foreign invasions destroyed Polish tolerance and diversity, greedy nobles destroyed Polish democracy (Liberum veto) and invaders turned much of the country's heritage into a pile of rubble. The only portrait of the Queen in the nest of the Jagiellons - Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków was acquired from the Imperial collection in Vienna in 1936, just three years before World War II broke out. It was created by Kober in about 1595 and sent to the Habsburgs.
Self-portrait at the easel by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1554-1556, Łańcut Castle.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola, or a copy by Anton van Dyck, ca. 1595 or 1620s, Knole House.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon, a drawing by Anton van Dyck after lost painting by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1620s, British Museum.
Portrait of Prince Jerzy Zbaraski as Saint George by Paolo Fiammingo
In 1591, after initial studies in the country, the young Zbaraski brothers Jerzy (George) or Yuriy (1574-1631) and Krzysztof (Christopher) or Kryshtof (1579-1627), descendants of Ruthenian Prince Fyodor Nesvitsky (died before 1442), went on a long trip abroad. They visited Germany, Italy and France. They studied in Padua (1592-1593) and visited Venice, Rome and Naples. In France, they went to Lyon, Bordeaux and Paris. While studying abroad, the brothers converted from Calvinism to Catholicism, however, they were supporters of religious tolerance and opponents of the enormous influence of the Jesuit Order.
They returned to the country at the turn of 1594 and 1595. In the following year (1596) they participated in the expedition to Hungary, in the Moldavian expedition and in the siege of Suceava. In 1598 Jerzy was in the retinue accompanying King Sigismund III Vasa in Sweden.
Probably at the turn of 1600 and 1601, both Zbaraski brothers went to the Netherlands, where Jerzy studied Greek and history under Justus Lipsius in Louvain. Between 1602-1605, Krzysztof stayed in Italy again, where he mastered mathematical science under the supervision of Galileo. In 1616 also Jerzy returned to Padua where he enrolled at the university.
In 1620, after the death of Janusz Ostrogski, Jerzy Zbaraski was appointed Castellan of Kraków. Like his yonger brother Krzysztof, he was not married and had no children. The Zbaraski brothers were the heirs of their father's enormous fortune, in addition to the estates of their mother, Duchess Anna Chetvertynska (Czetwertyńska), a member of the Ruthenian princely family, who according to Józef Wolff were descendants of Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev. In the 16th century Chetvertynski family owned large estates in Ukraine and Belarus and like Zbaraski family, they had Ruthenian Pogonia, displaying Saint George defeating the dragon, in their coat of arms.
Already in June 1589, in the retinue of bishop Radziwill and voivode Mikołaj Firlej, Jerzy visited the imperial court in Prague, where he had the opportunity to admire exquisite art collections of Emperor Rudolf II. From Venice, Jerzy, a great connoisseur and lover of art, brought the painting of Our Lady of Myślenice, later famous for miracles. According to "The History of the Miraculous painting of Our Lady in Myślenice", published in 1642 in Kraków, the original painting belonged to Pope Sixtus V, who left it in his will to the granddaughter of his sister, who became the abbess of a convent in Venice. When Prince Jerzy Zbaraski saw it in the convent, he wanted to have it, but the abbess did not want to give him the original, but agreed to make a copy. During the plague in Kraków in 1624, the painting was supposed to be burnt as "infected", but was spared from destruction. In 1633, the painting was transferred to the parish church in Myślenice. The image of the Virgin Mary is painted on a wood panel (50.3 x 67.8 cm) and because of some style similarities it is attributed to the Prague school from the beginning of the 17th century. The face and pose of the Virgin is however almost identical as in the painting showing Bathsheba at her bath (sold at Cambi Casa d'Aste in Genoa on 30 June 2020, lot 100), created by Paolo Fiammingo (Paul the Fleming, ca. 1540-1596). Fiammingo, born Pauwels Franck, was a Flemish painter, who, after training in Antwerp, was active in Venice for most of his life. He also possibly worked in Florence. Around 1573 he settled permanently in Venice, where he became a student of Jacopo Tintoretto. He opened a successful studio, which received commissions from all over Europe. One of his most important clients was Emperor Rudolf II and Hans Fugger, the heir of a German banking dynasty, who commissioned him in 1580 to produce several paintings to decorate the Swabian Escorial - Kirchheim Castle near Augsburg.
The style of the hand of Mary in Myślenice painting is similar to that visible in the Lady revealing her breast (An honest courtesan) by Domenico Tintoretto, dated to the 1580s (Prado Museum in Madrid, inventory number P000382).
The portrait of a man as Saint George in private collection, attributed to Italian or Venetian school, is also similar to Tintoretto's style. This small painting (28.7 x 21.7 cm) was painted on copper and the style of painting resemble more precisely the image entitled Profession of arms from the Munich Residence, attributed Fiammingo and created in the 1590s (Alte Pinakothek in Munich).
Prince Jerzy Zbaraski was a founder of at least two churches dedicated to his patron saint, Saint George. One in the main seat of the Prince and his brother, Zbarazh in Volhynia, was the burial place of part of the Zbaraski family. The wooden church and fortified Bernardine monastery was founded in 1606, and from 1627 the new brick church was built, most probably to design by Venetian architect and engineer of His Highness King Sigismund III Vasa, Andrea or Andrzej dell'Aqua, driving nearly 1,600 piles into the marshy area. This church was destroyed in 1648. In 1630 Zbaraski also founded Saint George's church in Pilica. Between 1611-1612, Krzysztof commissioned to Vincenzo Scamozzi in Venice, a project for a fortified palace intendend for Zbarazh. In a commentary to his design, published in 1615 in his "L'Idea Della Architettura Universale", Scamozzi recalled numerous meetings and discusions on military architecture with the learned Ruthenian aristocrat. It was however a design of the Flemish military engineer Hendrik van Peene and Venetian Andrea dell'Aqua that was used to built the new Zbarazh fortress between 1626-1631. His treatise on artillery "Praxis ręczna działa" from 1630 (manuscript in the Kórnik Library), dell'Aqua dedicated to Prince Jerzy Zbaraski.
In 1627 Jerzy founded the Zbaraski Chapel at the Gothic Dominican Church in Kraków, as a mausoleum for himself and his brother. It was built by the masons and sculptors Andrea and Antonio Castelli, probably according to the design of the royal architect Constantino Tencalla. In the baroque chapel there are monuments to two brothers carved in black Dębnik marble and white alabaster. Jerzy is depicted sleeping in armour and in a pose almost identical to that in the tomb monument of King Sigismund I the Old in the Sigismund's Chapel (1529-1531). His hairstyle is typical of a Polish-Lithuanian magnate from this period and he is holding his mace like if he was holding his manhood, a less subtle allusion to his virility or promiscuity. It is possible that some of the highly erotic works by Fiammingo were commissioned by Prince Zbaraski.
The man depicted as Saint George resemble Jerzy Zbaraski from his tomb sculpture, his portrait painted in the 1780s after original from the 1620s (Wilanów Palace in Warsaw) and effigies of his brother Krzysztof (National Museum of the History of Ukraine and Lviv National Art Gallery).
Jerzy was accused of a dissolute lifestyle and when he decided to put an end to coin counterfeiters with whom he was about to cooperate, they "persuaded one lady who visited the prince to give him a poison" (after "Niepokorni książęta" by Arkadiusz Bednarczyk, Andrzej Włusek).
Despite having no children, the memory of the last Prince Zbaraski preserved in the exquisite works of art that he commissioned.
Portrait of Prince Jerzy Zbaraski (1574-1631) as Saint George by Paolo Fiammingo, 1592-1594, Private collection.
Our Lady of Myślenice by Paolo Fiammingo, 1592-1594, Saint Mary's church in Myślenice.
Portrait of royal courtier Sebastian Sobieski by Leandro Bassano
Around October 16, 1593, king Sigismund III Vasa departed from Gdańsk for his coronation as the hereditary king of Sweden. He was accompanied by his courtiers, including Sebastian Sobieski (ca. 1552-1614), third son of captain Jan Sobieski (ca. 1518-1564) and Katarzyna Gdeszyńska. Earlier that year, in February, Sebastian was sent by the King as his envoy to the Lublin Sejmik (regional assemby). It is the first confirmed important function of this royal courtier. "Instructions for the Lublin Sejmik given from His Majesty to Sebastian Sobieski, a royal courtier in Warsaw on February 16, 1593", is in the Czartoryski Library in Kraków (BCz 390).
Sobieski most probably studied at the Calvinist school in Bychawa near Lublin. On December 17, 1576, probably thanks to the intercession of the Crown Vice-Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, he was admitted, as a page, to the court of king Stephen Bathory. Then, like his brothers, due to growing influence of the Counter-Reformation movement at the royal court, he converted to Roman Catholicism. On May 1, 1584, he was transferred to the group of salatariati saeculares (lay beneficiaries) in which he was until the death of the king. He became a supporter of Zamoyski, supported the election of king Sigismund III and, apparently, he participated in the defense of Kraków against the attack of the troops of Archduke Maximilian II in 1587 and the Battle of Byczyna in 1588. From May 1596, he held the position of Standard-Bearer of the Crown and as such he was depicted in the "Entry of the wedding procession of Sigismund III Vasa into Kraków in 1605" (Royal Castle in Warsaw).
Portrait of a bearded man in oriental costume from private collection in France, due some similarity to the style and, possibly, dates of his life is attributed to Hans von Aachen (1552-1615), a German painter trained in Italy. In 1592, while he was still working in Munich, von Aachen was appointed a court painter of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and moved to Prague in 1596.
According to inscription in Latin in upper right corner the man was 41 years old in 1593 (ANNO 1593 / ÆTATIS 41), exacly as Hans von Aachen, but also Sebastian Sobieski, born in about 1552. The portrait is evidently not a self-portrait of imperial court painter and this wealthy nobleman was depicted in a crimson silk żupan buttoned up to with gold buttons, very similar to żupan buttons of Stanisław Piwo, deputy cup-bearer of Płock, from the second quarter of the 17th century (Skrwilno Treasure, Toruń Regional Museum). His black coat trimmed with lynx fur it is almost identical to the one shown in the portrait of Jan Opaliński (1546-1598), created in 1591 (National Museum in Poznań), or in Twelve Polish and Hungarian types by Abraham de Bruyn, created in about 1581 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). His lace collar is very similar to the one in the effigy of The Marshal (Stanisław Przyjemski with a marshal staff) from Stanisław Sarnicki's "Statutes and records of crown privileges" by Jörg Brückner in Kraków, created in 1594 (Czartoryski Library). Letters on the table are very important documents, most probably envoy instructions given by the king. The style of painting is identical with portrait of Doge Marino Grimani (1532-1605), created in about 1595 by Leandro Bassano, signed: LEANDER A PONTE BASS [ANO] EQVES F. (Princeton University Art Museum). The man bear a resemblance to effigies of Sebastian Sobieski's brother Marek Sobieski (ca. 1550-1605), voivode of Lublin (1862 woodcut after lost portrait from the Zamoyski collection) and his brother's descendant (Marek's grandson), king John III Sobieski (portrait painting from the 1670s in the Kórnik Castle).
Mentioned portrait of Jan Opaliński in Poznań, a copy of a painting destroyed during World War I (from the burnt manor house in Rogów near Opatowiec), is considered by Michał Walicki as a very definite manifestation of the Venetian tradition "referring to the portraits of the Bassanos" (after "Malarstwo polskie: Gotyk, renesans, wczesny manieryzm", p. 33). Stilistically very similar was the painting which was before World War II in the Saint Lazarus hospital in Warsaw bearing the inscription in Latin: R. P. PETRVS SKARGA SOCIETATIS IESV. It represented the court preacher of King Sigismund III Vasa, Piotr Skarga (1536-1612), who became the first priest to hold it. The hospital was established in 1591 on his initiative for the poor and lepers and the founder was depicted sitting in his study before a table covered with an oriental carpet.
Portrait of royal courtier Sebastian Sobieski (ca. 1552-1614) aged 41 by Leandro Bassano, 1593, Private collection.
Portrait of Jan Opaliński (1546-1598) aged 45 by follower of the Bassanos, 1591, National Museum in Poznań.
Portrait of preacher Piotr Skarga (1536-1612) by follower of the Bassanos, after 1591, Saint Lazarus hospital in Warsaw, lost.
Portraits of Anna Vasa and Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1594 a marriage project appeared during Anna Vasa's stay in Sweden. The candidate was John George of Brandenburg (1577-1624), the administrator of Strasbourg from 1592 and a grandson of the Brandenburg elector, who was to become the governor of Prussia, a feudal fief of the Crown of Poland.
Negotiations on this marriage were conducted on the Brandenburg side by the Magdeburg chancellor Wilhelm Rudolf von Meckbach and Johann von Löben who both travelled to Kraków, and on the Polish side by royal secretary Jan Skrzetuski, who travelled to Berlin, and Samuel Łaski. The date of the wedding was set for April 10, 1598 in Stockholm and Anna even received a dowry of 100,000 thalers from her brother Sigismund III Vasa, as well as jewelery, horses, furniture and 10,000 guilders as a wedding gift. Anna and her descendants were to be granted the inheritance rights to Sweden.
Death of John George, Elector of Brandenburg on 8 January 1598, death of Sigismund's wife Anna of Austria (1573-1598) on 10 February and the outbreak of the uprising in Sweden made it impossible to conclude the wedding at the planned place and date. When Sigismund's uncle depose him in Sweden, these plans did not materialize.
The portrait of a noblewoman and her husband in costumes from the late 1590s by Sofonisba Anguissola is very similar to other effigies of Anna Vasa. Her costume in Spanish style and pose resemble closely portrait of queen Anna of Austria by Martin Kober, created in 1595 (Bavarian State Painting Collections and Uffizi Gallery in Florence) and portrait of Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616) by Joseph Heintz the Elder, created in 1604 (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna). The man's costume is typical for France and Protestant countries in the late 16th century.
After return to Poland Sigismund made Anna starost of Brodnica on October 2, 1604, after death of Zofia Działyńska née Zamoyska and in December 1605 she attended Sigismund's wedding in Kraków, sitting in the bride's carriage. The negotiations with John George of Brandenburg were finally discontinued in 1609 and on June 3, 1610 he married Eva Christine von Württemberg (1590-1657), while Anna remained unmarried.
The oval portrait in private collection, very similar to Anna's miniature in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is also stylistically close to Sofonisba as well as a miniature of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa in the Bavarian State Painting Collections.
Portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) in Spanish costume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1598, Private collection.
Portraits of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) and John George of Brandenburg (1577-1624) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1598, Private collection.
Portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625), starost of Brodnica by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1605, Private collection.
Miniature of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1605, Bavarian State Painting Collections.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa in armour by Domenico Tintoretto
"The imago will be gratiosissima to the King. The King His Highness waits for paintings with great joy: a strange thing how he loves when he has something wonderful" (Imago będzie Królowi gratiosissima. Obrazów król Jmć czeka z wielką radością: dziwna rzecz jako się w nich kocha kiedy co cudnego ma), reveals in a letter dated July 12, 1588, written to Stanisław Reszka (1544-1600), who was in Rome, a Jesuit Bernard Gołyński (1546-1599) about the paintings commissioned by Sigismund III Vasa in Italy.
Sigismund was also a talented painter and goldsmith. According to historian Franciszek Siarczyński (1758-1829) in his "Picture of the Era of Sigismund III" (Obraz wieku panowania Zygmunta III), the king with the help of his court goldsmith, a Venetian Redutti (Reduta, Redura) made many church utensils, such as monstrances, chalices, lamps and candlesticks, which he gave to several churches.
In the collection of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich there is a painting which according to Edward Rastawiecki in his "Dictionary of Polish painters" (Słownik malarzów polskich, pp. 96-97) is "another work of this kind" and it was given to king's daughter Anna Catherine Constance Vasa, "on the back, the preserved inscriptions and seals confirm the origin and authenticity of this interesting souvenir". This work is however listed in Johann Nepomuck Edler von Weizenfeld's "Description of the electoral picture gallery in Schleissheim" of 1775 as the work of Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti, 1518-1594). Stylistically the painting is very close to this Venetian painter and his son Domenico (1560-1635).
The monarch with the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece is very similar to that visible in the study for a portrait of a king, most probably Sigismund III Vasa, in the collection of Francis Springell, attributed to Peter Paul Rubens, and to Sigismund's effigy in the Procession with St. Anianus by circle of Tommaso Dolabella in the Corpus Christi Church in Kraków. In the background, among the colonnades, there is a statue of the Madonna and Child, and in the clouds the figure which is interpreted as Saint Sigismund, patron saint of the monarchs. Heresy, depicted as an old woman, lies chained on the steps of the church. On the right are two Jesuits.
Saint Sigismund has also a chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece and he bears a strong resemblance to Sigismund III's father-in-law Archduke Charles II of Austria (1540-1590), son of Anna Jagellonica. His crown is bordered with ermine like the Archducal hat (coronet). Curiously also the crown of the main monarch is bordered with ermine. It might be the painter's mistake or that Sigismund III commissioned an effigy of his brother-in-law Ferdinand II (1578-1637) who was raised by the Jesuits and dealt with heresy in his country before becoming emperor in 1619.
Sigismund III received the Order of the Golden Fleece from his brother-in-law king Philip III of Spain in 1600. On this occasion he commissioned silver table service in Augsburg for 20,000 florins. The service, created by Hermann Plixen, was used for the first time during a banquet at the Castle in Warsaw on February 25, 1601. The king also commissioned other exquisite items in Augsburg, like the silver sarcophagus of Saint Stanislaus for the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, and in other locations. Through his agent in Persia, Sefer Muratowicz, he commissioned a series of kilims with his coat of arms in 1601 and in about 1611-1615 he purchased a series of 6 tapestries in François Spierincx's workshop in Delft with the Story of Diana. On October 29, 1621 Jan Brueghel the Elder wrote to E. Bianchi about sending a lot of paintings to the King (molti pitture al Re) and the "Battle of Kircholm in 1605" by Pieter Snayers, also created for Sigismund, is today in the Château de Sassenage. In Milan, in about 1600, he commissioned a crystal lavabo (ewer and basin) with his coat of arms and monogram (Treasury of the Munich Residence) and most probably the shishak helmet offered to Feodor I of Russia (Kremlin Museum), created before 1591. His portraits in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, lost during World War II, and in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw represent him in a rich, chiselled, partially gilt and polychromed blue armor in the type of mezza armatura (half armor), probably made in Milan.
Portrait of a man in a suit of armour etched with gold by Domenico Tintoretto of unknown provenance (sold in 2016 at Christie's, lot 163), has almost identical dimensions as effigy of Sigismund III's sister Anna Vasa by Domenico Tintoretto in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (115.3 x 96.1 cm / 115.5 x 96.7 cm). It is possible that they were created at the same time. The man bears a great resemblance to the effigies of Sigismund III Vasa from the early 17th century, especially his portrait painted in Prague in about 1605 by court painter of Emperor Rudolph II, Joseph Heintz the Elder (Alte Pinakothek in Munich).
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa in a suit of armour etched with gold by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592-1600, Private collection.
Allegory of suppression of heresy by Domenico Tintoretto, 1600-1619, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa as Saint Sigismund by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto
Around 1600, most likely an Italian painter Ottavio Zanuoli (d. 1607), created a painting depicting the Communion of the Virgin, today in the Royal Convent of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid. Zanuoli was a court painter of Archduke Charles of Styria (son of Anna Jagellonica) and his wife Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria (granddaughter of Anna Jagellonica). According to handwritten list of all the effigies fixed on the back of the canvas, the painting represent the family of Archduke Charles, depicted as Saint John the Apostle, giving communion to the Virgin. His son Charles of Austria (1590-1624), Prince-Bishop of Wrocław from 1608, is holding a jug as a deacon of the mass. Behind Archduchess Maria Anna, represented as the Virgin Mary, are her daughters including Anna (1573-1598) and Constance (1588-1631), two wives of Sigismund III Vasa. The painting was undoubtedly a gift to Margaret of Austria (1584-1611), a daughter of Charles and Maria, who on 18 April 1599 married King Philip III of Spain, her first-cousin. Margaret became a very influential figure at her husband's court and a great patron of the arts.
In 1603 the Queen of Spain commissioned paintings to her private oratory in the Valladolid palace, painted by Juan Pantoja de La Cruz, today in the Prado Museum in Madrid. One, the Birth of the Virgin shows three of her sisters, together with their mother, Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria, the other, the Nativity of Jesus, shows three of her brothers and three of her sisters, the Queen as the Virgin Mary and her husband as a shepherd.
Around 1620, the youngest of Charles and Maria's daughters, Maria Magdalena, who on 19 October 1608 married Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany was represented as Saint Mary Magdalene in a painting by Justus Sustermans, preserved in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, and in a workshop copy in private collection.
Such effigies, in guise of Saints and biblical figures were also popular at the Polish-Lithuanian royal court at that time. The Communion of the Jagiellons at Jasna Góra in 1477 (Casimir IV Jagiellon with his sons admitted to Jasna Góra Confraternity), created by workshop of Venetian painter Tommaso Dolabella in the second quarter of the 17th century (Jasna Góra Monastery), shows King Sigismund III and his sons as their predecessors from the Jagiellon Dynasty kneeling before the Black Madonna of Częstochowa. In the Jasna Góra Monastery, there are also two other paintings created by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella depicting Saints Stephen and Ladislaus, Kings of Hungary, both bearing features of King Sigismund III Vasa and a costume known from other portraits of the king.
A painting by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto, also attributed to his brother Marco, whom the father's will names as a painter in Domenico's workshop, from a private collection in Southern Germany (oil on canvas, 113 x 89 cm, sold at Lempertz, Cologne on May 2003, lot 1133), basing on some details of the painting is identifed as depicting Saint Louis IX, king of France, kneeling before the Crucifix. The traditional symbols of this Saint are indeed visible in the painting, fleur-de-lis on his coat, pendant, crown and sceptre, however there is also a crown embroidered on his coat and the attire is not blue like in the French royal coat of arms, golden fleur-de-lis on a blue field, used continuously for nearly six centuries (1211-1792). Italian painters since the beginning of the 16th century were well aware how the French king should look like and paintings by Ambrogio Bergognone, active in and near Milan, created between 1500-1520 (Accademia Carrara in Bergamo), by Berto di Giovanni, active in Perugia, created in about 1517 (Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria), by Francesco Curradi, active in Florence, created in about 1600 (Private collection) and Matteo Rosselli, active in Florence, painted between 1613-1614 (Chiesa della Madonna in Livorno), depict the Saint in a mantle of French monarchs with golden fleur-de-lis on a blue field. The Saint from the Tintoretto's painting is therefore not Saint Louis IX. Another saint monarch connected with France is Saint Sigismund (Latin Sigismundus, died 524 AD), King of the Burgundians, patron saint of monarchs and of the Kingdom of Bohemia (in 1366, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, transferred Sigismund's relics to Prague and gave the saint's name to one of his sons, the later King Sigismund of Hungary). Arm reliquary of Saint Sigismund from the Guelph treasure, created in the late 11th century (Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin), was in the late 13th or early 14th century supplemented with an orb surmounted by a fleur-de-lis, a shortened representation of a lily-crowned scepter.
Altar painting with Saint Sigismund in the Parish church in Słomczyn near Warsaw (Konstancin-Jeziorna), created in about 1895 after a lost original, is very similar to the painting by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto. The Saint is kneeling before the Crucifix, his crown and sceptre are on a table covered with crimson fabric, his golden mantle and pendant are also very much alike. Another painting in the same church from the 19th century feretory depict Saint Sigismund in similar golden tunic and kneeling before the altar. The church in Słomczyn was founded at the beginning of the 15th century by Mrościsław Cieciszewski and the main patron of the parish from the very beginning was Saint Sigismund. During the Deluge (1655-1660) the church was plundered and invaders destroyed the altars.
In 1165 Werner, bishop of Płock (north of Warsaw), brought the relics of Saint Sigismund from Aachen. In 1370 King Casimir III the Great, commissioned a silver reliquary for the Saint, today in the Diocesan Museum in Płock, and in 1601 King Sigismund III Vasa ordered the 13th century diadem to be placed on the reliquary of his patron saint. Sigismund III was frequenlty depicted in a similar żupan-like attire to that visible in Tintoretto's painting, for example in the mentioned Communion of the Jagiellons, in another painting by circle of Tommaso Dolabella representing Tsar of Muscovy Vasili Shuisky swearing an oath of allegiance at the Parliament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1611 (Lviv Historical Museum) and in the plaque from his sarcophagus with King's military campaigns, created in 1632 (Wawel Cathedral). The man from the Tintoretto's painting bear a resemblance to the portrait of Sigismund III Vasa in a suit of armour etched with gold by the same painter, created between 1592-1600 (Private collection), his effigy in the Battle of Smolensk by Antonio Tempesta or Tommaso Dolabella, painted after 1611 (Private collection) and his profile on gold 10 ducats coin (portuguez), minted by Rudolf Lehman in Poznań in 1600 (National Museum in Kraków). The overall composition resembles the portrait of Piotr Skarga (1536-1612), court preacher of Sigismund III, created in 1588 by Karel van Mallery (National Library of Spain in Madrid).
The painting by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto was in the collection in Southern Germany, exaclty as Allegory of suppression of heresy by this painter from the collection of Sigismund III's daughter (Alte Pinakothek in Munich). The king often sent gifts to William V, Duke of Bavaria, like the reliquary of Saints John the Baptist and Dionysius the Areopagite, offered in 1614 (Treasury of the Munich Residence) or silver statue of St. Benno of Meissen offered to the altar of St. Benno in the Munich Cathedral, created by Jeremias Sibenbürger in 1625 in Augsburg (Diocesan Museum in Freising). Together with the statue of St. Benno, the king also donated two silver reliquaries in the shape of a hand (not preserved) and 10,000 guilders for celebrating the daily mass, the so-called Polish mass, in the Cathedral.
Portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa as Saint Sigismund kneeling before the Crucifix by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto, 1592-1600, Private collection.
Portrait of Janusz I Radziwill by Leandro Bassano
"The Polish Lord, at whose court Michelagnolo was already employed, has recently written, that he must go there as soon as possible, offering him a most honorable position, that is, a place at his table, dressed like the first gentlemen of his court, two servants, who will serve him, and a carriage with four horses, and more than 200 Hungarian ducats a year's allowance, that is about 300 scudi, except donations, which will be a lot; so that he is resolved to leave as soon as possible, nor expects anything other than the opportunity of good company, and I believe that he will depart in fifteen days, so I must arrange him with money for the journey, and in addition it is necessary for him to bring with him at the request of his Lord some things, for which among the provision for a journey and the said things I cannot fail to accommodate at least 200 scudi" (Signor Pollacco, a presso di chi è stato Michelagnolo, ha ultimamente scritto, che ei deva quanto prima andare là da lui, offerendoli partito honoratissimo, cioè la sua tavola, vestito al pari dei primi gentil' homini di sua corte, due servitori, che lo servino, et una carrozza da quattro cavalli, et di più 200 ducati ungari di provvisione l'anno, che sono circa 300 scudi, oltre ai donativi, che saranno assai; tal che lui è risoluto di andar via quanto prima, nè aspetta altro che l'occasione di buona compagnia, et credo che tra quindici giorni partirà, onde a me bisogna di accomodarlo di danari per il viaggio, et in oltre bisogna che porti seco ad instanza del suo Signore alcune robe, che tra 'l viatico et le dette robe non posso far di manco di non l'accomodare almeno di 200 scudi), informed his mother in a letter from Padua in the Venetian Republic of August 7, 1600 (Mss. Palatini, Parte I, Vol. IV, pag. 11.), Galileo Galilei, famous Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer.
Already in 1593 Michelagnolo Galilei (1575-1631), an Italian composer and lutenist, son of another composer and lutenist, Vincenzo Galilei, and the younger brother of Galileo went to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where foreign musicians were in great demand. Most likely invited by the influential Radziwill family, he stayed there till 1599 and returned to his previous employer in Poland-Lithuania in 1600 after a short stay in Italy.
The "Polish Lord", Michelagnolo's parton, is somerimes identifed as Christopher Nicolaus Radziwill (1547-1603) nicknamed "the Thunderbolt", voivode of Vilnius, Grand Hetman of Lithuania and a representative of the Birzai branch of the Lithuanian magnate family (after "Galileo Galilei e il mondo polacco" by Bronisław Biliński, p. 69), who employed several musicians at his court. Christopher Nicolaus was a son of Nicolaus "the Red" Radziwill (brother of Queen Barbara), a Calvinist and protector of the Calvinists in Poland-Lithuania. By his second wife Katarzyna Ostrogska (1560-1579), daughter of Zofia Tarnowska (1534-1570), he had a son Janusz I (1579-1620), educated in Strasbourg and Basel. Janusz also traveled to Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, and France. From 1599 he was a cupbearer of Lithuania and on 1 October 1600 he married the Orthodox Princess Sophia Olelkovich-Slutska (1585-1612), the heiress of Slutsk and Kopyl (in present-day Belarus) and the richest bride in Lithuania.
Sophia, canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1983, died in childbirth on March 19, 1612, leaving all of her property to her husband, and just few months later, on March 27, 1613 in Berlin, Janusz married Elizabeth Sophie of Brandenburg (1589-1629), a daughter of the Brandenburg Elector John George (1525-1598) and a great-granddaughter of Barbara Jagiellon (1478-1534), Duchess of Saxony.
It is possible that Michelagnolo was invited to the Commonwealth for the wedding feast of Janusz and Sophia. According to a Galileo's letter from Padua of November 20, 1601 to his brother in Vilnius, he also traveled to Kraków and Lublin. In April 1606 he returned to Italy to live with his brother in Padua. On May 11, 1606 Galileo wrote to him from Venice about negotiating with a German Lord (Signore tedesco) and he secured him a place at court of the Bavarian Elector in Munich. In 1608 Michelagnolo was married to Chiara Anna Bandinelli in Bavaria, whom he most likely met in Lithuania and who was the sister or daughter of Roberto Bandinelli, nephew of the famous Florentine sculptor Bartolommeo called Baccio, who settled with his family in Lithuania (after "Archivio storico italiano", Volume 17, p. 31).
According to the catalogue of exhibition of portraits in the Hague in 1903 (Meisterwerke der Porträtmalerei auf der Ausstellung im Haag, p. 2, item 2a), in the collection of Princess Cecylia Lubomirska née Zamoyska (1831-1904) in Kraków there was a portrait of a lute player by Leandro Bassano. It was later owned by Cecylia's son Kazimierz Lubomirski (1869-1930), most probably lost during World War II.
A young man with several rings on his left hand is playing a serenade on a lute to his beloved. He is listened to by his dog, conventional symbol for fidelity, especially marital fidelity, wearing an expensive collar, possibly bearing his coat of arms. The window in the background shows his house, an Italian-style villa similar to the pavillons of the Radziwill Palace in Vilnius, the larger palace of the Calvinist branch of the family. The Radziwill Palace, initially a renaissance manor house built in the 16th century, was reconstructed and extended between 1635 and 1653 for Janusz II Radziwill (1612-1655), nephew of Janusz I (1579-1620). The lavish edifice was constructed by Jan Ullrich and Wilhelm Pohl to design by Italian architect, most probably Constantino Tencalla, and was depicted in 1653 medal by Sebastian Dadler, minted on the occasion of the inauguration of Janusz II as the Voivode of Vilnius.
The lute player from the Lubomirski collection was signed and dated by the artist. The inscription in Latin stated that the depicted man was 21 years old in 1600 (Anno aetatis suae XXI, MDC), exaclty as Janusz I Radziwill (born in July 1579 in Vilnius), when he married Sophia Olelkovich-Slutska. The sitter bear a great resemblance to other effigies of the Prince, especially a print by Jan van der Heyden after Jacob van der Heyden, created in 1609 (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum), a portrait by unknown artist (State Historical Museum in Moscow) and a medal with his bust, published in Berlin in "Medals of the princely house of Radziwill" (Denkmünzen des Radziwillschen Fürstenhauses, 1846).
It is generally belived that Bassano's lute player is tantamount to a painting acquired in Venice by Count Stanisław Kostka Potocki (1755-1821), who recalled in a letter to his wife of September 22, 1785 from Venice: "I end my article on Venice by telling you that I have acquired one of the freshest paintings of Paolo Veronese that I have ever seen, it is a Holy Family of the size of your Rubens, I hope that you will be happy with it, adding here a portrait of Bassen playing the lute painted by himself which is really a masterpiece of this master, and you will be happy with this acquisition (je finis mon article de Venise, par te dire que j'ai fait l'aquisition d'un des plus frais tablaux de Paule Véronèse que la aie jamais vue, c'est une St. Famille de la grandeur à peu près de ton Rubens, j'espère que la en sera contente, ajoute ici un portrait du Bassen jouant du luth peint par lui meme qui est vraiment un chef d'œuvre de ce maître, et tu sera contente de moi, Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw, 262 t. 1, page 60). Veronese's Holy Family is today most probably in the Wilanów Palace (inventory number Wil.1000, also considered to be the painting purchased in Paris in 1808) and it is currently attributed to his brother Benedetto Caliari. Even if the lute player from the Lubomirski collection was acquired by Potocki in Venice, it does not exclude that it represents a person from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as paintings commissioned abroad were frequently created in series, as gifts to relatives and friends. In this case the possibility that it was a gift to the tutor's brother, Galileo Galilei, or his family is probable. If Michelagnolo was a court musician of Christopher Nicolaus "the Thunderbolt", he could teach music to his son Janusz I.
"It was customary that the orders of Polish clients abroad were paid through the bankers' offices that organized the transport. Thus, the intermediary between Sigismund III and Chancellor Zamoyski, on the one hand, and Italian painters, on the other, was the Montelupi company from Kraków, whose post office brought finished and paid works to Poland. Gdańsk bankers mediated between our country and the Netherlands, and thanks to their efforts, paintings and fabrics ordered by Ladislaus IV in Antwerp were transported by sea through the Danish straits" (after "Obrazy z kolegiaty łowickiej i ich przypuszczalny twórca" by Władysław Tomkiewicz, p. 119). In the 1620s, most probably after death of Leandro Bassano, who died on April 15, 1622, a painter from the circle of Bassano brothers settled in Pułtusk, a significant economic centre of Masovia. Between 1624-1627 he created three paintings showing scenes from the life of Mary for the Łowicz Cathedral, commissioned by Henryk Firlej (1574-1626), Archbishop of Gniezno and Primate of Poland, son of Jan Firlej (1521-1574), and a self-portrait, today in the Dominican Monastery in Kraków.
Portrait of Janusz I Radziwill (1579-1620), aged 21 playing a lute by Leandro Bassano, 1600, Lubomirski collection in Kraków, lost.
Portrait of Sebastian Petrycy by Venetian painter
Sebastian Petrycy or Sebastianus Petricius Pilsnanus, was born in 1554 in Pilzno near Tarnów in south-eastern Poland as a son of Stanisław (died after 1590), a wine merchant. In 1583 he graduated with the degree in philosophy at the Kraków Academy and he began lecturing there. A year later, in 1584, Sebastian became a member of the Collegium Minus (College Minor) and took the chair of poetics and in 1588 he became a professor of rhetoric.
In February 1589, Petrycy was granted a leave to travel to Italy and study at a selected foreign university. He decided to study in Padua, where he received the degree of doctor of medical sciences at the beginning of March 1590.
When he returned to Kraków, he applied for the recognition of his diploma at the Faculty of Medicine, but was refused admission and left for Lviv, where he got married with already pregnant eighteen-year-old Anna (he was almost forty), the daughter of a wealthy merchant Franz Wenig, and opened his own medical practice. The death of his wife (February 28, 1596) and of his only daughter, Zuzanna, as well as the lost trial for the inheritance of his father-in-law, prompted him to return to Krakow (around 1600). He became the personal physician of the bishop of Kraków Bernard Maciejowski, who in 1603 was made cardinal by Pope Clement VIII. Between 1603-1604 he went with the cardinal to France and Lorraine and in 1606, as a physician of Jerzy Mniszek and his daughter Marina, he left for Moscow, which cost him almost a year and a half in captivity. During his court career, he worked on translations of Aristotle into Polish. He then returned to the medical profession and successfully practiced for the last 10 years of his life.
Petrycy died in 1626 in Kraków, and shortly before his death he founded a marble epitaph for himself depicting him in prayer, created by a royal court sculptor.
Portrait of a bearded man holding glasses, comes from the collection of John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick (1770-1859) at Northwick Park. It was previously attributed to Titian and Lotto Lorenzo, however stylistically is also close to Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594) and his son Domenico (1560-1635). The man's costume of crimson silk is very similar to Polish żupan, his coat is lined with fur. This effigy is very similar to portraits of Sebastian Petrycy and his son Jan Innocenty Petrycy (1592-1641), who like father was a physician, professor at the Academy and studied in Bologna. Mentioned portraits are today in the Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University and were created in the 1620s by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella (1570-1650), a Venetian artist settled in Kraków and a court painter of king Sigismund III Vasa. It is possible that Dolabella's workshop copied some family owned portraits, created in Venice. Consequently the effigy can be dated to beginning of the 17th century when Petrycy was a court physician in Kraków.
Portrait of Sebastian Petrycy (1554-1626) holding glasses by Venetian painter, possibly Domenico Tintoretto, 1600-1606, Private collection.
Portraits of Constance of Austria by Gortzius Geldorp
"Although the king was young, he was more inclined to peace than to war, and he did not even want to find employment in anything in the domain of the god Mars. I heard that one time, when the archbishop and chancellor informed him about the war, he wrote something down in a pugilares. They thought that he was anxious about the fate of the war until the king, who was a good painter, goldsmith and turner, showed them a painted little owl", recalled in his diary Albert Stanislaus Radziwill, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania about the beginnings of the reign of Sigismund III Vasa.
The King, so much inimical to idleness (tanto inimico dell'ozio), in his spare time he occupied himself with a certain artistic work, making his effigies, paintings and other items, which he offered as a gift, like "the one of which he painted with his own hand was the portrait of Saint Catherine of Siena last year" (una delle quali che fece di sua mano, fu il ritratto di S. Catherina di Siena l'anno passato), says of Sigismund III another contemporary witness, the papal nuncio Erminio Valenti (1564-1618), in a handwritten description of Poland and the royal court in 1603 (Relazione del Regno di Polonia).
In 1605 the king married his distant relative (as a granddaughter of Anna Jagellonica), the sister of his first wife and sister of Queen of Spain, Constance of Austria (1588-1631). Many eminent guests arrived to Kraków for Sigismund's wedding, the bride with her mother Archduchess Maria Anna, and her sister - Maria Christina, Princess of Transylvania, Radu Șerban, Voivode of Wallachia or his envoy, Mechti Kuli Beg, Ambassador of Persia, Afanasy Ivanovich Vlasiev, Ambassador of Russia, among others. The city was beautifully decorated on the entry of the wedding procession (mechanical Polish eagle, most probably from ephemeral decorations, preserved in the St. Mary's Church in Kraków). Also many artists came to Kraków at that time. The so-called "Stockholm Scroll", a unique, fifteen-metre long painting depicting the 1605 wedding procession, acquired during the Deluge and returned to Poland in 1974 (donated to the Royal Castle in Warsaw), is attributed to Balthasar Gebhardt, court painter of Archduke Ferdinand (1578-1637), Constance's brother.
Among the most distinguished works attributed to the king there is a gouache painting on parchment with Allegory of Faith in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. It bears the king's coat of arms, his monogram S under the crown, the date 1616 and monogram M.N.D.F.C. Below there is also a signature of king's wife Constantia Regina. Since the effigy of a woman bears resemblance to other effigies of the Queen, it was she who lend her features to the figure. Another painting traditionally linked with Sigismund is Mater Dolorosa in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich (inventory number 5082), painted on copper. It comes from the Castle Haag in Geldern in the district of Kleve, North Rhine-Westphalia and was most probably part of Anna Catherine Constance's dowry. Sigismund's painting is a copy of a work by Gortzius Geldorp depicting a female saint in adoration signed with monogram 'GG F', painted on wood. Crispijn van de Passe the Elder created a print, published in Utrecht in 1612, with similar composition, showing the penitent Mary Magdalene (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number RP-P-1906-2063), which is however more close to the Sigismund's painting then to the version by Geldorp. The woman in Geldorp's painting has more Habsburg facial features.
The same woman with protruding lower lip was depicted in two other paintings by Geldorp one signed with monogram and dated 'AN ° 1605.GG.F.' (sold in 2015 at Christie's, Amsterdam, lot 52, the other sold in 2011 at Christie's, New York, lot 140). Both paintings represent a lady as Berenice, wife of pharaoh Ptolemy III Euergetes. Berenice pledged to sacrifice her hair to the goddess Venus if her husband was safely brought home from battle during the Third Syrian War. Her hair became the constellation called Coma Berenices (Berenice's hair) and the symbol of power of marital love.
Very little is known about Gortzius Geldorp. He was born in Leuven (Louvain) in 1553 in what was then the Spanish Netherlands and learned to paint from Frans Francken I and later from Frans Pourbus the Elder. Around 1576 became court painter to the Duke of Terra Nova, Carlo d'Aragona Tagliavia (1530-1599), a Sicilian-Spanish nobleman, who in 1582 was appointed Governor of Milan and whom he accompanied on his trips. The Duke died in Madrid on September 23, 1599, and Geldorp died after 1619. It is very possible that he or his student came to Kraków in 1605.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as Berenice by Gortzius Geldorp, 1605, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as Berenice by Gortzius Geldorp, ca. 1605, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as a Saint in adoration (Saint Constance?) by Gortzius Geldorp, ca. 1616, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Rafał Leszczyński by workshop of Frans Pourbus the Younger
Rafał Leszczyński, great-grandfather of King Stanisław Leszczyński (Stanislas Leczinski), was born in October 1579 as the only son of Andrzej Leszczyński (d. 1606), voivode of Brześć Kujawski and Anna Firlej, a daughter of Andrzej Firlej (d. 1585), castellan of Lublin. He had three half-brothers: Jan, Grand Chancellor of the Crown, Wacław, the Primate of Poland, and Przecław, voivode of Tartu.
He studied at the school of the Czech Brethren in Koźminek, then he was educated in Silesia (Głogów), Heidelberg (1594), Basel (1595), Strasbourg (1596-1598) and Geneva (1599). He visited England, Scotland, the Netherlands and Italy, where in Padua in 1601 he was a student of the famous Italian physicist, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei. He began his public activity as an envoy to the Sejm from the Sandomierz Voivodeship in 1605. In 1609, he became the marshal of the Central Tribunal, in 1612 - castellan of Wiślica and in 1618 - castellan of Kalisz. As one of the leaders of the Polish Protestants, he was in opposition to the pro-Habsburg policy of King Sigismund III Vasa. He was also called the "Pope of the Polish Calvinists".
After return to Poland (1603), he maintained contacts with foreign scientists. He was interested in military and cartography. He commissioned a map of the south-eastern borderlands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, unfortunately, despite the help of the geodesist and cartographer Maciej Głoskowski, the work was not completed. In addition to Latin, he spoke French, German, and Italian fluently. He wrote poems, like a paraphrase of Guillaume du Bartas's poem "Judith", published by Andrzej Piotrkowczyk in Baranów in 1620. In his beautiful Renaissance castle in Baranów, built by Santi Gucci, he kept a large library, which, according to an inventory from 1627, had about 1,700 volumes.
A miniature portrait from Leon Piniński's collection, today in the Lviv National Art Gallery (inventory number Ж-50), shows a man in a fashionable Italian/French costume. It was painted on copper and according to inscription in Latin the man was 28 years old in 1607 ([...] SVAE 28. ANNO DOMINI 1607.), exacly as Rafał Leszczyński. The style of this miniature resemble greatly a miniature portrait of an unknown man from about 1600 in the Victoria and Albert Museum, also painted on copper, and attributed to a Flemish painter (inventory number P.28-1942) and miniature portrait of an unknown man in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, created in 1614 (Aº 1614), painted on copper and attributed to a Dutch painter (inventory number SK-A-2104). Portrait of the sculptor Pierre de Francqueville (Pietro Francavilla, 1548-1615) by workshop of Frans Pourbus the Younger in private collection, created between 1609-1615 (after original in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, inventory number 746 / 1890), represent similar style of painting and costume. Such collar is also visible in a portrait of an unknown man in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, created in about 1600 and attributed to Agostino Carracci (inventory number Wil.1627).
Major Flemish portrait and miniature painter working in northeast Italy at the beginning of the 17th century was Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569-1622), who from October 1600 was a court painter of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga in Mantua. He also travelled to Innsbruck (1603 and 1608), Turin (1605 and 1608), Paris (1606) and Naples (1607), and in 1609 Queen Marie de' Medici called him to Paris as court painter. Frans and his workshop also took orders from abroad, not seeing the actual model. Several portraits of Philip III, King of Spain and his wife Margaret of Austria are attributed to him or his workshop (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Phoebus Foundation). His visits to Prague and Graz are not confirmed, however a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II (bust-length, wearing a breastplate, private collection) and a portrait of Archduchess Constance of Austria (1588-1631), future Queen of Poland, and her sisters (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna) are all attributed to him. Around 1604 Hans von Aachen and the second court painter in Prague, Joseph Heintz, also painted their portraits in direct rivalry with Pourbus. In 1609 a painter from the circle of Hans von Aachen created a portrait of a gentleman, aged 40 (inscribed and dated A 1609 A 40., upper right), painting a miniature (private collection). The man was the same age as Pourbus when he moved to Paris in 1609.
In 1607 the second son of Rafał Leszczyński was born, named Rafał after his father. On this occasion, Leszczyński, who just inherited the Baranów estate from his father, could commission a series of effigies of himself and his family in Italy. It is also possible that a painter from the workshop of Frans Pourbus in Mantua was at that time in Poland. The man from the described miniature resemble the effigies of Rafał Leszczyński's stepbrothers Jan (1603-1678) and Wacław Leszczyński (1605-1666).
Miniature portrait of Rafał Leszczyński (1579-1636) aged 28 by workshop of Frans Pourbus the Younger, 1607, Lviv National Art Gallery.
Portrait of Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569-1622) aged 40, painting a miniature by circle of Hans von Aachen, 1609, Private collection.
Portrait of Adam Wenceslaus, Duke of Cieszyn by Bartholomeus Strobel or circle
Another painting created by Prague school of painting of Joseph Heintz the Elder and Hans von Aachen is a small oval portrait of a man in a gorget. The man also wears a white silk doublet, a military tunic embroidered with gold and a wired reticella lace collar. The painting comes from a private collection in Warsaw and was sold in 2005 (Agra-Art SA, 11 December, Nr 7831). The style of the painting is close to Bartholomeus Strobel, a Mannerist-Baroque painter from Silesia, born in Wrocław, who worked in Prague and in Vienna from about 1608. In 1611 he returns to Wrocław to help his father with work in the Augustinian church and in 1619, thanks to the support of King Sigismund III Vasa, he obtained the status of a court painter (servitor) of Emperor Matthias.
This portrait can be compared with signed works by Strobel, portrait of Władysław Dominik Zasławski-Ostrogski from 1635 in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw (signed and dated: B. Strobell 1635) and the Crucifixion in the Church of St. James in Toruń (signed and dated: B. Strobel 1634).
According to inscription in Latin (AETATIS SVAE 37 / ANNO 1611), the man was 37 years old in 1611, exaclty as Adam Wenceslaus (1574-1617), Duke of Cieszyn when he was appointed supreme commander of the Silesian troops by the new King of Bohemia Matthias, Emperor from 1612. Counting on imperial favors Adam Wenceslaus, raised in Protestantism, converted to Catholicism and expelled the pastor Tymoteusz Lowczany from Cieszyn on February 23, 1611. He accompanied King Matthias at the ceremonial entry to Wrocław with a retinue of almost three hundred horses.
The portrait is similar to the effigy of Duke Adam Wenceslaus in the Museum of Cieszyn Silesia, attributed to Piotr Brygierski (ca. 1630-1718). The costume (gorget, silk doublet, military tunic and collar) and facial features are very much alike.
Portrait of Adam Wenceslaus (1574-1617), Duke of Cieszyn, aged 37 by Bartholomeus Strobel or circle, 1611, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Charles Radziwill by Gortzius Geldorp
In 1616, Sigismund Charles Radziwill (1591-1642), son of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) and Elżbieta Eufemia Wiśniowiecka (1569-1596) arrived at the royal court in Warsaw and obtained, in 1617, the titular dignity of Carver of the court of Queen Constance of Austria.
He studied at the Jesuit College in Nesvizh, and then in Bologna. In 1612, he joined the Order of the Knights of Malta (Knights Hospitaller) and fought with the Turks in the Mediterranean. After returning to Poland in 1614, his father founded him a Maltese commandery in Lithuania.
At the beginning of 1618, summoned by the Grand Master, he went to Malta. In January 1619, he was in Vienna where a great congregation of Knights Hospitaller was held. He was appointed by the Grand Master general commissioner, together with Charles II Gonzaga (1609-1631), Duke of Nevers. "Having received a license from His Highness the Emperor ... tomorrow, God willing, I am leaving", he wrote in a letter dated January 15, 1619 from Vienna to his brother John George Radziwill (1588-1625). In February 1619 he was in Venice, and he reported again to his brother: "I found his lordship Alexander, our brother, in good health in Venice and I hope that Our Lord will brought him quickly back and your Majesty will see him in our country".
After return to the Commonwealth in 1621 he participated in the battle of Khotyn and in 1622 he commanded the unit of the Polish-Lithuanian light cavalry (Lisowczyks) in the Imperial army. He died on November 5, 1642 in Assisi in Italy.
Before the discovery of a portrait of a man in black costume dated 1619 and signed by Gortzius Geldorp with his monogram 'GG.F.', it was generally believed that he died in 1616 in Cologne. A copy of Titian's Violante by his hand, sold in 2016 in Vienna (Dorotheum, lot 122, monogrammed upper left: 'GG.F.'), indicate that he was in Venice and in Vienna. According to inscription in Latin in upper right corner of mentioned portrait of a man in black costume the sitter was aged 28 in 1619 (AETATIS. SVAE. 28. / .1619.) exactly as Sigismund Charles Radziwill when he was in Venice and in Vienna. The costume of a man and his facial features bear a startling resemblance to effigy of Sigismund Charles Radziwill in the State Hermitage Museum (ОР-45868), created after original from about 1616. His Spanish style costume, typical for the Imperial court in Vienna, is almost identical to that visible in the portrait of Antonio Barberini, Grand Prior of Rome of the Order of Malta, created in 1625 by Ottavio Leoni. Similar outfits are also visible in portraits by Bernardo Strozzi, like in the likeness of Giovanni Battista Mora the Elder, nobleman of Vicenza near Venice, in the Walters Art Museum and in the portrait of Mikołaj Wolski (1553-1630) by Venanzio di Subiaco in the Camaldolese Monastery in Bielany, created in about 1624.
Portrait of Sigismund Charles Radziwill (1591-1642) aged 28 by Gortzius Geldorp, 1619, Private collection.
Portrait of Łukasz Żółkiewski by Johann Philipp Kreuzfelder
At the end of the 16th century, Flemish/Dutch art was the dominant model for Nuremberg portrait painters. Under the influence of Nicolas Neufchatel and Nicolas Juvenel, two prominent Flemish/Dutch artists settled in the imperial city, the highly developed Antwerp portraiture found its way into local portraiture (after catalogue entry by Judith Hentschel for 1626 portrait of a woman). The pupils of Juvenel were among the most successful and sought-after portrait painters in the city and outside.
Jakob Troschel (1583-1624) from Nuremberg, a court painter of King Sigismund III Vasa, was trained in Juvenel's close circle - according to Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr's "Historische Nachricht ..." he learned from Johann Juvenel and Alex Lindner, and Johann Philipp Kreuzfelder (1577-1636), son of a Nuremberg goldsmith, completed his apprenticeship at Juvenel's workshop between 1593 to 1597. In 1612 and 1617 Kreuzfelder portrayed the Nuremberg councillors and in 1614 Bartolomeo Viatis (1538-1624), a merchant from Venice (City of Nuremberg's Art Collections), then he worked as a portrait painter for the Counts of Oettingen and Hohenlohe-Langenburg. He is believed to have stayed in Rome with the artist Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610) and influences from both Flemish and Italian portraiture may be found in his work. Kreuzfelder has been assigned the monogram 'JC' (for Johannes Creutzfelder) by researchers.
In 1626 the painter probably also travelled to Munich, as signed portrait by his hand depicting a lady in rich black dress (sold at Koller Auctions, October 01, 2021, Lot 3013) bears a coat of arms similar to that of Sentlinger family, a wealthy Munich patrician family, and to Constance in the south of Germany in 1628, as effigy of Nikolaus Tritt von Wilderen, a member of the city council of Constance, is attributed to him.
A small portrait of a young nobleman (34 x 25.5 cm, oil on copper) from private collection in the south of Germany (sold at Lempertz KG, November 19, 2022, Lot 1516) was painted in the style symilar to the portrait of a woman from the Sentlinger family. He wears elaborately painted, silk, black doublet and loose breeches. The finely painted white lace trimmings of the lavish collar and cuffs, is characteristic of Kreuzfelder. Also the artist's signature in upper right is very similar. The painting was attributed to German School early 17th century and the monogram was deciphered as TB f. (?) (overlapping), however, it could be also JPC f. for Johannes Philippus Creutzfelder fecit in Latin. Accoring to the rest of inscription, also in Latin, the depicted man was 25 years old in 1619 (Aetatis. 25 / 1619), exaclty as Łukasz Żółkiewski (1594-1636), the younger son of the Chamberlain of Lviv Mikołaj Żółkiewski (d. 1596). He studied abroad, possibly at the Jesuit College of Ingolstadt, a city between Nuremberg and Munich in the Duchy and Electorate of Bavaria, very popular among Polish-Lithuanian nobility at that time. King Sigismund III ordered works of art in Bavaria and sent them to William V, Duke of Bavaria, while king's mistress, influential "minister in a skirt" or "Jesuit's bigotry" Urszula Meyerin (1570-1635), was most likely born near Munich in Bavaria.
Nephew of the famous hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski (1547-1620), Łukasz took part in the Turkish campaign of 1620 and was captured at the battle of Cecora, in which his uncle lost his life. Four years later, in 1624, he accompanied Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (future Ladislaus IV) on a foreign trip at the behest of King Sigismund III. Żółkiewski, who become the voivode of Bratslav, died childless in a battle with the Cossacks in November or December 1636 and was buried in the Jesuit church in Pereiaslav, which he founded a year earlier (1635) along with the Jesuit College. Later, the Cossacks destroyed Pereiaslav including the church, and they threw out the body of the founder from the coffin (after "Ilustrowany przewodnik po zabytkach kultury na Ukrainie" by Jacek Tokarski, Zbigniew Hauser, Volume 4, p. 180).
The family resemblance of the 25-year-old man to effigies of hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski, Łukasz's uncle, is striking. The shape of the face, lower jaw and lower lip, hair color and hairstyle are very much alike.
The style of the portrait resemble greatly two miniatures from the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number Min.1014 and Min.1015), identifed as effigies of Gotthard Kettler (1517-1587), Duke of Courland, which was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and his wife Anna of Mecklenburg (1533-1602). It cannot be excluded that Kreuzfelder arrived at some point of his career to the Commonwealth or Żółkiewski commissioned a series of his effigies during his potential sojourn in Nuremberg, because the painter was known among Polish-Lithuanian clients.
Portrait of Łukasz Żółkiewski (1594-1636), aged 25 by Johann Philipp Kreuzfelder, 1619, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Gotthard Kettler (1517-1587), Duke of Courland by Johann Philipp Kreuzfelder, first quarter of the 17th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Miniature portrait of Anna of Mecklenburg (1533-1602), Duchess of Courland by Johann Philipp Kreuzfelder, first quarter of the 17th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Tomasz Zamoyski and Katarzyna Ostrogska by Domenico Tintoretto
In the years 1615-1617, "fulfilling the last will of his father", Tomasz Zamoyski (1594-1638), son of Jan Zamoyski, Grand Chancellor of the Crown (1542-1605) and Barbara Tarnowska (1566-1610), daughter of Stanisław Tarnowski (d. 1618), castellan of Sandomierz, undertook foreign peregrinations. Almost all young magnates made such educational journeys at that time.
Through Kraków in the south of Poland, he reached Gdańsk in the north, where he stayed "about six Sundays" - from around December 12, 1614 to the last days of January 1615, also visiting Malbork and Elbląg. In the last days of January 1615, after receiving letters of recommendation from king Sigismund III Vasa, young Zamoyski set off from Gdańsk accompanied by a small court with Father Wojciech Bodzęcki, professor at the Zamość Academy, and Piotr Oleśnicki, Tomasz's cousin, who studied in Paris and Padua at the expense of Jan Zamoyski.
From Lübeck he went to Amsterdam, and from there to England. He arrived in London in mid-July 1615 and spent about 5 months there. James I, captured by Tomasz's wit and kindness, often invited him to hunting and banquets. At the request of Zamoyski the king released several English Catholics from prison - including Father Fludd who was held at Gatehouse Prison. "He was held in high esteem by the King, who often had audiences with him. He often went hunting with his son Charles. The royal horses were always at the disposal of the Lord himself and his servants for fun. King James was given an expensive hat decoration with heron feathers", wrote Tomasz's servant Stanisław Żurkowski in a biography.
Wanting to get to know the country better, he went on a trip around the island, which lasted about two months. Then he travelled to France. Zamoyski probably arrived to Tours, where King Louis XIII was staying at that time, in the first days of March 1616. From Tours the he went to Orléans then to Paris. His stay in the capital of France was very busy: he learned the French language, "listened to the courts in the parliament", he was "in academies on various acts and disputes", he improved his skills in fencing and horse riding, and he learned to play the lute. He attended the audiences of King Louis XIII, held receptions for officials and officers of the French court and visited them. He befriended the princes de Guise, de Rohan, de Nevers and de Montmorency.
From France young Zamoyski came to Italy in January 1617. From an early age, he had contact with the culture of Italy as his father was educated there. He visited Naples and Rome, where he had audiences with Pope Paul V. Then he went to Loreto, Padua and Venice. Also in Italy he maintained the splendor of his retinue. He visited the studios of masters of engraving, painting and goldsmiths, he acquired luxury goods, he organized parties and gave gifts to people from the ruling class. The cost of Zamoyski's journey was amounted to enormous sum of over 20,000 zlotys, while the income from 1 village at that time fluctuated between 140 and 240 zlotys annually.
In the first days of November 1617, through Switzerland, Bavaria, Bohemia and Silesia, Zamoyski returned to Poland, where in Kościan, he was welcomed by servants from Zamość and soldiers from his private units. A few days later, he arrived in Poznań, where "he put away his foreign clothes, cut his hair and returned to Polish attire", as recalled Żurkowski in his biography. From Poznań he went to Łowicz, to pay a visit to the Archbishop of Gniezno, Wawrzyniec Gembicki in his magnificent palace, and then to Warsaw, where he stayed for about two weeks. It was not until December 20 that he arrived in Zamość, where he was solemnly welcomed. Soon after his return his political career advanced, in 1618 he became the voivode of Podolia and in 1619 the voivode of Kiev (after "Peregrynacje zagraniczne Tomasza Zamoyskiego w latach 1615-1617" by Adam Andrzej Witusik). He also decided to marry Katarzyna Ostrogska (1602-1642), granddaughter of Zofia Tarnowska (1534-1570), Princess of Ostroh on paternal side, and great-granddaughter of Duchess Anna of Masovia (1498-1557) on maternal side. 18-year-old Katarzyna and 25-year-old Tomasz were married in the Corpus Christi Church in Jarosław on March 1, 1620. As a dowry, Katarzyna received 53,333 zlotys, 6 castles, 13 cities, about 300 villages and folwarks. She was born in 1602 in the family of Alexander Prince of Ostroh, voivode of Volhynia, and his wife Anna Kostka (1575-1635), as the youngest of eight children. The family lived in the city of Jarosław. Her father died suddenly the year after her birth, leaving a rich inheritance to his three daughters who reached adulthood: Zofia, Anna Alojza and Katarzyna.
The portrait of a young man in a black coat lined with fur, attributed to Domenico Tintoretto, today in the National Gallery in London (inventory number NG173), was presented in 1839 by Henry Gally Knight (1786-1846), a British politician and writer. His right hand rests on a table placed before an open window, and on which is a silver vase containing a sprig of myrtle, consecrated to Venus, goddess of love and used in bridal wreaths. In his left hand he holds a black cap. An open window looks out over a landscape of farmland with two rustic buildings, possibly barns, with what look like thatched roofs supported on wooden trunks or poles, typical for Poland, Ukraine and large estates of the Zamoyskis near Zamość. Merchants from such distant countries as Spain, England, Finland, Armenia and Persia arrived for the annual three-week-long big fair, one of the largest in Europe, in nearby Jarosław - according to Łukasz Opaliński (1612-1662), 30,000 cattle were sold at one Jarosław fair (Polonia Defensa Contra Joan. Barclaium, 1648). The same man was also depicted in a full-length portrait, also by Domenico Tintoretto, which before World War II was in the Łańcut Castle close to Jarosław (catalogue "For Peace and Freedom. Old masters: a collection of Polish-owned works of art ...", pic. 37). He wears a fashionable French/English black costume, very similar to the one shown in the portrait of a young man, attributed to Salomon Mesdach, dated on the table: Aº 1617 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number SK-A-913). A view of a canal in Venice is visible through the window behind him, suggesting that the portrait is a souvenir of his visit to the city. The man in both portraits bear great resemblance to effigies of Tomasz Zamoyski in Polish costume, as a child aged 12, created by Peter Querradt in 1606 (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) and aged 44, created by Jan Kasiński in 1637 (Diocesan Museum in Sandomierz).
Portrait of a lady, known as Donna delle Rose, in Villa Gyllenberg in Helsinki was painted in the same style as the portrait of a man with myrtle in the National Gallery in London. This work is also attributed to Domenico Tintoretto, it has similar composition and similar dimensions (116.5 x 85.5 cm / 119.5 × 98 cm), therefore can be considered as a pendant or a portrait from a series created at the same time. The modish attire worn by this young woman bespeaks great affluence. Her costume is very similar to Venetian court dresses visible in a print published in 1609 in Giacomo Franco's "Costumes of Venetian Men and Women" (Habiti d'hvomeni et donne venetiane). The northern ruff, however, was replaced with a reticella collar from the late 1610s, like an open peacock's tail behind the head, propped up with sticks, similar to Italian and French collars of courtiers of King Sigismund III Vasa. The Procession with St. Anianus by workshop Tommaso Dolabella (Corpus Christi Church in Kraków) and Banner with Adoration of St. Francis by Jan Troschel (Leżajsk Monastery), testifies to the diversity of the court fashion in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1620s with Polish, Spanish, Italian, French and German styles represented. White rose in her hair symbolizes purity and innocence of a bride. The woman's face bear great resemblance to preserved portraits of Katarzyna Ostrogska, all created when she was a widow and offered to different monasteries (Museum of Zamość), or to the portrait of her daughter Gryzelda Wiśniowiecka (Kozłówka Palace).
Lady Zamoyska in a Venetian costume painted by Domenico Tintoretto? This was not surprising for the inhabitants of the Zamoyski estates. There were many Italians in Zamość, at the Academy, in the service of the Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, starting with the court architect, Venetian Bernardo Morando. In 1596 Boniface Vanozzi, secretary of Cardinal Enrico Gaetani in Poland, described Zamość, Renaissance ideal city build for the Chancellor, "a lover of the Italian nation" (amatore della natione italiana), from scratch: "He began to build this town in 1581 and already today it has up to 400 houses, mostly built in Italian style". Before 1604 he commissioned to the main altar of the Collegiate Church in Zamość, several paintings in the workshop of Domenico Tintoretto. Negotiations with the artist were conducted on behalf of Zamoyski by representatives of the Italian Capponi and Montelupi families and completed paintings were delivered to Poland in 1604. The largest painting depicted the Risen Christ with St. Thomas the Apostle - the patron of the temple, paintings in the side parts: St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist - the patrons of the founder, and the painting in the top of the altar - God the Father. This altar was transported to the church in Tarnogród in 1781 and only the side paintings preserved.
Tomasz, his father and his wife in Venetian costume were also depicted in two paintings in the Church of the Assumption in Kraśnik (Thanksgiving mass and Rosary procession). Both were created by Tommaso Dolabella in 1626. From 1604 Kraśnik was part of the Zamość estate and the protector of the church was Tomasz Zamoyski, voivode of Kiev. The voivode and his wife founded stalls for the church with their coat of arms and in one of the side altars there is painting of Salvator Mundi by Paris Bordone or his workshop.
Portrait of Tomasz Zamoyski (1594-1638) in French/English costume from the Łańcut Castle by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1617, present whereabouts unknown.
Portrait of Tomasz Zamoyski (1594-1638) by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1620, National Gallery in London.
Portrait of Katarzyna Ostrogska (1602-1642) in Venetian costume by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1620, Villa Gyllenberg in Helsinki.
St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist from the Zamość Collegiate by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1604, Church of the Transfiguration in Tarnogród.
Portraits of Prince John Casimir Vasa by Rembrandt
Polish-Lithuanian kings and aristocrats owned many works by Rembrandt, his workshop or followers, he frequently painted people in costumes very similar to these known from effigies of the Polish-Lithuanian nobility, he began his career in the workshop of supplier of the King of Poland and married his relative, he lived in Amsterdam, where tons of Polish grain, large quantities of fur and other products were shipped every year in the 17th century, yet he allegedly painted no Pole known by name.
Due to the lack of written sources explicitly confirming it even the "Polish rider" or the "Polish nobleman" by Rembrandt or his school are questioned as possibly not representing Polish-Lithuanian people, the same with the "Queen of Poland" by Rembrandt's pupil Ferdinand Bol.
This vast, multicultural country with incomprehensible languages, an elective monarchy, religious tolerance and the growing influence of papists and Habsburgs, represented all the evil of this planet for pious Protestants. They must have welcomed the fact that Calvinist Prince of Transylvania George II Rakoczi (1621-1660) joined other contries and invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonweath from the south during the Deluge (1655-1660). Joost Cortwiert published in 1657 in The Hague an eight-page Dutch-language pamphlet entitled "A manifesto by George Rakoczi, prince of Transylvania, containing the reasons why he is attacking the kingdom of Poland with his army" (Manifest van Georgius Ragotsky, prins van Transilvanien. Vervattende de redenen waer om hy metsyn chrijchs-macht int koninck-rijck Polen valt). Also around that time a portrait of this important ally was published, though due to the lack of a proper effigy, possibly by mistake, an earlier print by Jan van Vliet after a painting by Rembrandt was used. It was created in 1631 and represents an eastern prince, who however bear no resemblance to other effigies of George II Rakoczi (1621-1660) or his father George I (1593-1648) (compare "323 The Rákóczy identity" by Gary Schwartz). This likeness was also published as a portrait of Skanderbeg (1405-1468), Lord of Albania.
The march of Rakoczi army towards Warsaw was marked by atrocities, destruction, and looting. Simultaneously, Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski's forces organized a revenge invasion of Transylvania. After the defeat and subsequent retreat of his Cossack allies, Rakoczi capitulated to Lubomirski, promising to break his alliance with Sweden and abandon the royal city of Kraków.
Not only pople were killed, property looted, buildings destroyed, but foreign invasion triggered epidemic diseases, profound economic crisis and ethnic cleansing. People who survived the invasion were struggling to survive in destroyed country, like in Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula River, the mannerist gem of the Commonwealth, which raised into prominence after 1561 thanks to grain trade as an important river port. The city was ransacked and burned in February 1656 by the troops of the Brigand of Europe (as he was called by Stefan Czarniecki), Charles X Gustav of Sweden, who invaded the country from the north, and again by Transilvanian troops in 1657. Before 1661 the troops of Stefan Czarniecki destroyed the local synagogue and killed many Jews, who were accused by the Catholics of supporting invaders. From one of the wealthies nations in Europe, Poland-Lithuania has become one of the poorest.
The opulent magnate and royal residences were ransacked and burned. One preserved document - inventory of goods transported to Stockholm from Warsaw by March 9, 1657 lists "188 large and small paintings and portraits painted on panel and canvas" (188 St. stoora och små Skillerij och Conterfey på trää och lerfft måhlat), "One painting from the altar, painted on wood" (1 måhlat alltaretafla af trää duger intet) and "Oil paintings which were in coffered ceilings in Warsaw, from five rooms" (Schillerij som hafwer suttit under taket i Warschow till 5 Cambrer af Wattnferger) from the inventory of items taken from the Warsaw Castle in 1656 (after "Inwentarz przedmiotów wywiezionych z Warszawy ..." by Katarzyna Wagner). Venetian-style gilded frame ceilings in royal residences were filled with oil paintings, similar to these preserved in the Palace of the Kraków Bishops in Kielce, created by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella (1570-1650) in about 1642, or in the Koniecpolski Castle in Pidhirtsi (Podhorce) near Lviv in western Ukraine, also by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella and Dutch painter Jan de Baen (1633-1702), a pupil of Jacob Adriaensz Backer in Amsterdam (1640s and 1660s).
Polish shipments of grain and other products to Amsterdam virtually ceased during the invasion, but Johann Köstner, a Gdańsk merchant, pointed out in 1660 that Holland had managed with grain from elsewhere. Curiously, however, the decline in Rembrandt's career coincided with the invasion of the Commonweath. On 24 November 1655 the 14-year-old Titus, the fourth and only surviving child of Rembrandt, made his last will and testament and named his father as his sole heir, including what he had inherited from his mother. The painter, who lived beyond his means, failed to pay off the loans. In 1656 he filed for bankruptcy and his property was sold.
The monarch of the Commonweath at that time was John II Casimir Vasa, the eldest son of Sigismund III and his second wife Constance of Austria, elected by the Polish-Lithuanian Parliament to succeed his half-brother Ladislaus IV in 1648. During the Deluge he fled to Silesia taking some of the most valuable items from the royal collection. Already in 1626, during the Toruń Sejm, he was proposed by his mother's supporters and on her initiative as a candidate for the heir to the throne. Simultaneously, at the end of the 1620s, contacts between the Polish-Lithuanian royal court and the Dutch Republic intensified. Abraham van Booth secretary of the Dutch delegation that visited Poland between 1627-1628 with a mediation mission in the dispute that arose between Sigismund III Vasa and Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, created some drawings, including of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and audience before Sigismund III in the Old Senate Chamber. The ultra-Catholic camp in the Commonwealth, by which Prince John Casimir was considered the leader, lost its importance after the sudden death of the queen in 1631. Between 1632 and 1635, Ladislaus IV sought to enhance his influence by negotiating John Casimir's marriage to Queen Christina of Sweden, his distant relative.
John Casimir, a great patron of the arts like his father and brother, was probaly one of the first royal connoisseurs of Rembrandt's art. The king had in his collection a painting of "Diana bathing and Actaeon" by Rembrandt (Un tableau en hauteur, peint sur toile, qui est un bain de Diane avec Acteon) sold in 1673 in Paris to François Andrault de Buy de Langeron (item 88 of the inventory). His residence in Nieporęt near Warsaw, "a masterpiece of carpentry" according to Jean Le Laboureur who visited the palace on March 3, 1646, was richly decorated mainly with Flemish tapestries. Before 1643 Samuel von Sorgen paid over 2,520 florins to an unknown painter in Vienna, most probably Frans Luycx, "ad rationem altars to Nieporęt" and in 1651 a Dutch architect and a Mennonite Peeter Willer (or Willert) built a lock in Nieporęt on the Narew river, a "Dutch house" (a hunting manor) and a brewery, and in Warsaw a pavilion called "pleasure house" (lusthauz) for Queen's ladies at the Villa Regia Palace and a mill. Possibly after his accession to the throne around 1649 John Casimir's court painter, Daniel Schultz, created his portrait to the Marble Room at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Schultz was trained in the Netherlands and he studied in Leiden in 1643 (most likely he is mentioned as "Daniel Schultz Borussus"). The mentioned portrait from the Marble Room, very in Rembrandt's style, shows the king in a tall fur hat, a shirt and a chain very similar to the portrait of a man in profile with feathered cap and long wavy hair in private collection in Germany, monogrammed lower left 'RHL', exactly as a print by Jan van Vliet, signed in the plate 'RHL. v Rijn. jn. / 1631. / JG v. vliet fecit' (compare "323 The Rákóczy identity" by Gary Schwartz). This portrait, most probably one of a series, was undoubtedly a model to van Vliet's print. The same profile was also included in a study drawing or preliminary sketch by Rembrandt in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.
The young man with protruding lower lip resemble greatly other effigies of John Casimir (especially his marble bust by Giovanni Francesco Rossi), who was 22 years old in 1631 when the portraits were created and inherited the Habsburg (Masovian) jaw from his mother Constance of Austria. The same year Rembrandt moved from Leiden into the house of an art agent to King Sigismund III Vasa, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, in Amsterdam. Rembrandt became chief painter of the studio and in 1634 married Van Uylenburgh's relative Saskia. Also in 1631, two important Polish-Lithuanian magnates arrived to the Netherlands, Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655) to Leiden and Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) to Louvain in the Spanish Netherlands (possibly also to Leiden that year).
A sheet of figure studies with a portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa (1609-1672) by Rembrandt, 1630s, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa (1609-1672) in a fur hat by Rembrandt or follower, ca. 1631, Private collection.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa (1609-1672) in a fur hat by Jan van Vliet after Rembrandt, 1631, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Portraits of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski by Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol
In 1629, Jerzy Sebastian (1616-1667) and his older brother Aleksander Michał (1614-1677), sons of fabulously rich voivode of Ruthenia Prince Stanisław Lubomirski (1583-1649), set out to study abroad. Aleksander was 15, and Jerzy 13 years old. Jakub Piotrowicki, Catholic priest and professor of the Kraków Academy, became their guardian, they were also accompanied by steward Sebastian Kokwiński. The first destination was the Jesuit university in Ingolstadt (September 17, 1629). From there they went to Leuven/Louvain in the Spanish Netherlands in 1630, where there was also a Catholic university, very popular with the Polish nobility and magnates, and to Cologne in 1632. Then in April 1633 Jerzy Sebastian was in the Protestant Leiden to study military engineering and there he probably met Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655), a Calvinist, who was also studying there. Later he visited England, France, Spain and Italy. During these journeys, he learned the art of fortification, rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, languages, and he had the opportunity to meet foreign nobles and monarchs. He returned to Poland in 1636.
Between 1639-1641, a Flemish painter Mattheus Ingermann (Ingenraen) from Antwerp, who studied painting in Rome, worked as a court painter of Stanisław Lubomirski (Jerzy Sebastian's father), portraying his son Aleksander, which is confirmed by the preserved inventory of the Wiśnicz gallery. His "Annunciation" fom the chapel of the Wiśnicz Castle is today in the Saint Anne's Church in Warsaw-Wilanów. He also made large-format paintings for the Carmelite Church in Nowy Wiśnicz.
After Stanisław's death in 1649 his three sons Jerzy Sebastian, Aleksander Michał and the youngest Konstanty Jacek (1620-1663) managed the estates including the opulent Wiśnicz Castle. During the Deluge (1655-1660) Aleksander Michał secured some rich furnishings of the Wiśnicz estate (Castle and Monastery), taking them to Spiš. Leaving Wiśnicz on September 19, 1656, the army of the Brigand of Europe, as he was called by Stefan Czarniecki, king Charles X Gustav of Sweden, plundered the most valuable things and reportedly took away as many as 150 wagons of precious loot and 35 cannons. The "Inventory of belongings spared from Swedes and escapes made on December 1, 1661 in Wiśnicz" in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw, lists some of the preserved paintings, mainly by Italian masters like Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Guido Reni, Guercino, Domenichino, from the Flemish names are only Paul Bril and Daniel Seghers, but next to them the inventory lists plenty of Flemish and Dutch paintings, "in general, much more than Italian paintings", according to Jerzy Mycielski (1856-1928) - meeting of the Commission for the Study of Art History in Poland on February 26, 1903, moreover, the portraits of the Lubomirski family, painted in Venice by Nicolas Régnier (Niccolò Renieri) and in Gdańsk by Daniel Schulz.
In 1660 Jerzy Sebastian invited to Poland Tylman Gamerski (Tielman van Gameren, born in Utrecht), a Dutch architect and engineer, who was at that time working in Venice, reportedly as a painter of battle scenes. From 1674 Gamerski worked in the Royal Ujazdów Castle in Warsaw, devastated during the Deluge and sold to Jerzy Sebastian's son Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski (1642-1702). One of the earliest works of possibly most gifted pupil of Rembrandt, Carel Fabritius (1622-1654), the Raising of Lazarus in the National Museum in Warsaw painted in about 1643 (signed CAR.FABR.), comes from the Lubomirski estate in Ujazdów (before 1702 most probably in the St. Anne's Church in Ujazdów together with a a statue of dead Christ by Flemish sculptor Giusto Le Court).
Majority of preserved effigies of Jerzy Sebastian come from his later years and were created by Flemish artists, including a portrait by Jan de Herdt (Royal Castle in Warsaw), created in about 1664.
Portrait of a young man with a sword by Ferdinand Bol in Dayton Art Institute depict a man in rich princely costume. His heavily embroidered velvet tunic, pose and oriental sabre are very similar to effigy of King Ladislaus IV Vasa from "Het Groot Balet" (Caricature of the peace negotiations after Battle of Lützen) in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, anonymous print created after 1632. Very similar leather shoes in Polish style, together with velvet arrow case and quiver were offered by John II Casimir Vasa, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to five year old king of Sweden Charles XI in about 1660. They are also visible in famous Polish Rider (Lisowczyk) by Rembrandt or his circle, which most probably depict Marcjan Aleksander Ogiński (1632-1690), colonel of the Polish-Lithuanian light cavalry. The latter painting, today in the Frick Collection in New York City, comes from the Polish royal collection (acquired in 1791 by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski).
Bol, who was the same age as Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, both born in 1616, was brought as a child to Amsterdam. He must have entered Rembrandt's studio at an early age, probably when he was about sixteen (after Emile Michel "Rembrandt, His Life, His Work and His Time", Volume 1, p. 244). Described portrait is dated to about 1635-1640, therefore most probably when Lubomirski was no longer in the Netherlands, however, this does not exclude the possibility that it was made on the basis of drawings created earlier in the artist's atelier or sent from Poland. Jerzy Sebastian's oriental style sabre and horse tack are today in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
The same man was depicted in two paintings by Rembrandt or his circle. One entitled Young man with a plumed hat, today in the Toledo Museum of Art, was created in 1631 when Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from his native Leiden (monogrammed and dated lower left: RHL. 1631), to live in the house of the artistic agent of the King of Poland. The second, in the North Carolina Museum of Art, signed and dated '1633' in upper right corner, shows the man holding a heavy ancient sword, similar to Bronze Age swords found in Nowy Żmigród, south-eastern Poland, not far from Lubomirski estates in Łańcut and Nowy Wiśnicz, today in the Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno. He is not a simple soldier, he is a tremendously rich connoisseur, a descendant of the ancient belligerent Sarmatians (legendary ancestors of Polish nobility), trained in Leiden as a military engineer.
Portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) with a pumed hat by Rembrandt or circle, 1631, Toledo Museum of Art.
Portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) with an ancient sword by Rembrandt or circle, 1633, North Carolina Museum of Art.
Portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) with an oriental sabre by Ferdinand Bol, 1634-1640, Dayton Art Institute.
Portraits of Jan Zawadzki, Ambassador of the King of Poland by Rembrandt
"The next day, in fine weather and the most favorable wind, we came to Amsterdam. Beautiful are edifices of this city, canals crossing it, streets lined with linden trees, forests of ship masts, rich merchant warehouses. [...] The merchant market is beautiful and rich. Reformatory House, magnificent Indian Company buildings, full of the most expensive goods. On the 14th day, having sent the court and things to The Hague, we arrived alone in Leiden, on the day of Pentecost, we listened to mass in a private Catholic chapel. There we met with joy, the sons of Prince Wiśniowiecki, voivode of Ruthenia, who invited us to dinner; then we were visited from our other countrymen, that is from Gentlemen Żółkiewski, Zieliński, Kreitz and Korfa. On that day the envoy, the Council of the Bohemian Queen, informed about his arrival, who immediately invited him on the following day for an audience at three in the afternoon. [...] After 16 days of expensive stay on June 1, we left The Hague. [...] On June 22, near the village of Leith near Edinburgh, we dropped the anchor. He immediately sent an envoy to the Scottish Chancellor to announce his arrival", recalls the author of the manuscript from the collection of Count Józef Sierakowski about Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), starost of Świecie and Chamberlain of the King, envoy of His Highness Ladislaus IV, king of Poland and Sweden to the German princes, to the Queens of Sweden and Bohemia, to the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and to the King of England in 1633.
On July 19 Zawadzki arrived to London. "We visited the house of the Duke of Buckingham, killed by a murderer four years ago. [...] In this palace, the rooms are beautifully painted by Vandyck. [...] We were also at the merchant market [...] Here, by the old custom, the envoy received gifts from the King, three large basins with ewers, six large cups, four smaller ones, a censer, cups for salt and sugar. The envoy gave to the bearers 50 Jacobs (2000 fl.). From London, we set off for the Netherlands again, [...] on August 10th we came to Amsterdam".
The envoy also brought many valuable gifts: "to the Royal Undersecretary, I gave a gift of money so that he would be careful about our affairs. I gave the Master of Ceremonies a chain with diamonds, the Kitchen Master Cupbearer and other officials, expensive rings, or gifts in money". In 1636 he offered to the King of England, after a private audience, the horses, "dressed in tacks with broadswords and maces. Hussar pure breed horse with a horse tack set with turquoises, a leopard skin on it, on a bay, second tack in Arabic style - a bow, a quiver, a very beautiful tack. [...] Two soroks of sable for the Queen, with which they are very surprised, and estimate for a lot of money. He also gave the Prince, five tovaglia tablecloths, whose work is great in admiration" (after "Zbiór pamiętników o dawnej Polszcze" by Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Volume 3, p. 105-133).
During the solemn audience in 1636 before the King of England Zawadzki's servants were dressed in red velvet żupans, beige or scarlet delias, and having ostrich feathers on their hats. They were followed by fifteen other people dressed in Italian style and by Mr. Poręmbski and Mr. Wilczkowski holding golden maces, both dressed in red velvet żupans lined with lynx and sable. Then the son of Zawadzki in a robe of gold cloth, a hat with crane feathers and a diamond clasp and the envoy himself in a czamara coat lined with sable fur, ruby clasp and a chain. He was followed by servants in red delias and with three crane feathers on their caps, red, white and blue, and wearing azure delias. Ambassador's retinue numbered about 66 people.
Zawadzki was a son of Jan of Rogala coat of arms, judge of Ciechanów and Swedish Izabela Guldenstern (de Gyllenstierna). Through his mother he was related to the royal house of the Vasas. He was probably born in 1580 and at the age of 18 he entered the Jesuit college in Braniewo and after graduation he went to Louvain to continue his education. At that time, he entered the service of Count Christopher of East Frisia (1569-1636), son of Edzard II, Count of East Frisia, and the Swedish princess Catherine Vasa (1539-1610). King Sigismund III maintained close contacts with this part of the family, and a special intimacy with Count Christopher is evidenced by the correspondence they exchanged. The Count sent Zawadzki as his envoy to Sigismund III. Zawadzki's cheerful and friendly disposition guaranteed him the king's sympathy and he performed various diplomatic missions for him. Before October 1617 he was also appointed a royal secretary and between 1624 and 1625 he was a member of the retinue accompanying Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (future Ladislaus IV) on his journeys to Western Europe (after "Misja Jana Zawadzkiego na dwory Europy Północnej ..." by Marta Szymańska).
Willing to regain the Swedish throne, Ladislaus IV sent eight legations to various European countries between 1633-1634. In addition to the embassy of 1633, Jan Zawadzki was sent on a mission to England, The Hague and to Paris in 1636. Among objectives of these missions was also the King's marriage and possibly other family matters, however, these negotiations were kept secret. "After the hearing with the King of England, our envoy will go to the Queen Her Majesty and will ask her for a secret audience", instructed Zawadzki Bishop Jan Gębicki in 1636.
At the beginning of 1634, Zawadzki stayed briefly in Hamburg (8 days, during which he was plagued by fever) to discuss with Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot, 1583-1645), a Dutch humanist, diplomat and lawyer, his possible employment by the King of Poland. Aside from his memoirs, Zawadzki is credited with being the author of a memorandum dated 1634, dealing with the campaign in Prussia against the Swedes.
An etching by Rembrandt from 1634 depicting a man with a wart under the eye (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number RP-P-OB-42), despite bearing no resemblance whatsoever, is frequenly identified as his self-portrait. In the same year, the artist actually created his self-portrait in eastern costume holding an oriental sword. Both etchings are signed and dated: Rembrandt f. 1634. Rembrandt also created other version of the first mentioned etching in oval (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, RP-P-1961-990A), also signed and dated: Rembrandt f. 1634.
In the larger version of the print the man is holding a heavy ancient sword, similar to Bronze Age swords found in Nowy Żmigród, south-eastern Poland, identical to that visible in a portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) in the North Carolina Museum of Art, created by Rembrandt or a follower in 1633. Also his pose is identical, like if the man ordered similar portrait from Rembrandt in the pose of an ancient Sarmatian (legendary ancestors of Polish nobility), after which the artist created the etching. This pose is similar to that visible in a portrait of Zawadzki's friend Crown Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (future Ladislaus IV), created by workshop of Peter Paul Rubens, as one of the series, during his visit to Brussels and Antwerp in 1624 (Wawel Royal Castle). Pieter Claesz Soutman, court painter of the King of Poland, was also depicted in similar pose in his portrait by Anthony van Dyck (Louvre Museum), while Boaz in his painting in the National Gallery of Denmark (Ruth in Boaz's field, attributed), wears the outfit of a Polish magnate and also has a hand on his hip. Finally, this pose is also visible in the famous Polish rider by Rembrandt (The Frick Collection in New York).
The man wears a fur beret with a hat decoration (egreta) with feathers, similar to that visible in a portrait of a man in a fur coat and a feathered hat by Isaac de Joudreville, who worked in Rembrandt's workshop from November 1629 (sold Christie's, 7 December 2018, lot 155), from private collection in Germany. Similar hat was also depicted in an effigy of bearded Polish nobleman created in Rembrandt's style in 1644 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, RP-P-1882-A-6250) and several paintings of Polish-Lithuanian soldiers and nobles from book of friendship (album amicorum/Stammbuch) of Michael Heidenreich, created in Gdańsk in the 1600s by Anton Möller or Isaak van den Blocke (Kórnik Castle). Similar headdress can be found in many other images of Polish-Lithuanian nobles, like in the Allegory of Gdańsk trade by Isaak van den Blocke in the Red Hall of the Main Town Hall in Gdańsk, created in 1608, View of Gdańsk from the northwest (The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus) by Hans Krieg, created in about 1620 (National Museum in Gdańsk), or in a painting entitled Head of Cyrus brought to Queen Tomyris by Peter Paul Rubens, created between 1622-1623 (Museum of Fine Arts in Boston). He also wears a jerkin similar to czamara, a coat lined with fur similar to delia and a gold chain. This proud Sarmatian must therefore be Jan Zawadzki, envoy of His Highness Ladislaus IV.
In 2016 a painting attributed to follower of Rembrandt from a private collection in the USA and similar to the oval print was sold at auction (Doyle New York, Jan 27, 2016, lot 59). Stilistically this painting is very close to Peter Danckers de Rij, especially portrait of Court Chamberlain Adam Kazanowski in the Wawel Royal Castle. The painting was sold together with a portrait of a lady (lot 60), painted in similar style, however, slightly larger and with not matching composition. It it possible that effigies of these important courtiers of Ladislaus IV were sent to their friends or relatives in England or Scotland. At the beginning of the 17th century Scottish Eva Forbes, was a wet nurse of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund.
Portrait of Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), Ambassador of the King of Poland with an ancient sword by Rembrandt, 1634, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), Ambassador of the King of Poland in oval by Rembrandt, 1634, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), Ambassador of the King of Poland by follower of Rembrandt, possibly Peter Danckers de Rij, 1634-1645, Private collection.
Portrait of a lady in a fur coat by follower of Rembrandt, possibly Peter Danckers de Rij, 1634-1645, Private collection.
Portrait of Polish-Lithuanian noble in a fur coat and a feathered hat by Isaac de Joudreville, 1630s, Private collection.
Portrait of Prince Alexander Charles Vasa by Rembrandt
"He is all according to your customs and the Polish spirit: he is bold, agile and quick-witted - why shouldn't you elect him", noted the words of king Sigismund III Vasa who was appealing to the nobility in 1626 in favor of his youngest son Alexander Charles Vasa (1614-1634), the French diplomat Charles Ogier, who visited Poland between 1635-1636. Unlike his brothers, Alexander was very sociable, because of this he resembled his half-brother Ladislaus. He was considered as a possible successor to Ladislaus and as the most gifted of the royal brothers. Alexander was also artistically talented: like his father, he could draw, he also learned to sing. His singing teacher was the musician and Jesuit Szymon Berent, who accompanied the prince on his trip to Italy (July 1633 - July 1634).
During the 1632 election, he supported his older brother Ladislaus, who was crowned king of Poland on 6 February 1633. Soon after Alexander set off on a trip to Spain. The prince was warmly welcomed in Rome, where Cardinal Antonio Barberini organized a major equestrian event in Piazza Navona in his name. While in Italy he resigned from visiting the royal court in Madrid. Probably one of the reasons was the rejection by king Philip IV of his endeavors to marry beautiful Anna Carafa della Stadera (1607-1644), Princess Stigliano, one of the richest heiresses of the entire Kingdom of Naples at that time. After a month and a half in Rome, the prince went to Florence, where he met his relatives from the house of Medici who had hosted Ladislaus nine years earlier. Lorenzo Medici, brother of Cosimo II, escorted him to Livorno, from where the prince was to sail to Genoa. In Milan, at the end of March 1634, he met his cousin Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand, brother of Philip IV, who was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from November 1634. The prince also visited Vienna twice, where he spent over three months in total. In May 1634, just before leaving, he stayed with his uncle in Laxenburg for several days (after Ryszard Skowron's "Budowanie prestiżu królewskiego rodu", p. 72). Alexander returned to Poland in July 1634. He went to Lviv in today's Ukraine, where he was preparing for the Turkish expedition and in October 1634 he met with Prince John Casimir. There he probably contracted smallpox from his brother and died on November 19, 1634 on his way to Warsaw.
From December 19, 1634 to January 2, 1635 king Ladislaus IV stayed in Gdańsk, where he commissioned a series of his portraits (among which were paintings in the Brühl Palace in Warsaw, lost, in the Strážnice Castle and the Royal Castle in Warsaw), created by Silesian painter Bartholomeus Strobel from Wrocław, who settled in Gdańsk in 1634. On this occasion the king also commssioned a series of maps commemorating the relief of Smolensk and surrender of Muscovite forces, who besieged the Polish garrison, in February 1634. One large map, created by Willem Hondius, a Dutch engraver from The Hague, who moved to Gdańsk in about 1636, is in the Skokloster Castle in Sweden (SKO 10693) and in the National Museum in Kraków (MNK III-ryc.-33883). Salomon Savery in Amsterdam created a print with king's effigy in Polish costume and Surrender of Mikhail Shein at Smolensk in the base after a painting by Pieter Claesz. Soutman (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number RP-P-OB-5592) and a print with the Relief of Smolensk (National Museum in Kraków, MNK III-ryc.-150 and The Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 722074.a), after a painting or a drawing by Ladislaus' court painter Adolf Boy, published by Willem Blaeu in Amsterdam in 1635. Additionally around that time a view of Kraków from the northwest by Nicolaes Visscher I after a drawing by Pieter Hendricksz. Schut was published in Amsterdam (MNK III-ryc.-29449).
It is very possible that paintings have also been commissioned in Amsterdam in 1634. Some portraits from this period depicting Ladislaus (in the National Museum in Warsaw, 186555 and in the National Museum in Poznań, MNP Mo 2184) are attributed to the court painter of Sigismund III Vasa, Pieter Claesz Soutman, who from 1628 was active in nearby Haarlem, and who created the mentioned painting of Surrender of Mikhail Shein at Smolensk, engraved by Savery.
The so-called Self-portrait with shaded eyes by Rembrandt comes from the collection of Christian Gottlob Frege (1715-1781), his son or grandson who bear the same name (according to two wax seals on the reverse). Frege was a Leipzig banker and merchant, who learned the exchange business in 1728 from a grocer in Dresden (then the informal capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as the main residence of the Saxon kings) and had trading partners in Warsaw, Wrocław and other cities. Saxon kings transferred from the royal collection in Warsaw some preserved paintings by Rembrandt or his circle, all in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, like Portrait of a man in the hat decorated with pearls (inventory number 1570), Portrait of a bearded man (1567) or Portrait of a man in a red kolpak (1568). In 1763 Dresden court appointed Frege electoral chamber councilor. In 2008 the work was acquired by the Leiden Collection in New York.
The painting was signed and dated by the artist: Rembrandt. f. / 1634 and was overpainted relatively soon after its original execution. The man's oriental costume, removed from the 1950s to the 1980s, was similar to that visible in Rembrandt's Self-portrait with raised sabre dated '1634' (etching in the Print Room of the Warsaw University Library, inventory number Inw.zb.d. 2891) wearing a fur coat, similar to royal mantle and a tall Polish/Ruthenian-style hat, a so-called kolpak or kalpak, adorned with jewels, like in the portrait of unknown nobleman from the collection of Jan Popławski (1860-1935) in the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number M.Ob.1639 MNW) or portrait of a bearded cleric by Helmich van Tweenhuysen (II) in the National Museum in Wrocław (inventory number VIII–489). The man however is much younger then in Rembrandt's Self-portrait with raised sabre. He has a slimmer nose and a bit protruding lower lip - the Habsburg (Masovian) jaw and resemble greatly Alexander Charles Vasa in his portrait in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, possibly by Peter Danckers de Rij, or his effigy as a child from about 1619 (1885 copy in the National Museum in Warsaw, Rys Pol.3269) as well as effigies of his brothers John Casimir and Charles Ferdinand Vasa.
Portrait of Prince Alexander Charles Vasa (1614-1634) by Rembrandt, 1634, The Leiden Collection (version with additions in about 1935).
Portrait of Prince Alexander Charles Vasa (1614-1634) by Rembrandt, 1634, The Leiden Collection.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa by Rembrandt
At the beginning of September 1634, young Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667), son of Stanisław, voivode of Ruthenia, who just finished his studies in Leiden, set off to Spain. The year 1634 was the time of intensification of contacts between Ladislaus IV and his cousin Philip IV of Spain. The king, using various methods, skillfully influenced the court in Madrid. In January, he defended the commercial interests of Jerzy Hewel (Höwel, Hövelius), a Gdańsk merchant and a Calvinist, who had his ship and goods seized in the Netherlands. Hewel was a relative of famous astronomer Johannes Hevelius, who in 1630 studied jurisprudence at Leiden. In 1634 on his ship "Fortuna" he delivered weapons to King Philip IV. At that time the king of Poland set up a naval commission and, with the help of Hewel, created a fleet (11 ships, including one galley) equipped with 200 guns and 600-700 crew.
Three months later Ladislaus asked the King of Spain: "We must wage war with the Swedes, enemies of Our Royal House after a six-year truce, we will need all sorts of talented and experienced people, such as can be found especially in the Belgian provinces of Your Ducal Highness. So for this purpose, we send someone there to first of all call the masters skilled in building trenches and bring them to us" (after Mirosław Nagielski's "Z dziejów stosunków Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodów ze Szwecją w XVII wieku", pp. 47-49).
Apart from politics, Polish-Lithuanian envoys in Spain also talked about personal matters. In 1633 the Scottish Wilhelm (William) Forbes, son of Alexander Forbes of Drumallachie (Drumlasie), sought salaries for the brothers of the Polish king. After the death of both parents, Ladislaus' younger siblings were left at the mercy of their brother, as the elective system of the Commonwealth did not provide for any due income or public functions for them. In June Philip IV promised to grant John Albert and Charles Ferdinand (his cousins) a salary for a period of two years, in 1634 he considered awarding the Order of the Golden Fleece to Prince John Casimir and in April 1636 his envoy proposed to the emperor to marry his daughter Cecilia Renata with Ladislaus IV. The mission of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski to Madrid must have been successful as in October 1634 he was grated the wealthy Spiš County in today's Slovakia, obtaining the consent of the king to change the Spiš estates from royal to private and hereditary.
On March 7, 1632, Balthasar Charles (1629-1646), the only son of King Philip IV and his first wife, Elisabeth of France, was sworn before the nobility and the Cortes of Castile as "His Majesty's Heir". His father soon began diplomatic efforts to seek a bride. Balthasar Charles' cousin Mary, Princess Royal (1631-1660), was proposed as a potential bride, but he was betrothed in 1646 to another cousin Mariana of Austria, daughter of Philip IV's sister Empress Maria Anna of Spain (1606-1646). Mariana of Austria was born on 24 December 1634 and after death of Balthasar Charles, the 14-year-old girl married her widowed 44-year-old uncle Philip IV in October 1649.
The increased contacts of the Polish-Lithuanian diplomacy in 1634 left a significant mark in Spanish literature (compare "Clorilene, her son Segismundo and other Polish Princes and Princesses in the Spanish Golden Age Theater at 1634: Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Antonio Coello, Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla with Lope de Vega in the Background" by Beata Baczyńska). It is higly possible that in 1634 Ladislaus IV considered a marriage of his only sister Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with the heir to the Spanish throne. Later her marriage to 9 years younger Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria-Tyrol (1628-1662) was considered. Philip IV undoubtedly must have received a portrait of this important bride, his cousin, whose godmother was Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633), governor of the Spanish Netherlands, and the godfather Archduke Leopold V of Austria-Tyrol (1586-1632).
Rembrandt was an eminent painter and his style infulenced generations of painters. Some 19th-century authors, when Poland did not exist on the maps of Europe, got us used to the idea that majority of the women he painted must be his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh: blonde, brown-haired, fat or slim, rich or poor. But was Saskia so exceptional that so many people were willing to pay for her effigy? On the other hand fabulously rich Princess Anna Catherina Constance Vasa, the only daughter of elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and hereditary king of Sweden Sigismund III Vasa, sister of his sucessor Ladislaus IV, cousin of the ruler of half the known world, king Philip IV of Spain, niece of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II and a cousin of his successor Ferdinand III, descendant of the kings of Poland and Sweden, dukes of Milan and kings of Naples, could be, before my discoveries, identified on a handful of effigies. Rembrandt, supposedly met Saskia at the home of her relative, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, a painter and art dealer of King of Poland. Until she married Rembrandt, she assisted her brother-in-law, the Polish theology professor Jan Makowski (Johannes Maccovius, 1588-1644). Rembrandt and Saskia were married on 2 July 1634.
The painting of Judith at the banquet of Holofernes (also known as Artemisia receiving Mausolus' ashes and Sophonisba receiving the poisoned cup) by Rembrandt in the Prado Museum in Madrid was possibly in the collection of Don Jerónimo de la Torre, secretary of state of Philip IV. Jerónimo died in Madrid in 1658, leaving his son Don Diego de la Torre as universal heir, and the work is probably tantamount to description in the appraisal of paintings of Don Diego made on September 3, 1662 by the painter Francisco Pérez Sierra: "The beautiful Judit, valued under the name of a Venetian woman, original, at four thousand reais" (La bella Judit, tasada devajo del nombre de una mujer veneciana, original, en quatro mill rreales) (after "¿Judit o Ester? El Rembrandt del Museo del Prado" by Juan María Cruz Yábar). The title of Venetian woman is most probably a reference to the woman's bleached hair. Blonde hair was valued as an association with youth and divinity and Venetian women of the 16th century created the famous 'Venetian Blondes' by exposing their hair to sunlight and applying bleaching mixtures (after "Being Beautiful: An inspiring anthology of wit and wisdom on what it means to be beautiful" by Helen Gordon, p. 81). In the inventory of the collection of King Charles III from 1772 the subject is also identifed as Judith: "A painting showing Judith to whom some maids serve a goblet and on a round table an open book, figures of more than half length, an original by Rembrandt, seven quarters long and one and a half varas high" (Un quadro que representa a Judic, a quien unas doncellas sirven una copa, y en una mesa redonda tiene un libro abierto, figuras de más de medio cuerpo, original de Rembrandt, de siete quartas de largo y vara y media de caída).
Biblical heroine Judith, exemplary in virtue and in guarding her chastity, unlike in the paintings showing Anna Catherina Constance's great-grandmother Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach, is depicted after arriving at Holofernes's camp and before killing him. The artist signed and dated the painting which is clearly visible on the chair below the Judith's hand: Rembrant. /f 1634. In about 1634 Pieter Claesz Soutman and his workshop in nearby Haarlem created two effigies of King Ladislaus IV Vasa. One, in Spanish costume, is in Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, the other was published by Claes Jansz. Visscher in Amsterdam (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek).
The same woman was also depicted in other paintings by Rembrandt. The earlierst of them shows her as Bellona, ancient Roman goddess of war. The work is signed and dated: Rembrandt f:/ 1633 and there is also inscription on the shield: BELLOON[A]. The woman is slightly younger than the Madrid version and her hair is not bleached. By 1797 this painting was in the collection of George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham in Stowe House, Buckinghamshire in England, today in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1633 Jan Zawadzki (ca. 1580-1645), a courtier of king Ladislaus IV was send on a mission to the Netherlands and England to discuss the marriage of the king with Elisabeth of the Palatinate (1618-1680), the eldest daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine (who was briefly King of Bohemia), and Elizabeth Stuart. Chancellor Jakub Zadzik, in his letter from Warsaw, dated January 15, 1633, recommended Zawadzki to the care of a councilor from Amsterdam. That same year Zadzik commissioned in nearby Delft a series of heraldic portiere tapestries with his coat of arms in the workshop of Maximiliaan van der Gucht (created between 1633-1636, Cathedral Museum at Wawel Hill and Czartoryski Museum in Kraków). After his stay in The Hague in May 1633, Zawadzki went to Scotland and obtained an audience with Charles I of England on June 26 in Edinburgh. Then he traveled around Scotland and England, during which he met Thomas Roe (after "Misja Jana Zawadzkiego na dwory Europy Północnej w 1633 roku…" by Marta Szymańska, p. 93). Undeniably, he brought some diplomatic gifts with him and portraits of the members of the royal family.
She was also depicted in a portrait wearing a pearl necklace, associated with purity, chastity and innocence. The painting, signed: Rembrandt f. 1634 and sold in Lucerne (Fischer, 5-9-1922), is today in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
Another painting by Rembrandt, in the National Gallery in London, shows her as Flora, the Roman goddess of fertility, flowers and vegetation. It was signed and dated by the artist Rem(b).a... / 1635 and before 1756 it was in the collection of Marie Joseph d'Hostun de La Baume-Tallard, duc d'Hostun, comte de Tallard in Paris. Its earlier history is unknown, therefore we cannot exclude the possibility that it was brought to Paris by John Casimir Vasa, Anna Catherina Constance's brother, after his abdication in 1668 or it was sent as a gift to Anna Catherina Constance's cousin Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Queen of France. A drawing in the British Museum (inventory number Oo,10.133), attributed to Ferdinand Bol, who worked as an apprentice in Rembrandt 's studio in Amsterdam, could be a preparatory drawing to the painting by Rembrandt. The same as in the painting representing the same woman as Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, justice and victory, in her study. A drawing signed by Ferdinand Bol (F:bol.ft.) is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (RP-T-1975-85), while the painting from the collection of James, 13th Lord Somerville in Drum House, Gilmerton, signed by Rembrandt (Rembrandt. f. / 1635), is today in The Leiden Collection in New York (RR-107). Apparently in 1635 Rembrandt and his pupils worked on some large commission, maybe conneted with another diplomatic mission of Jan Zawadzki, who was sent again to England, The Hague and also to Paris in 1636.
The same sitter, with protruding lip of the Habsburgs and Masovian dukes clearly visible and wearing a crown, was depicted in the painting by Rembrandt from 1638 (signed and dated: Rembrandt. f. 1638.) showing the Wedding feast of Samson, today in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. It was acquired by Augustus II, elected King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, before 1722. On October 18, 1641 the painter Philips Angel commented on the painting in his speech to the painters of Leiden on St. Luke's Day. In 1654, the work was probably in the estate of Cathalijntje Bastiaens (1607-1654), widow of Cornelis Cornelisz. Cras (d. 1652), mentioned as "a wedding by Rembrandt" (een bruyloft van Rembrandt). Most probably in 1777, when he was working for Izabela Czartoryska in Voŭčyn (Wołczyn, Wolssin en Lithuanie), Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine created a drawing after this composition, today in the National Museum in Warsaw. It is possible that he saw it in Dresden, however since his drawing is not identical with the painting in Dresden, it is possible that another version was also in the Czartoryski collection. Norblin was a great admirer of Rembrandt's work and frequently created paintings, drawings and etchings in his style. It is also possible that he included in his portfolio a drawing by the master or his workshop.
In this painting the biblical hero Samson poses a riddle to the guests at his wedding feast, dressed in oriental and Polish costumes. It is not Samson, however, who is in the center of the composition, but his Philistine bride, another biblical femme fatale who betrayed her husband. Therefore the painting could be a warning of what type of wife the woman should not be and it was most probably commissioned by the man in a turban, holding a flute and gazing at the viewer. It could be also a subtle allusion to politics, exaclty as Daniel and king Cyrus before Bel (Prophet Daniel exposing the fraud of the priests of Idol Baal) by Bartholomeus Strobel in the National Museum in Warsaw (M.Ob.1284), created between 1636 and 1637 and considered to be political allegory of the reign of Ladislaus IV Vasa.
She was also represented in a small painting, wearing a large ruby pendant. This picture, painted on oak wood panel, comes most probably from the old collection of the Royal Palace on the Isle in Warsaw (M.Ob.2663, Dep 473). It is attributed to an 18th century imitator of Rembrandt and could a copy of a lost original from the 1630s.
Princess Anna Catherina Constance, who died childless on October 8, 1651, aged 32, was forgotten shortly after her death. Before her marriage in 1642 the workshop of Maximilian van der Gucht in Delft, not far from Amsterdam, created a tapestry with her coat of arms and monogram A.C.C.P.P.S. (Anna Catharina Constantia Principissa Poloniae Sueciae), most likely one of the series, that she brought to Neuburg an der Donau (today in the Munich Residence). Chancellor Zadzik commissioned his tapestries in van der Gucht worshop as well as Mikołaj Wojciech Gniewosz, Bishop of Włocławek, secretary of Kings Sigismund III and Ladislaus IV (today in the Skokloster Castle in Sweden). The princess brought with her to Neuburg the most exquisite works of art created not only in Europe, but also in Persia (Safavid kilims with coat of arms of her father are in the Munich Residence and Wittelsbacher Ausglechsfonds in Munich) while her portraits were created by Rembrandt.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Bellona by Rembrandt, 1633, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Judith at the banquet of Holofernes by Rembrandt, 1634, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) wearing a pearl necklace by Rembrandt, 1634, National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
Modello or ricordo drawing for a portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Flora by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1635, British Museum.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Flora by Rembrandt, 1635, National Gallery in London.
Modello or ricordo drawing for a portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Minerva in her study by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1635, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Minerva in her study by Rembrandt, 1635, The Leiden Collection.
The Wedding feast of Samson with portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Rembrandt, 1638, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
The Wedding feast of Samson by Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine after Rembrandt or Rembrandt's pupil, 1777 (?), National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with a ruby pendant by follower of Rembrandt, 18th century (?) after original from the 1630s, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw.
Portraits of Elżbieta Kazanowska by circle of Rembrandt and Peter Danckers de Rij
In spring of 1633, Adam Kazanowski, thanks to the support of King Ladislaus IV, married the then 14-year-old Elżbieta (Halszka) Słuszczanka (1619-1671). For Kazanowski, the marriage meant not only a substantial dowry (50,000 zlotys), numerous movable and immovable property, but also valuable connections. On the occasion of the wedding, Halszka received a pure gold mug and 20,000 zlotys from the king, the value of other gifts amounted to 40,000 zlotys.
Earlier that year, on March 2, 1633 Elżbieta's father Aleksander Słuszka or Słuszko (1580-1647) become the voivode of Minsk. He was brought up as a Calvinist, but later, in about 1621, he converted to Catholicism together with his wife Zofia Konstancja Zenowicz.
For his favourite, Adam Kazanowski, who already recived a magificent palace in Warsaw, later known as Kazanowski (or Radziejowski) Palace, the king restored the office of the Crown Steward in 1633, and soon after that, he become the Pantler of the Crown and recieved other offices. In 1634 he most probably accompanied the king to Gdańsk and on June 1635, he came with him to Toruń. In 1635, he conducted a successful purchase of a fleet of ships for Ladislaus IV in Gdańsk (12 ships for 379,500 zlotys). Kazanowski also participated in the Vistula grain trade and one of the largest granaries in Warsaw's Skaryszew belonged to him.
Słuszczanka and her husband accompanied the king in 1638 on a trip to Baden near Vienna, and in the Imperial capital she won in women's rifle shooting competition, for which she received "a nice jewel". The Lithuanian (Litewka), as Łukasz Opaliński called her, was famous for her frivolous sexual conduct, just like her husband. Years passed and she did not get pregnant. Perhaps she contracted syphilis from Kazanowski, who according to rumors, gained property and offices because he kept a harem of lovers for the ruler (after "Jak romans doprowadził do jednej z największych tragedii w dziejach Polski" by Jerzy Besala).
Educated in Braniewo, Würzburg, Leiden and Padua (after Marcin Broniarczyk "Wykształcenie świeckich senatorów w Koronie za Władysława IV", p. 280), Kazanowski was a patron of arts. According to Adam Jarzębski's "Short Description of Warsaw" in his palace there was a workshop of Dutch painters (lines 1605-1608, Olandrowie, Nie Polacy). His portrait at the age of 44 as a Court Chamberlain (Wawel Royal Castle), was created by Dutch painter Peter Danckers de Rij, born in Amsterdam (signed: P Donckers fecit / AETATI[S) SVAE 44). Other preserved effigies of Kazanowski were created by another Dutchman Willem Hondius: engraving with a portrait against the Vistula River and his estates in Praga and Skaryszew, created in 1646, and two other created in 1648 after paintings by Maerten van Couwenburgh, most probably a relative of Christiaen van Couwenbergh from Delft. Other effigy from the 1640s (Royal Castle in Warsaw) is attributed to engraver Jeremias Falck Polonus from Gdańsk. In 1645 Hondius also created a series of views of the Wieliczka salt mine, sponsored by Kazanowski, who was a żupnik (manager of a mining district) from 1642.
"Never has Poland seen and will never see so much wealth in the hands of a single man", wrote about the Court Chamberlain Wawrzyniec Jan Rudawski (1617-1674). Kazanowski died childless on December 25, 1649 and his beautiful wife Halszka become heiress to a large fortune. Just few monts later, in May 1650, she married another royal courtier Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667). This marriage was reportedly arranged by her lover, the new king John II Casimir Vasa (half brother of Ladislaus IV). Soon, however, disagreements began. The reason was supposed to be the portrait of the deceased Kazanowski, which the lady did not want to remove from her room, others said that it was not the portrait, but the young Jan Tyzenhaus, a handsome royal valet, who had quarreled the couple.
Violent Radziejowski became very angry when his wife's affair with the king was revealed in the late spring of 1651. Elżbieta left the military camp near Sokal and took refuge in the convent. She also filed a lawsuit for annulment of the marriage. Despite repeated attempts, Radziejowski did not manage to break into the Kazanowski Palace, defended by Elżbieta's brother Bogusław Słuszka. At the time, John Casimir and pregnant Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga were staying in the nearby Royal Castle. At the Sejm session Radziejowski was accused of offending the majesty and violating the security of the royal residence and sentenced to banishment and infamy. Słuszczanka and her brother Bogusław received much lighter sentences - a fine of 4,000 zlotys and a year and six weeks of hard imprisonment in the tower. Halszka drove to the prison at the Castle in the carriage drawn by six horses. After twelve weeks, she was forgiven and her brother left the prison earlier (after "Życie codzienne w Warszawie za Wazów" by Jerzy Lileyko, p. 270).
Portrait of a lady holding a fan from the Jan Popławski collection was offered to the National Museum in Warsaw in 1935 (inventory number 34661), most probably lost during World War II. This small painting (28 x 22 cm) was painted on a wood panel and attributed to a imitator of Dutch painting from the 18th century (after "Katalog wystawy obrazów ze zbiorów dr. Jana Popławskiego" by Jan Żarnowski, number 97, p. 53).
The pose of a woman with her right hand on a table and holding a fan in her left hand is very similar to portraits representing the king's sister Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (Ambras Castle) and Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (Nationalmuseum in Stockholm/Gripsholm Castle), all holding fans and attributed to Peter Danckers de Rij, court painter of Ladislaus IV from about 1637. Also the style of this painting is close to Danckers de Rij and the woman's hand is very similar to the hand of Anna Catherine Constance in Ambras painting. If not the material and dimensions, this portrait could be considered as a pendant to mentioned portrait of Kazanowski by Danckers de Rij (oil on canvas, 119.5 x 94.5 cm), as the composition match perfectly. Since the portraits of such notables were created in series and in different dimensions, this cannot be excluded. Maybe a reduced portrait of Kazanowski painted on panel was also created at that time. The Wawel painting was acquired the as a gift from Julian Godlewski from Switzerland in 1970. Consequently the portrait of a woman from Popławski collection can be dated to about 1643, like the Kazanowski portrait.
She wears a strange wide-brimmed hat with a hole cut through the crown with her blonde hair spread over the broad brim. The woman is bleaching her hair like Venetian women in engravings by Cesare Vecellio or Pietro Bertelli from the late 16th century or in the Album Amicorum of Burchard Grossmann, created between 1624-1645, and other albums of foreign travellers in Venice. Venetian women bleached their hair using a solana (a wide brim hat with a hole in the centre) and sitting in the sun. The hair, soaked in a concoction of lemon juice and urine, was thrown out of the crown space and spread over the brim, which shaded the person from the sun (after "Venice: the Queen of the Adriatic" by Clara Erskine Clement Waters, p. 224). Venetians, who settled in great number in Poland-Lithuania from the beginning of the 16th century, undoubtedly introduced this technique there. Her coat, lined with fur, is very similar to the coat visible in an engraving showing a Polish noblewoman (FOEMINA NOBILIS POLONICA), illustration to Hans Weigel's "Habitus Praecipuorum Populorum", published in 1577.
The same woman, with identical earring in her left ear, was depicted in a series of paintings by circle of Rembrandt. One signed and dated (upper right: Rembrandt f. 1635 or 1638, oil on canvas, 99.5 x 71 cm) was before 1794 in the collection of Louis-Marie Lebas de Courmont, Marquis de Pomponne in Paris. In 1669 king John II Casimir Vasa brought many paintings from Polish royal collection to Paris after his abdication. A pastel after this version, or other not preserved painting, most probably by an 18th century French pastelist, was sold on 11 June 2020 in Amsterdam.
Other version (oil on canvas, 100.5 × 81 cm) was first mentioned in 1854, when hung in the collection of the Earl of Listowel, lost. Another, smaller picture (oil on canvas, 77 x 63 cm) was sold in New York (Doyle, 2016-01-27, lot 56). The style of this painting can be compared with the Lovers by Christiaen van Couwenbergh in the Kunsthalle Bremen, painted in 1632. It is possible that this copy after original by Rembrandt was made by Maerten van Couwenburgh. Other, more simplified versions are in Kunstmuseum Basel (oil on canvas, 33 x 29.5 cm, inventory number 501), acquired in 1859 from the Birmann collection and in private collection (oil on canvas, 56 x 46 cm), sold on November 18, 2020.
The "fanciful custume" of a woman is similar to those visible in the Feast of Herod by Bartholomeus Strobel, court painter of Ladislaus IV, created in the 1630s (Prado Museum in Madrid) and to the costume of Queen of Sheba from the copper-silver sarcophagus of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (scene of Queen of Sheba before Solomon), created by Johann Christian Bierpfaff before 1648 (Wawel Cathedral).
Portrait of a lady with forget-me-nots in the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number M.Ob.2510), painted in the style of Peter Danckers de Rij, was previously identifed by me as possibly depicting Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska, mistress of Ladislaus IV Vasa, however the woman resemble more closely the woman wearing a solana hat from the Popławski collection. Her black dress, most likely a mourning dress, is evidently Central European of the epoch and similar to that visible in a portrait of a lady aged 26, created in 1645 (National Museum in Kraków, inventory number MNK I-689), in epitaph portrait of Zofia Kochańska née Świerczewska, created in mid-17th century (Saint James church in Sanka), or in a portrait of a lady, said to be a member of the Węsierski family, painted by Danckers de Rij in about 1640 (National Museum in Gdańsk). As a consequence, the portrait depict Kazanowska in mourning after death of her first husband (1649) or imprisonment in the tower (1652) and was most probably adressed to her former lover, king John Casimir Vasa.
The woman from all mentioned portraits bear a resemblance to a man depicted in a portrait, today in the Lithuanian National Museum of Art in Vilnius, which according to inscription depict Aleksander Słuszka, voivode of Minsk and father of Elżbieta. The portrait of Słuszka in Vilnius is similar to full-length portrait of Józef Bogusław Słuszka (1652-1701), Lithuanian Field Hetman, which was in the collection of the Radziwill family in Niasvizh, lost. The costume is almost identical and more typical of the end of the 17th century, the man is holding a bulava mace (a sort of military baton), typical for Field Hetmans and other effigies of Józef Bogusław, therefore both depict Aleksander Słuszka's descendant (a grandson), however, some family resemblance to described female portraits is still visible.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) from the Marquis de Pomponne collection in Paris by circle of Rembrandt, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Pastel portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by French pastelist after original by circle of Rembrandt, 18th century, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) from the Earl of Listowel collection by circle of Rembrandt, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1635-1638, Kunstmuseum Basel.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) in solana hat by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1643, National Museum in Warsaw, lost.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) with forget-me-nots by Peter Danckers de Rij, 1649-1652, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa by Peter Danckers de Rij
With the new dynasty, the Vasas, the focus of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's international politics shifted from south of Europe to the north. Sigismund III Vasa, elected monarch of the Commonwealth was born in Sweden and on February 19, 1594 he was crowned King of Sweden and Grand Duke of Finland.
Curiously, exactly around that time, Venetian painting workshops began to decline, there are no more such great painters in Venice, native to the Republic, in subsequent decades like Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, Palma Vecchio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Titian, Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano or Veronese. Domenico Fetti was born in Rome and then worked in Mantua for ten years and Bernardo Strozzi was born and initially mainly active in Genoa.
Commonwealth's monarchs began to visit more often the main economic center of the country and its main seaport - Gdańsk in the north. Sigismund III was there several times, for the first time when he arrived from Sweden in October 1587. Also his predecessor Sigismund II Augustus was a guest in the city in July 1552. On September 23, 1561 the top of the tower of the main Town Hall of Gdańsk was adorned with a gilded statue of the king with an accentuated codpiece, designed by Dutch Dirk Daniels. In 1564-1568 the Green Gate in the style of Flemish mannerism was built by architect Regnier van Amsterdam as the formal residence of Poland's monarchs.
Not only in architecture, but also in painting, Flemish and Dutch style become the most popular in the Vasa era in Poland, at least in the northern part of the country. In 1624, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, future Ladislaus IV, visted Rubens' workshop and was painted by him. Ladislaus invited to Warsaw the author of his "Art Collection" (Royal Castle in Warsaw), most probably Étienne de La Hire, and Rubens recommended Pieter Claesz Soutman, a Dutch painter born in Haarlem, who was appointed royal court painter, he, however, returned to Haarlem in 1628. All of Ladislaus' relatives and other monarchs employed at their courts Flemish and Dutch painters. Rubens painted his Spanish cousins, monarchs of France and England, Flemish painter Justus Sustermans worked for the Medici family in Florence and his aunt Maria Maddalena of Austria (1589-1631), another Flemish painter, Frans Luycx, became the leading portrait painter at the imperial court of his cousins in Vienna, Justus van Egmont, also Flemish, worked in France at the court of his cousin Queen Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Antoon van Dyck (Anthony van Dyck) in England, Karel van Mander III was active at the Danish royal court and numerous other.
Around 1636-1637, in connection with the extensive work at decorating royal residencies in preparation for the king's wedding, Ladislaus employed Peter Danckers de Rij, who was initially active in Gdańsk. Danckers de Rij was born in Amsterdam and probably returned there during the Deluge (1655-1660).
Despite her qualities and wealth, like in the case of her grandmother and her grandmother's sister Isabella Jagiellon, it was not an easy task to find a suitable match for Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651), the sister of Ladislaus, who reached adulthood around that time. Hereditary rulers of Europe were not interested to marry a sister of the elective monarch. After the death of her parents in 1631 and in 1632, Parliament granted her the counties of Brodnica, Gołub and Tuchola. The lands had previously belonged to her mother, but Anna could not exercise her rights until she came of age in 1638. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, and Gaston, Duke of Orléans (brother of King Louis XIII of France), were among candidates for her hand. Despite the agreements of 1639 and 1642 to marry her to Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria-Tyrol (1628-1662), the marriage never took place, due to the age of the groom who was 11 years old in 1639 and the disagreement over the amount of her dowry. On June 8, 1642, in Warsaw she married Philip William of Neuburg.
In the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg there are two portraits deposited by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (inventory numbers NbgKbg.L-G0006, NbgKbg.L-G0007) which according to inscriptin in German on the frame depict Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705) and his wife Infanta Margaret Theresa of Spain (1651-1673). The man's costume, however, with embridered doublet topped with beautiful lace collar, matching breeches and a lovelock, is typical for European fashion in the 1630s. His pose and facial features are identical to those visible in a portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa, brother of Ladislaus IV, in the Gripsholm Castle in Sweden and his miniature portrait in the Bavarian National Museum, both attributed to Peter Danckers de Rij. The woman from the pendant portrait, who bear no resemblance whatsoever to effigies of Infanta Margaret Theresa, must be therefore his only sister Anna Catherine Constance, as John Casimir was unmarried at that time. She was portrayed in a little outdated outfit, crimson Spanish style saya and a large ruff. Her face and pose are identical as in the portrait from the Ambras Castle in Innsbruck in Tyrol (most probably sent to Archduke Ferdinand Charles), identified as effigy of Archduchess Cecilia Renata of Austria, Queen of Poland (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, inventory number 5611). In this portrait her costume is more à la mode - in 1642 Queen Cecilia Renata asked her younger brother Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, through Estebanillo González who visited Warsaw the same year, to send her some Dutch lace and a doll dressed in fashionable French attire. Both the Queen and her sister-in-law Anna Catherine Constance, knew the fashion trends well. This woman bears no resemblance to effigies of Cecilia Renata in the Gripsholm Castle (NMGrh 299, NMGrh 1417), and in the State Historical Museum in Moscow (И I 5922), all attributed to Peter Danckers de Rij. She is holding an oriental folding fan with a pattern resembling an inscription in Arabic, hence possibly acquired in Venice, exactly like in portraits of Anna Catherine Constance's grandmother Catherine Jagiellon by Moroni and Titian.
The same woman was also depicted in a miniature painting in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan (inventory number 863), also painted in the style of Peter Danckers de Rij. Her costume is typical for Central Europe, Austria and Bavaria in the 1630s, like in the portraits of Maria Anna of Austria (1610-1665), Electress of Bavaria, sister of Cecilia Renata in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich from about 1635 or in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna from about 1643. Similar costumes are also visible in portraits of Éva Forgách, wife of Count István Csáky (1610-1639), dated '1638', in the Hungarian National Museum, Baroness Maria Laymann-Libenau, also dated '1638', in the Ptuj Ormož Regional Museum, Countess Erzsébet Thurzó, wife of István Esterházy, dated '1641', in the Forchtenstein Castle or on the silver medal with bust of Anna Leszczyńska née Radzimińska from 1614 in the National Museum in Lublin.
She was also depicted in a portrait, also very in the style of Danckers de Rij, although attributed to Govert Flinck, from the French private collection. This painting represent "Venus reclining" inspired by Venus of Urbino in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, which is a portrait of a sister of Anna Catherine Constance's grandmother Isabella Jagiellon.
Miniature portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with a dog by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Imperial Castle in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) holding a fan by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1639-1642, Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) nude by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638-1642, Private collection.
Portraits of Prince John Casimir Vasa
"His works and famous testimonies of craftsmanship [artis praeclara specimina] created in Our kingdom […], to everyone who has come close, give a pleasant feeling of beauty and adornment flowing from the surfaces painted by him. With this letter, We make him a painter at our court", stated in the servitorial letter issued in 1639 to the Silesian painter Bartholomeus Strobel King Ladislaus IV Vasa (after "Portrait of Władysław IV from the Oval Gallery ..." by Monika Kuhnke, Jacek Żukowski, p. 68). The king met Strobel in Gdańsk at the end of 1634. Over the next few years the artist lived and worked alternately in Gdańsk, Toruń and Elbląg, simultaneously being employed in decorating the interior of the royal chapel of St. Casimir in Vilnius (1636-37).
On June 25, 1635, in the face of a new war with Sweden, the king's half-brother John Casimir Vasa arrived to Toruń. Under the command of Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski, about 24,000 selected soldiers with strong artillery were concentrated in Pomerania in the camp near Sztum. From there the prince went to Vienna for the wedding of his relative Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria (1610-1665), the daughter of Emperor Ferdinand II, and Maximilian I (1573-1651), Duke of Bavaria (15 July 1635). He received under his command a regiment of cuirassiers and Polish volunteers, with whom he went to the front of the Thirty Years' War in Alsace. He returned to the country after Ladislaus IV concluded the truce in Sztumska Wieś on September 12, 1635.
When despite the imperial promises, he did not receive a feudal principality, and the Sejm did not grant him the Duchy of Courland, he accepted the proposal of his cousin Philip IV of Spain to become the viceroy of Portugal, where he was to receive an annual salary and get married. On this trip, he stopped in France, where he was arrested on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu on suspicion of espionage for Spain. He was a prisoner from May 10, 1638 to February 1640, when he was released after the intervention of the Polish legation that came to Paris. After release he went to Paris, where he met Princess Marie Louise Gonzaga de Nevers, with whom he had an affair. In 1641 John Casimir decided to become a Jesuit. In 1642, he left the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth again, accompanying his sister to Germany. In 1643 he joined the Jesuits despite the opposition of King Ladislaus, causing a diplomatic rift between Poland and the Pope. John Casimir became a cardinal, but in December 1646, finding himself unworthy of spiritual life, he resigned as a cardinal and returned to Poland.
Following the death of Cecilia Renata of Austria, first wife of Ladislaus IV in 1644, Cardinal Jules Mazarin insisted that Marie Louise should marry the widowed sovereign to destroy the alliance between the Polish Vasa dynasty and the Habsburg dynasty, the rivals of the French state. She married Ladislaus by proxy on 5 November 1645. Two years later, on 20 May 1648, Marie Louise was widowed by the sudden death of Ladislaus IV. John Casimir was eventually elected the next King of Poland by the nobility, and married her on 30 May 1649.
In the Alte Pinakothek in Munich there is portrait of a young man in a fashionable French slashed doublet from around 1635. It was transferred in 1804 from the collection of the Palatine Castle in Neuburg an der Donau. This painting is very symilar in style, pose of the sitter and costume to the portrait of king Ladislaus IV Vasa with a crown by Bartholomeus Strobel (attributed), which was before 1939 in the Brühl Palace in Warsaw and dated to around 1635, as well as to the portrait of Władysław Dominik Zasławski-Ostrogski, also by Strobel, from about 1635 in National Art Museum of Belarus in Minsk (a copy of the painting in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw). Very similar costume is also visible in the portrait of Prince Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655), painted by David Bailly in 1632 (National Museum in Wrocław). The man bear a striking resemblance to the portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa when a Cardinal, created by a painter in Rome in about 1646 (Pontificia Università Gregoriana) and several engravings depicting John Casimir, when the King of Poland (by Willem Hondius, published in Gdańsk in 1648, by Hugo Allard the Elder, published in Amsterdam after 1648 and by Philipp Kilian, published in Augsburg after 1648). Therefore the described painting from the Neuburg Castle undoubtedly comes from a dowry of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651), Countess Palatine of Neuburg and John Casimir Vasa's sister.
Another portrait, most probably also from Anna Catherine Constance Vasa's dowry, is today in the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg (deposit of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, NbgKbg.L-G0006). It was previously identifed as effigy of Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705) and as such published as a chromolithograph by Jakob Heinrich von Hefner-Alteneck in 1879. This painting is very similar to Prince John Casimir 's portrait in Gripsholm Castle in Sweden, a miniature in the Bavarian National Museum and another portrait, which was before World War II in the Herzog-Max-Burg Palace in Munich (watercolor painting after original by Aleksander Lesser from mid-19th century is in the National Museum in Warsaw). All these paintings were created by Peter Danckers de Rij and his workshop in about 1638 on the occasion of receiving the Order of the Golden Fleece from king Philip IV of Spain, head of the order from 1621.
The same man was also depicted in a portrait from the old collection of the palace of the French kings in the Louvre (INV 20345). It is attributed to a French painter and dated to about 1635-1640 basing on the style and sitter's costume. The painting was most probaly created in the atelier of Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674), who from 1628, when he entered the service of Queen Mother Marie de Medicis, was a court painter of the French kings. Prince John Casimir was a prisoner and as such cannot be represented with the Order of the Golden Fleece, as France was at that time at war with Spain. His costume and hairstyle are very similar to those shown on the silver medal with his bust, created before 1638 (Museum of Warsaw, MHW 24241). It is also possible that the portrait was created by an Italian or a Flemish painter and brought by the prince with him to France, as John Casimir travelled to many European countries between 1635 and 1638.
Engraving entitled in French L'Hyver (Winter) with Proserpine and Pluto by Jeremias Falck Polonus and Jean Leblond I (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), was published between 1639-1645. Proserpine and Pluto, who abducted her into the underworld, bearing the features of both Marie Louise and John Casimir is undoubtedly an allusion to the secret affair of the Queen and the Prince. Gdańsk born engraver who called himself Polish (Polonus) created this print in Paris, where he moved in 1639. Fragment of four lines of French letterpress verse at left, and their Latin translation at right, reads "Pluto burns a secret fire for Proserpine" (Pluton d'un feu secret brusle pour Proserpine).
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa by Bartholomeus Strobel or workshop, ca. 1635, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Imperial Castle in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa by workshop of Philippe de Champaigne (?), 1635-1640, Louvre Museum.
L'Hyver (Winter) with Proserpine and Pluto by Jeremias Falck Polonus and Jean Leblond I, 1639-1645, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa and Cecilia Renata of Austria by Frans Luycx
"As soon as the king entered the castle and got out of the carriage, the archduke came towards the king as far as the stairs, and with him one distinguished Austrian lord Meggau, a knight of the golden fleece, who was in great favor with the Emperor's father. The archduke apologized to the king that the empress did not come downstairs, and this was because of her health while she was pregnant. Then the empress came down and stopped in the middle of the stairs, whole dressed in pearls. The king from the journey, but he was also dressed expensive, and so did the queen and princess. The king spoke to the empress in Italian, who received him pleasantly and answered him briefly in Spanish. She then embraced the queen very pleasantly, and she squeezed the princess so tightly that her pearl earrings with the princess's earrings tangled that they had to be torn off", recalled the greeting of King Ladislaus IV Vasa, his wife Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria and his sister Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa with their cousin Empress Maria Anna of Spain (1606-1646) in Vienna on September 1, 1638, Jakub Sobieski (1591-1646), voivode of Belz, in his Diary.
Ladislaus went to Austria to be treated for gout in Baden near Vienna. The king and his retinue of 1,300 people, "who need more for a month than the entire imperial court for six months", according to Sobieski, departured from Warsaw on August 5, 1638. Known for his artistic taste, during trip to the Netherlands and Italy in 1624-1625, he visited, among others, the studios of Peter Paul Rubens, Guido Reni and Guercino, Ladislaus probably visited the atelier the leading portrait painter at the imperial court, Frans Luycx, during his visit to Vienna. Much earlier, however, he had noticed the great talent of the Flemish painter, because the accounts preserved in Stockholm confirm Ladislaus' contacts with a painter named Luix as early as 1637. Most likely in 1637, when she became empress, Luycx created a series of portrait sof Maria Anna of Spain which were sent to her relatives. Two very similar are in the Visitandines Monastery in Warsaw and in the Gripsholm Castle near Stockholm (inventory number NMGrh 1221), both probably originally sent to Warsaw as a gift to the king and his sister, like the two identical paintings in Madrid (Prado Museum, inventory number P04169 and P001272).
Probably during this visit Ladislaus commissioned a series of his effigies, and portraits of his wife and sister. The 1640 settlement says about the payment by Polish agent in Vienna to "Leic, painter, for three effigies" (after Jacek Żukowski, "Obrazy z warsztatu Fransa Luycxa w kolekcji wilanowskiej"). Preserved portraits of the king by Luycx are in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Alte Pinakothek in Munich and reduced version in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw (inventory number Wil.1143). The portrait of Cecilia Renata of Austria is also in Wilanów (pendant to king's portrait, inventory number Wil.1144) and in Vienna (inscription on the back in Italian: LA REGINA CECILIA RENATA DI POLONIA 1642, inventory number 8291). Inventory of Leopold Wilhelm's collection from 1659 lists two effigies of his sister Queen of Poland by Luycx, one when Archduchess with a parrot (indianischer raab, inventory number 813), the second as a Queen with a crown and sceptre on a table (inventory number 811), both probably lost. In turn Cecilia Renata and the king of Poland also undoubtedly owned portraits of Leopold Wilhelm from this period and a miniature in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków (inventory number XII-71), painted in Luycx's style and similar to Archduke's portrait in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (inventory number GG 2754) and his full length portrait by Luycx in the Gripsholm Castle (inventory number NMGrh 1876), can be considered as such.
Miniature portrait of a woman attributed to Spanish painter in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is stylistically very similar to described miniature of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in the Czartoryski Museum. The woman bears strong resemblemnce to portraits of Archduke's sister, Cecilia Renata, especially mentioned portrait in Vienna by workshop of Frans Luycx (inventory number 8291). The Spanish style elements of her outfit, like earrings, may be the influence of the Spanish entourage of her sister-in-law, Empress Maria Anna of Spain.
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm also owned a portrait of Princess Anna Catherine Constance described in the inventory of his collection under number 812: "A life-size effigy in oil on canvas of the princess of Poland, who was married to the duke of Neuburg. In a black smooth frame, 11 feet 3 fingers high and 7 feet wide. By Francisco Leüx Original" (Ein Contrafait lebensgrosz von Öhlfarb auf Leinwaeth der Princessin ausz Pohlen, welche mit dem Herzogen von Neüburg verheürath gewest. In einer schwartz glatten Ramen, hoch 11 Spann 3 Finger unndt 7 Spann braith. Von Francisco Leüx Original).
The full length portrait by Frans Luycx in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (inventory number GG 7944) is identifed as effigy of Queen Cecilia Renata, however, like in portraits of Ladislaus IV, Empress Maria Anna or a portrait of Cecilia Renata mentioned in Archduke's inventory, there is no insignia (crown and scepter) in this portrait and the woman bears no resemblance to other effigies of the Queen. On the other hand the woman resemble greatly effigies of Princess Anna Catherine Constance, especially her portrait in a red dress at Ambras Castle. This image may therefore be tantamount to an entry in the Archduke's inventory. A reduced copy of this painting by Luycx's workshop is also in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (inventory number GG 7944).
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by workshop of Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Miniature portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (1611-1644) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Miniature portrait of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (1614-1662) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa and Cecilia Renata of Austria as Venus Verticordia by Giacinto Campana
In 1625, during his stay in Bologna, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa visited the studios of local painters, Guido Reni and Guercino. He brought to Poland from this journey, apart from works of art purchased in the Netherlands and Italy, also valuable gifts, including paintings by Italian masters from the famous gallery in Mantua, donated to him by Prince Gonzaga. When he become king he continued to purchase paintings abroad, mainly in the Netherlands, but also in Italy, throuh his secretary Virgilio Puccitelli, a castrato singer and composer. It was Puccitelli, who acquired the services of several singers in Venice for the king between September 1638 and February 1640, who brought to Warsaw "The Rape of Europa" by Guido Reni for which the king expressed his gratitiude in a letter to Reni dated March 3, 1640. "Therefore, we make You aware of all this and enclose the expression of our most obliging intentions, so that You know how much to expect from them and how much we respect your bright talent", wrote the king. This painting is today in the National Gallery in London.
In 1637 Ladislaus invited to Poland, probably from Rome, Giacinto Campana from Bologna, who worked at the Polish court until at least 1646. He was employed to decorate different royal residencies and Saint Casimir's Chapel in the Vilnius Cathedral in July 1639, as well as, together with Giovanni Battista Gisleni and Christian Melich, in stage decorations for Royal Opera in Warsaw and Vilnius.
Campana, trained first with Francesco Brizio, then with Francesco Albani, worked as an assistant to Guido Reni and painted the copy of Guido's Abduction of Helen in 1631 for Cardinal Bernardino Spada with his master's retouching (Galleria Spada in Rome). Before World War II in Bode-Museum in Berlin, there was painting of Feeding the multitude, which in the inventory of the collection of Vincenzo Giustiniani from 1638 it is attributed to Campana (Un quadro grande col miracolo di Christo della distribuzione di cinque pani, e dui pesci dipinto in tela, alta palmi 12 lar. 7 -in circa di mano del Campana senza cornice). Two paintings in Palazzo Malvezzi de' Medici in Bologna depicting the Death of Saint Joseph and Martyrdom of Saint Ursula from the Hospital of the Little Bastards (Ospedale dei Bastardini) are also attributed to him. In Poland the work which could be attributed to Campana is a portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa in a cuirass from the collection of the Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków, purchased in 2013 in Italy.
In the royal Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, there is a painting entitled Education of Cupid (inventory number Wil.1548), which most probably comes from the old collection of the palace. This painting is a copy of Titian's Venus blindfolding Cupid in National Gallery of Art in Washington (before the painting was cut), which is a portrait of Queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) as Venus Verticordia (Turner of Hearts). It is however not an exact copy, the painter only borrowed the composition, but the woman depicted as Venus is different. She bears great resemblance to effigies of Ladislaus IV's sister Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651). The style of this painting is very similar to the the aforementioned painting of the Death of Saint Joseph by Giacinto Campana. Very similar composition, painted in the same style, is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Like in Warsaw version the woman has her breast uncovered, but her face is also different from both mentioned paintings, the original by Titian and the copy in the Wilanów Palace. Her image with an elongated hooked nose and large lips is very similar to the portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria in Vienna (inventory number 8291) and etched effigies of the queen. This painting, depicting Cecilia Renata as Venus Verticordia, created in Warsaw, was therefore sent to the queen's relatives in Vienna. What is interesting Fortuna Virilis (or her assistant), an aspect or manifestation of the goddess Fortuna, who had the power to conceal the physical imperfections of women from the eyes of men and associated with Venus Verticordia, has the features similar to the princess and the queen respectively.
Allegory with portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Venus Verticordia (Turner of Hearts) by Giacinto Campana, 1637-1642, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
Allegory with portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (1611-1644) as Venus Verticordia (Turner of Hearts) by Giacinto Campana, 1637-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa in a cuirass holding a baton by Giacinto Campana or workshop of Guido Reni, 1637-1646, Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków.
Portraits of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter Sara by Rembrandt and workshop
"Portrait of a Portuguese Rabbi, painted by Rembrandt, in black frame" (Portret Rabina Portugalskiego, malowania Rynbranta, w ramach czarnych, No.74.), valued at 150 thalers and "A picture of similar dimensions, a Jewish woman in a beret, by Rembrandt painter, in black frame" (Obraz takieyze wielkosci, Zydowki w Birlecie, Rynbranta Malarza, wramach czarnych, No.75.), valued at 190 thalers, in the King's Bedroom of the Wilanów Palace in 1696 is probably the oldest preserved description of paintings by Rembrandt, today in the collection of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and known as The Scholar at his Writing Table and The Girl in a Picture Frame.
General Inventory of the Wilanów Palace from November 10th, 1696 also lists other works by Rembrandt, like "A large painting of an old man by Rembrandt in gilded frame and rounded top" (Obraz Rynbranta Malarza, Na ktorym Starzec wymalowany, wielki, wramach złocistych, u wierzchu okrągły, No. 210.), valued at 80 thalers, in the Upper Treasury with paintings from the Lower Gallery and Library, "A painting with Three Kings by Rembrandt in black frame" (Obraz Trzech Krolow, Rynbranta malarza, w ramach czarnych, No. 92.), valued at 100 thalers (possibly Adoration of the Magi from 1632, today in The State Hermitage Museum) and "A painting with Abraham and Hagar by Rembrandt in black frame" (Obraz Abrahama Z Agar Rynbranta malarza w ramach czarnych, No. 93.), valued at 100 thalers (possibly Abraham dismissing Hagar and Ishmael from about 1640, today in Victoria and Albert Museum), in the King's Dutch Study. The inventory lists many other Dutch paintings, including most probably The Loveletter by Johannes Vermeer: "A painting of a lady in gold dress playing lute, a girl giving her a letter, in black frame" (Obraz Damy graiącey na Lutni, w złotey Szacie, a dziewczyna list iey oddaie w ramach czarnych, No. 156.), valued at 35 thalers, and a copy (?) of The Milkmaid also by Vermeer: "A painting with a Dutch dwelling with a female cook pouring milk, in gilded copper frame" (Obrazek na ktorym Domostwo Holenderskie, a kucharka mleko zlewa, wramach miedzią złoconych, No. 180.), valued at 20 thalers, in the Upper Treasury.
Paintings of "Portuguese Rabbi" and "a Jewish woman" were always together since. In 1720 Konstanty Sobieski, son of king John III Sobieski, sold the palace to Elżbieta Sieniawska, and after her death in 1729, her daughter, Maria Zofia, offered a lifetime lease on the palace to the successor of John III, King Augustus II the Strong (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony. Maria Zofia or her daughter Izabela Lubomirska, most probably sold the paintings, but ordered a copy of "a Jewish woman", which is still in the Wilanów Palace (Wil.1656). Before 1769 the paintings were transported to Berlin and were acquired by Friedrich Paul von Kameke (1711-1769), who was married to Marie Golovkin (1718-1757), a daughter of the Russian ambassador to Prussia. Georg Friedrich Schmidt created prints after the paintings entitled in French: "The bride's father paying her dowry" (Le Pere de la fiancée reglant sa dot) and "The Jewish Bride" (La Juive Fiancée). Under those titles the works returned to Poland acquired by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski in 1777 and inventory numbers of his collection 207 and 208 were painted in the upper left corners of both paintings, still visible today. Sold again after king's death, they were transported to Vienna and in 1994 Karolina Lanckorońska offered them to the Polish people.
Workshop copy of "The Jewish Bride" appears in the inventory of Danish royal Art Cabinet (Kunstkammer) of 1737, today in the National Gallery of Denmark (inventory number KMSsp406).
Despite not having a similar composition the paintings should be considered as pendants (usually paintings of married couples or relatives), as according to tradition they depict a father and his daughter. They also have similar dimesions (105.7 x 76.4 cm / 105.5 x 76 cm), both are painted on oak wood panels, they have similar baroque black frames, most probably original or re-created after original, exaclty as in the inventory description of the Wilanów Palace. They were finally painted the same year and signed by the author (Rembrandt f. 1641 on both).
At the end of 1631, Rembrandt moved from Leiden to Amsterdam. He initially stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, who from 1628 may have been an intermediary for the sale of Rembrandt's works on the Amsterdam market. From 1631 to 1635, Rembrandt became chief painter of Uylenburgh's studio and produced a considerable number of portraits for wealthy and important Amsterdammers, such as the importer of fur Nicolaes Ruts. In 1634, he married Hendrick's relative, Saskia.
Uylenburgh, born in about 1587, came from a Mennonite family, originally from Friesland, who emigrated to Poland and settled in Kraków, where Hendrick's father worked as a royal cabinet maker. His brother Rombout became a court painter. Hendrick was also trained as a painter, however he was primarly active as an art agent to King Sigismund III Vasa. He probably never practiced the profession of painter, at least no works have survived. Around 1612 he moved to Gdańsk. Hendrick arranged large art transports to Poland on behalf of the king, including paintings from the Netherlands and luxury goods, before starting his art dealership and studio in Amsterdam in about 1625. In December 1637 Hendrick commissioned Rembrandt to portray the Polish diplomat Andrzej Rej, who was on a secret mission to the English court for King Ladislaus IV and, while passing through Amsterdam. Van Uylenburgh received 50 guilders as a commission (after "Saskia, de vrouw van Rembrandt" by Ben Broos, p. 80).
Around 1624 Hendrick married Maria van Eyck (d. 1638). The couple had three sons, including Gerrit (born in about 1625), who took over his father's business, and at least four daughters, Sara, Anna, Susanna and Lyntgen, at least one of whom was a well-known draftswoman. Sara Hendricksdr (d. 1696) must have been the oldest as she is mentioned first in the testament of her parents from 1634 and a deed of February 3, 1668 regarding inheritance of her brother Abraham. She was born in about 1626 or 1627, hence she was 14/15 years old in 1641. Her biblical name of the wife of Abraham, match perfectly the old title of the Warsaw painting "a Jewish woman" or "The Jewish Bride". The young girl surrounded by artists, was probably also introduced to painting by her father. Possibly playing in her father's studio she might have come up with an idea to be depicted in a picture frame, in the trompe l'oeil (trick the eye) style. Her father Hendrick who was about 54 years old in 1641 was therefore depicted as a scholar at his writing table, very similar to the etching by Rembrandt representing Cornelis Claesz Anslo, Mennonite Preacher from Amsterdam, created in 1641 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), in the same year as the Warsaw paintings, or effigy of Menno Simons (1496-1561), preacher and theologian, whose followers formed the Mennonite church, by Jacob Burghart, published in 1683 (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen). "Uylenburgh came from a family of Mennonites (a conservative branch of the Anabaptists), who emphasized study and personal interpretation of scripture and individual responsibility for one's own salvation" (after "Rembrandt/not Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art" by Hubertus von Sonnenburg, p. 15). This explain why he was represented as a scholar.
A significant Mennonite community was established in the mid-16th century in the Vistula river delta in Poland and near Warsaw, by 1624, in previously uninhabited areas, giving rise to the so-called Olęder colonization. On December 22, 1642 King Ladislaus IV issued the first privilege for Mennonites. It is highly possible that already in 1641 the king received a portrait of his artistic agent and his daughter, who could also find a suitable husband among Polish Mennonites.
The same old man in rich costume was also depicted in a series of paintings by Rembrandt and his workshop, sitting and holding a stick. One dated '1645' from the collection of Pierre Crozat in Paris is in Lisbon (Calouste Gulbenkian Museum), other, which was in the ducal collection in Munich is today in Amsterdam (Museum het Rembrandthuis) and another in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A version from the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein is attributed to Salomon Koninck (1609-1656), a member of van Uylenburgh's academy.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) in a picture frame by Rembrandt, 1641, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) in a picture frame by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1641, National Gallery of Denmark.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) by unknown painter after Rembrandt, mid-18th century, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) at his writing table by Rembrandt, 1641, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by Rembrandt, 1645, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1645, Museum het Rembrandthuis.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1645, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by Salomon Koninck, ca. 1645, Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.
Portraits of Hieronim Radziejowski and his two wives by Ferdinand Bol, Rembrandt and followers
"Named Radziejowski, you will stay in the council, evil betrayals are your homeland counsels" (Radziejowskim nazwany zostajesz od rady, A Twe w ojczyźnie rady są złośliwe zdrady), portrayed Vice-Chancellor of the Crown Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667) in 1651 anonymous satirical poem.
In October 1632, thanks to his father's support, Stanisław Radziejowski (1575-1637), courtier of Queen Anna Jagiellon, Hieronim became a courtier of the newly elected King Ladislaus IV Vasa. He quickly gained significant influence, in 1634 became the starost of Sochaczew and in 1637 starost of Łomża and Carver of Queen's court. Around 1637, he married a wealthy widow Katarzyna Woyna née Męcińska (ca. 1608-1641), wife of Piotr Woyna (d. 1633), Steward of Lithuania and after her death, in June 1642, thanks to the support of the king, he married another wealthy widow Eufrozyna Eulalia Wiśniowiecka née Tarnowska (d. 1645). Eufrozyna was a heiress of a considerable fortune of her first husband Prince Jerzy Wiśniowiecki (Yuriy Vyshnevetsky), starost of Kamianka, and the legal custody of her and her property belonged to Prince Jeremi Wiśniowiecki (Yarema Vyshnevetsky), son of Raina Movila (ca. 1589-1619). By decision of the king Hieronim became her main heir. In May 1650 Radziejowski was married a third time to the richest widow in the country Elżbieta Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671), whose husband died just four months earlier.
Personal scandal always accompanied Radziejowski's political career. In 1640 he was elected a deputy to the Sejm, although there were demands for his removal from the chamber. At the first session of parliament, he was publicly accused by a nobleman of kidnapping his daughter from one of the monasteries in Warsaw and raping her (after "Hieronim Radziejowski: studium władzy i opozycji" by Adam Kersten, p. 60). Two years later, he married his second wife Eufrozyna in an atmosphere of scandal as the young widow had already agreed to another relationship, she was to marry Stanisław Denhoff. He allegedly paid a large bribe of 25,000 ducats to the royal couple, John II Casimir and Marie Louise Gonzaga, for receiving the office of Vice-Chancellor in 1650 and a year later, during a campaign against the Cossacks, when the king ordered his correspondence to be opened, a letter was found to the queen criticizing John Casimir and complaining that the king had a love affair with Radziejowski's wife, who accompanied him on the campaign. Hieronim's wife, who left the camp after the correspondence was revealed, filed for divorce. In 1652, on charges of insulting the royal name, he was sentenced to death, but fled to Vienna and then to Sweden. In 1655 he accompanied the Swedish forces invading the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Before the Second World War in the Dressing Room of the Royal Palace on the Isle in Warsaw there were two small paintings attributed to Rembrandt's pupil Ferdinand Bol or an 18th century imitator of Rembrandt Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich. Catalogues of the royal gallery described them as "A man in a half-figure with a mustache, dressed in brown, wearing a black headdress (Homme à mi corps avec des moustaches vêtu de brun et coëffé de noir, number 43) and "A woman in a half-figure in a brown dress, with a chain of precious stones and pearls in her hair, ears and on her head" (Femme à mi corps vetu de brun avec une chaîne enrichie des pierreries ayant des perles au col et aux oreilles, ainsi que sur la tête, number 54). The paintings had similar dimensions (30.3 x 25.3 cm / 35.5 x 24 cm) and similar composition, comparable to portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter Sara by Rembrandt (Royal Castle in Warsaw), both created in 1641. The portrait of a woman from the Palace on the Isle was signed and dated on the right: Bol. f. 1641. This signature was published in a 1931 catalogue of the collection ("Katalog galerji obrazów Pałacu w Łazienkach w Warszawie" by Stanisław Iskierski, p. 53). Other versions of these portraits with slight differences (in man's hat and woman's face), attributed to Rembrandt, were owned in 1763 by count Friedrich Paul von Kameke (1711-1769), a member of Pomeranian noble family, who also owned mentioned portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter. A German engraver, Georg Friedrich Schmidt, created etchings after these paintings signed in Latin and French (Rembrandt pinx./ G.F. Schmidt fecit aqua forti 1763. Du Cabinet de Monsieur le Comte de Kameke). Several years earlier, in 1735, Schmidt also created another etching after a painting attributed to Rembrandt (signed in Latin: Rembrandt Inv. e. pin: / Schmidt fec: 1735), portrait of a bearded man in eastern costume. His high fur hat and a coat lined with fur are very similar to those visible in a portrait of a man, most probably a Ruthenian Prince, by follower of Aert de Gelder, today in the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number M.Ob.151 MNW). The latter painting is signed and dated: AV.Gelder.f / 1639 and comes from the collection of Piotr Fiorentini (1791-1858) in Warsaw. Similar costumes are visible in the Surrender of Mikhail Shein at Smolensk in 1634 by Christian Melich (Kórnik Castle) with king Ladislaus IV and his dignitaries and in the portrait of a Polish nobleman by Rembrandt, signed and dated: Rembrandt.f / 1637 (National Gallery of Art in Washington), similar hats are in a portrait of King John II Casimir by Daniel Schultz (Royal Castle in Warsaw), portraits of the members of the Sapieha family from Kodeń (Wawel Royal Castle) and similar fur coats with gold chains are in the self-portrait by Rembrandt or workshop (The Wallace Collection), a portrait of a youth by Pieter de Grebber (Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna) and a portrait of a man in a fur hat and coat by Pieter de Grebber (Private collection).
In 1641, Radziejowski and other officials of the Masovian voivodeship become a member of a commission to consider border issues with the Duchy of Prussia. The same year, on October 7, 1641, the sixth and the last Prussian Homage took place in Warsaw. On July 13, the apostolic nuncio informed the Pope that the king had ordered balletti and a musical comedy to be prepared. Venison and fruit were brought from Kraków along the Vistula and excellent French, Italian and Rhine wines from Vienna. The recently finished Ujazdów Castle was prepared to host Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and his court (after "Ostatni hołd pruski" by Jacek Żukowski). The Elector had the opportunity to admire the great wealth of the Polish-Lithuanian court, a part of which he appropiated during the Deluge few years later (according to Wawrzyniec Jan Rudawski, he "took to Prussia as a spoil, the most valuable paintings and silverware of the royal table").
The cuff of man's attire from the lost painting from the Palace on the Isle is very similar to cuffs from the costumes of Polish nobles, visible, among others, in the Coronation of the Virgin Mary by Herman Han (Oliwa Cathedral in Gdańsk), created between 1624-1627, epitaph of Andrzej Czarnecki (d. 1649), burgrave of Kraków and royal courtier (Saints Peter and Paul Church in Kraków) or costumes of two boys in the Feast of Herod by Bartholomeus Strobel, created in the 1630s (Prado Museum in Madrid). Similar costume with a coat lined with fur, an embroidered shirt and a bejewelled hat is also visible in the Feast of Herod by Strobel, in the painting entitled Prophet Nathan rebukes King David by Strobel's workshop (Private collection) and in the scene of Esther before Ahasuerus from the copper-silver sarcophagus of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria, created before 1648 (Wawel Cathedral), undoubtedly inspired by the costumes at the court of Ladislaus IV. The costume of a woman from a pendant painting also resemble the garments from Strobel's paintings, including the Feast of Herod in the Prado and the attire of two women from Stoning of Saint Stephen, created by Strobel in 1618 for Stanisław Ostroróg (National Museum in Poznań). Her costume is also very similar to those visible in portrait of Jadwiga Rogalińska (National Museum in Poznań), painted in the 1640s, or in the portrait of Helena Opalińska née Zebrzydowska, created in the 1650s (Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Monastery). Some similar elements (chains, coat) are also visible in the etching with effigy of a lady in a fur hat, said to be Princess Owka Praxedis of Vitebsk (Vilnius University Library), created in 1758 after original from mid-17th century.
Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648), mistress of Ladislaus IV, was depicted in similar dress in her portrait by Rembrandt and workshop (Private collection), painted in 1643, identified by me, as well as a lady in a portrait attributed to follower of Rembrandt or possibly Jan Victors (Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, 29.100.103), signed and dated: Rembrandt f / 1643. In all three portraits by Rembrandt and followers the women are holding a fan, a symbol of chastity, carried by betrothed or married women in Venice and Padua. The portrait in the Metropolitan Museum has a pendant depicting a young man with a breastplate and plumed hat (MMA 29.100.102), he bears a striking resemblence to the man from the lost portrait from the Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, to the etching by Georg Friedrich Schmidt, the only preserved signed effigy of Hieronim Radziejowski, created in 1652 by Jeremias Falck Polonus (National Library of Poland) and to the pastel portrait of his son cardinal Michał Stefan Radziejowski by Jan Reisner (National Museum in Warsaw). In 1643 the first son of Radziejowski, Stanisław, was born. It would be a good opportunity to order images of his parents. The blond woman should be therefore identified as Radziejowski's second wife Eufrozyna Eulalia Tarnowska. Consequently the woman from the pendant portrait from the Palace on the Isle is his first wife Katarzyna Męcińska, who died in 1641.
Before 1861 both portraits from the Met in New York were in the collection of baron Florentin-Achille Seillière (1813-1873) in Paris, whose daughter Jeanne-Marguerite (1839-1905) married in 1858 Boson de Talleyrand-Périgord (1832-1910), prince of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland) from 1845. The Silesian Duchy of Żagań, was a frequent stop for Kings Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III of Poland, as one of two main routes connecting Warsaw and Dresden ran through the town in the 18th century. It cannot be excluded that one of them offered the paintings to the Dukes of Żagań.
Before 1667 Radziejowski purchased a series of tapestries with the story of Jacob, woven in the workshop of Jacob van Zeunen in Brussels in about 1650 (later acquired by Jan Małachowski and offered to the Wawel Cathedral), while his son Michał Stefan, who ordered the works of art in the workshop of Guillaume Jacob in Paris, employed at his court a Dutch-born architect and engineer Tylman Gamerski (who deisgned for him the Chapel of the Seminary in Łowicz and Nieborów Palce).
Portrait of Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667), Carver of Queen's court by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1641, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, lost.
Portrait of Katarzyna Radziejowska née Męcińska (ca. 1608-1641) holding a fan by Ferdinand Bol, 1641, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, lost.
Portrait of Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667), Carver of Queen's court by Georg Friedrich Schmidt after Rembrandt, 1763 after original from about 1641, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Katarzyna Radziejowska née Męcińska (ca. 1608-1641) holding a fan by Georg Friedrich Schmidt after Rembrandt, 1763 after original from about 1641, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667), Carver of Queen's court by follower of Rembrandt, ca. 1643, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Eufrozyna Eulalia Radziejowska née Tarnowska (d. 1645) holding a fan by follower of Rembrandt, 1643, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of a man in eastern costume, most probably a Polish-Lithuanian noble by Georg Friedrich Schmidt after Rembrandt, 1735 after original from the second quarter of the 17th century, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of a man in eastern costume, most probably a Ruthenian Prince by follower of Aert de Gelder, 1639, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Jadwiga Łuszkowska and Jan Wypyski by Rembrandt and workshop
Ladislaus IV Vasa met Jadwiga Łuszkowska when he was in Lviv in 1634 with his half-brothers, John Casimir and Alexander Charles Vasa. The king came to the city due to the uncertain Polish-Ottoman situation and the threat of war.
Jadwiga was born around 1616 in Lviv, as the daughter of a merchant Jan Łuszkowski (died 1627) and his wife Anna (died after 1635). She and her mother were then in serious financial problems, they inherited debts from the deceased Łuszkowski. The cloths that he and his partner bought on credit burned down in Jarosław and barges flowing down the Vistula to Gdańsk that belonged to him, sank. A few days after the king's arrival in Lviv, Anna Łuszkowska arranged for a visit to him, taking her beautiful daughter with her. She must have made a great impression on the king, as shortly after the meeting, the beautiful Jadwiga left the house in which she had lived so far and moved to the royal apartments and her mother Anna began to bring large sums of money to the town hall, paying off the creditors, and soon she bought the entire house, only part of which had belonged to her so far. Anna also received, among others, the right to fell wood for fuel in the royal forests and exemption from municipal taxes. Lviv roared with gossip and envious people, like Rafał Jączyński described Jadwiga as: femina formosa sed vitiata (a beautiful, though spoiled woman). The Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, Albert Stanislaus Radziwill, wrote about her many years later as a woman famous for her shame and infamy.
Ladislaus took his mistress with him to Warsaw and gave her rooms on the second floor of the Royal Castle. A few years later, identical rooms, except that on the first floor, will be occupied by his wife Cecilia Renata of Austria.
In 1635, Jadwiga gave birth to the king's son, Władysław Konstanty (Ladislaus Constantine Vasa), and soon accompanied the monarch on his journey to Prussia and Gdańsk, being present during the signing of the Polish-Swedish truce in Sztumska Wieś. The French envoy Charles Ogier who saw her in Gdańsk wrote in his diary on February 1, 1636: "After breakfast, I was able to comfortably watch the departure of the king's mistress, whom I greatly wanted to see. She is very beautiful, and also full of great charm, with dark eyes and hair, and a very smooth and fresh complexion. But she does not have full freedom, because she is constantly guarded by men and women". Jadwiga's position offended the conservative Polish nobility, there was talk of debauchery at the Royal Castle, and Ladislaus was called publicus concubinariusi (public adulterer). Senators expressed open dissatisfaction, and even the Church was involved in the matter. The papal nuncio Honorato Visconti said that the beautiful Jadwiga ensnared the king with magic and Primate Jan Wężyk also suspected her of dark powers.
The king, however, continued to live with his favourite. The idyll was destroyed by the king's marriage to Archduchess Cecilia Renata in 1637. The new queen, placed in the first-floor chambers just below Jadwiga's chambers, put pressure on Ladislaus to get rid of his beautiful mistress from the court. He, nevertheless, did not want to lose her. She moves first to the royal Ujazdów Castle in Warsaw. When the furious queen learns about the still-ongoing romance orders Łuszkowska to be sent back to Lviv. Soon the Ujazdów Castle was to be decorated with large canvases glorifying the queen, described in Adam Jarzębski's "Short Description of Warsaw" from 1643, who knows, maybe created by Rembrandt. Economically, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was strongly associated with the Dutch Republic, but politically, due to the family ties of the Vasas and the Habsburgs, they were opponents, therefore, no Polish monarch could openly patronize an artist in the Dutch Republic.
In 1637 Jadwiga was married to Jan of Wypych Wypyski of Grabie coat of arms, one of king's courtiers, to whom the king gave the land of Merkine in the forests of Neman in Lithuania, his favorite hunting spot. This donation gave rise to a court joke in Latin that the king gave Wypyski not the Merkine land (merecensem) but the harlot's land (meretricensem). Wypyski, who between 1626 and 1628 was a notary at the court, also become standard-bearer of Nur and Royal equerry in charge of the King's stables and he received land in Warsaw. The secretaries and notaries were educated people who knew foreign languages, so was also Wypyski. There is no information whether he had children, it is possible that he preferred men to women, therefore, marrying a king's favourite would not be a great sacrifice for him.
Even though that beautiful Jadwiga left the court and the capital with her husband, she was visited by the king whenever possible. He stayed there for several months. Ladislaus IV especially liked hunting and organized hawk and falcon hunts for white herons in order to obtain rajers (long feathers on the head of a heron), as an element of hat decoration. If the heron was not seriously injured, the bird was released. One time the king ordered a golden ring for the released heron to be worn around the the bird's neck with the date May 18, 1647. The same heron was caught with a falcon by king John III Sobieski in July 1677.
Łuszkowska was still alive on May 20, 1648, when King Ladislaus IV died in Merkine. A romantic legend says that the king died in the arms of his beloved Jadwiga. Wypyski died before December 18, 1647, and he was succeeded as starost of Merkine in 1651 by Krzysztof Buchowiecki, therefore the land was ruled by Jadwiga after Wypyski's death. Around 1650, fifteen-year-old Władysław Konstanty, Jadwiga's son, set off, following the custom of the then teenagers from wealthy families, on a journey across Europe. He never returned to Poland. In Europe, he was known under the name of Count de Wasenau.
The print by Jean Michel Moreau, created in 1763 (copy in the Slovak National Gallery, inventory number G 2402), is possibly the oldest and most accurate confirmation of ownership of the painting by Rembrandt, known as the Toilet of Bathsheba, today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Similar paintings are also mentioned in inventories of the collection of Willem Six in Amsterdam in 1734 (sale catalogue: "The History of Bathsheba, by Rembrandt van Rijn") and in the collection of Gerard Bicker van Zwieten in The Hague in 1741 (sale catalogue: "Bathsheba whose hair was cut and whose feet were washed, by two woman, very unusual [Rembrand van Ryn]"), however they could be tantamount to another painting attributed to Rembrandt or his studio with similar dimensions and composition, which is today in the Netherlands (Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht, RMCC s172). The latter painting, in Utrecht, is dated to about 1645 and is entitled "Bathsheba at her toilet spied by David" (Batseba bij haar toilet door David bespied, after "De schilderijen van Museum Catharijneconvent", 2002, p. 249).
The painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to Moreau's print, was in 1763 in the Gallery of count Bruhl, Prime Minister of His Majesty King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (D'après le Tableau de Rembrandt, qui est dans la Gallerie de S.E.M.gr Le Comte de Bruhl, Premier Ministre de S. M. Le Roi de Pologne, Electr. de Saxe). During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), when Prussian army invaded Saxony, he lived mainly in Poland, where in Warsaw he had three palaces - one near the election field at Wola, built in about 1750, one in Młociny, built between 1752-1758, and the largest, former Sandomierski Palace, in the center. Sandomierski Palace was constructed between 1639-42 by Lorenzo de Sent for Crown Grand Chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński, a friend of Ladislaus IV. It cannot be excluded that Bruhl acquired the painting in Poland.
King David is almost invisible standing on the high terrace to the left. The ruins of the amphitheater and the obelisk closely resemble the structures shown in the portrait of Royal jeweller Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio by Paris Bordone (Wawel Royal Castle). In the center of the compostion, among the dense forest, sits Bathsheba, naked, while her servants are brushing her "Venetian blond" hair and cutting her nails, exactly as in the painting representing Zuzanna Orłowska, mistress of King Sigismund II Augustus, as Bathing Susanna by Jacopo Tintoretto (Louvre Museum). A partridge at the feet of Susanna, a symbol of sexual desire, is in Rembrandt's painting replaced with a peacock, the symbol of immortality (after "Signs & Symbols in Christian Art" by George Ferguson, p. 23). Since the bird sits on the nest with its partner, it is a symbol of eternal love and partnership. The old woman with glasses cutting Bathsheba's nails is very similar to the one depicted in a drawing by Rembrandt from the collection of Prince Henryk Lubomirski (1777-1850) in Lviv, today in the Ossolineum (Lubomirski Museum) in Wrocław. It is most probably the mother of woman depicted as Bathsheba. Interestingly, the same collection also includes another drawing by Rembrandt, showing a woman holding a child and dated to around 1635, when Jadwiga gave birth to a son. So were these drawings preparatory works to the images of the royal mistress, her newborn son and her mother sent to Poland for approval?
According to the Bible, king David, whilst walking on the palace roof, accidentally espies the beautiful Bathsheba, the wife of a loyal soldier in his army, bathing. He desired her and made her pregnant. The painting is an allusion, exacly as effigy of Katarzyna Telniczanka, mistress of king Sigismund I, as Bathsheba by Lucas Cranach the Elder (Gemäldegalerie in Berlin) and has similar composition. Łuszkowska, who lived in royal residencies, knew perfectly well the paintings from the royal collection, which were often made in series for various relatives. The painting from the Bruhl collection was signed and dated by the artist: Rembrandt. ft/1643.
The woman, though with her hair not bleached, was also depicted in a portrait painting by Rembrandt, also created in 1643 (Rembrandt f. 1643), which is today in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The work most likely entered the collection of Frederick III of Prussia in the Potsdam City Palace between 1689 and 1698. The palace in Potsdam was constructed on the site of an earlier edifice from 1662 to 1669 built for Frederick's father Frederick William (1620-1688), Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, who in 1656, during the Deluge, according to Wawrzyniec Jan Rudawski, "took to Prussia as a spoil, the most valuable paintings and silverware of the royal table". The woman cannot be Rembrandt's wife as she died on 14 June 1642. She wears a hat, most probably a fur hat, adorned with jewels, very similar to kołpaczek from Polish traditional women's costume. Her pose is identical as in the painting from the Bruhl collection.
She was also represented in another painting by Rembrandt and his workshop, also created in 1643 (Rembrandt f / 1643), today in the private collection. Her hair are bleached, she is holding a fan and her outfit is similar to that in the Berlin painting. She wears a toque embroidered with gold, similar to Italian balzo visible in the portrait of Queen Bona Sforza by Titian, identified by me (private collection), a hat decoration (egreta) with a feather, a coat of expensive fabric lined with fur and jewels. The attire in both painting is very similar to the costume of Raina Movila (Regina Mohylanka) of Moldavia (ca. 1589-1619), Princess Vyshnevetska (portrait in the National Historical Museum of Ukraine), who died in Vyshnivets (about 150 km east of Lviv) or to the costumes of ladies in the painting "Finding of the Cross" by Tomasz Muszyński in Lublin (south-eastern Poland), created between 1654-1658.
While in 1642 Queen of Poland, Cecilia Renata of Austria, asked her brother to send her Dutch lace and a doll dressed in fashionable French attire and portraits of both the queen and her sister-in-law Anna Catherine Constance by Dutch painter Peter Danckers de Rij show the abundance of lace and French costumes, the woman from Rembrandt's paintings opted for eastern costume. The sitter in all three mentioned paintings bear a resemblance to the portrait of a boy, identifed as portrait of Władysław Konstanty, in the National Gallery in Prague (O 8675).
A companion piece to the portrait holding a fan is a portrait of a man with a hawk (The falconer), also in private collection and also signed and dated by the artist ([Re]mbrandt f 1643). This is the woman's husband. If Wypyski started his career at the court in 1626 at the age of around 20, then he was around 37 years old in 1643. The high-flying hawk is a symbol of royalty (and thus authority, sovereignty). The man's invites to hunt and pointing at the woman in the pendant portrait.
Old lady with glasses by Rembrandt, ca. 1635, Ossolineum in Wrocław.
Woman holding a child by Rembrandt, ca. 1635, Ossolineum in Wrocław.
Portrait of Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648) in a black hat by Rembrandt, 1643, Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
Portrait of Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648) as bathing Bathsheba by Rembrandt, 1643, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Jan Wypyski, starost of Merkine with a hawk by Rembrandt and workshop, 1643, Private collection.
Portrait of Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648) holding a fan by Rembrandt and workshop, 1643, Private collection.
Portraits of Marie Louise Gonzaga by Justus van Egmont and the Beaubrun workshop
One of the best, signed works by Flemish painter Justus van Egmont (born in Leiden in the Netherlands), is a full length portrait of Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667), Duchess of Nevers, created in Paris in 1645 (caption, signature, location and date verso: MARIAE PRINCIPI MANTUANAE, DUCISSAE NVERNENSI.&.Justus d'Egmont Pinxit a. 1645. Parisi), a year when Polish-Lithianian delegation arrived to Paris (September 19th) to sign a marriage contract of widowed king Ladislaus IV with Marie Louise. It is belived that she brought the portrait with her to Warsaw (today in the National Museum in Warsaw), however it is also possible that it was sent to Poland shortly before signing of the contract. Around that year also Jeremias Falck Polonus, an engraver from Gdańsk who moved to Paris in 1639, created an engraving with effigy of Marie Louise as Duchess of Nevers (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum), then he modified this print, changed the inscription, the ducal crown into a royal crown (corona clausa) and replaced the flowers and a fan in her hands with an orb and a sceptre and added the date '1645' (National Graphic Arts Collection in Munich). According to inscription at the bottom of this engraving the original (painting or drawing) was made by Justus van Egmont (Justus d'Egmont fecit Cum Privilegio ...). Pieter de Jode the Younger published around 1646 in Antwerp another version of this print (Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg).
Portrait of a noble lady in the Weissenstein Castle in Pommersfelden, Bavaria (oil on canvas, 75 x 60cm) shows a young woman in almost identical pose as in the mentioned engravings depicting Marie Louise Gonzaga. This painting is attributed to Jacob Adriaensz Backer, however its style is also very close to Justus van Egmont and the woman depicted resemble closely Marie Louise from mentioned prints and other portraits.
The same woman was also depicted in another painting by Justus van Egmont showing a lady as Diana the huntress, the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, nature, vegetation, childbirth and chastity, today in the Palace of Versailles (inventory number MNR 41). It was identified as effigy of Madame de Montespan (1640-1707), however the style of her coiffure indicate that it was created in the 1640s. This full-length portrait was acquired by Hermann Göring from Joseph Schmid, his close friend, on 12 January 1943 for his hunting estate in Carinhall, northeast of Berlin. Its previous history is unknown, therefore it cannot be excluded that the painting was confiscated in Poland or other countries forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After the war the canvas was transferred to France in 1950 from the Central Collecting Point in Munich. Similar effigy of goddess Diana from the same period is visible in a print showing triumphal arch Pyramides ante fores Regii Hospitii (National Library in Warsaw), third ephemeral decoration in Gdańsk to celebrate the ceremonial entry of Marie Louise Gonzaga into the city. In this triumphal gate the Polish Eagle is placed between two obelisks with figures of Apollo and Diana below royal monograms symbolising the brides - L4 for Ladislaus IV and ML for Marie Louise. This print was created in 1646 by Jeremias Falck Polonus after a drawing or a painting by a Gdańsk painter Adolf Boy. Both obelisks are entwined by a vine plant, a symbol of attachment.
Leaves of a vine plant, like in the Apollo obelisk, or more likely an oak, are visible in another painting by Justus van Egmont from the same period (sold at Christie's, 18 May 2022, lot 193). It comes from a private collection in France and according to handwritten inscription on the back of the canvas it was earlier attributed to Pierre Mignard and allegedly created in Paris in 1677. The woman depicted was identified as Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné, comtesse de Grignan (1646-1705), however, as in the case of the Versailles painting, her coiffure indicate that it was created in the 1640s. The woman resemble greatly Marie Louise from other portraits by van Egmont (identification suggested by Wladyslaw Maximowicz), she holds her right hand on the leaves, her left hand on her heart and her gaze is directed at the person (most probably a man) from a pendant portrait that probably has not preserved. The oak alludes to a mighty king, both Greeks and Romans associated the tree with their highest god, Zeus or Jupiter, king of the gods in ancient Roman religion and mythology.
A portrait in similar convention as the Warsaw painting by van Egmont represent the same woman sitting under the tree in a park at dusk and holding a small book (private collection). She wears a black dress, most probably a mourning dress after death of Louis XIII of France (died on 14 May 1643) or after death of Ladislaus IV Vasa (died on 20 May 1648), Marie Louise's first husband. The Queen of Poland was depicted in very similar dress in the print showing the ceremony passing the marriage contract at Fontainebleau, created by Abraham Bosse in 1645. A structure with obelisks in far background resemble triumphal arch in Elbląg to celebrate the ceremonial entry of Marie Louise on February 23, 1646 (State Archive in Gdańsk).
Obelisk, a phallic symbol that represented the Egyptian god of light and of the dead, the ruler of the underworld, the god of resurrection and fertility, Osiris, after having been transported to Rome develop into a most spectacular symbol of imperial power and military triumph.
Different symbolic plants are visible in engravings by Jeremias Falck Polonus, depicting the queen, like a lily, a sunflower, a carnation and a rose, among others. Marie Louise extended Warsaw's royal gardens and Simon Paulli wrote about it in his Viridaria varia regia, published in 1653, a catalogue of plants in the botanical gardens of Copenhagen, Paris and Warsaw. The Queen established two botanical gardens in Warsaw in 1650, one next to the Villa Regia (later Casimir Palace) and other - next to the Royal Castle. Catalogus Plantarum Tum exoticarum quam indigenatum quae Anno M.DC.LI in hortis Regiis Warsaviae ... by Martinus Bernhardus (Marcin Bernhardi), a botanist and court surgeon of King John II Casimir Vasa, published in Gdańsk in 1652, describes the plants in these gardens, a large part was imported from Hungary (after "Rys historyczno-statystyczny wzrostu i stanu miasta Warszawy ..." by Franciszek Maksymilian Sobieszczański, p. 475).
A portrait of a queen sitting in a chair with the royal crown on the table next to her, sold in Lisbon in 2015 (Veritas Art Auctioneers, 10 December 2015, lot 585), resemble greatly other effigies of Marie Louise Gonzaga. This painting was identified as a portrait of D. Luísa de Gusmão (Luisa de Guzmán, 1613-1666), Queen of Portugal or her daughter Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705), Queen of England, however, no similarity to their depictions can be found. The copperplate engraving by Willem Hondius in the National Museum in Kraków (inventory number MNK III-ryc.-37107), a study to Triumphal Arch Porta tempore regiarum nuptiarum in Gdańsk to celebrate the ceremonial entry of Marie Louise in 1646, shows the queen sitting in a similar chair, as well as gold marriage medal created that year in Gdańsk by Johann Höhn (private collection). Stylistically the portrait in Lisbon is very close to the effigy of Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Queen of France, a cousin of Ladislaus IV and John II Casimir, in the Visitandines Monastery in Warsaw. This portrait was most probably brought to Poland by Marie Louise or sent to Warsaw by the Queen of France to her cousins and resemble greatly other portraits of Anne by workshop of Henri and his cousin Charles Beaubrun. It is highly possible that the Lisbon portrait was commissioned around 1650 in the Beaubrun workshop in Paris as one of the series and sent to Portugal.
Portrait of Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) in oval by Justus van Egmont, ca. 1645, Weissenstein Castle in Pommersfelden.
Portrait of Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) sitting in a park at dusk by Justus van Egmont, 1643-1648, Private collection.
Portrait of Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) as Diana the huntress by Justus van Egmont, 1645-1650, Palace of Versailles.
Portrait of Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) holding a branch by Justus van Egmont, 1645-1650, Private collection.
Portrait of Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) with the royal crown by workshop of Henri and Charles Beaubrun, ca. 1650, Private collection.
Portraits of Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg, Duchess of Courland by Justus van Egmont
On October 9, 1645 in Königsberg, Calvinist Princess Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg (1617-1676) married Jakob Kettler (1610-1682), Duke of Courland, which was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a Lutheran.
The eldest daughter of George William, Elector of Brandenburg and Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate was a descendant of Casimir IV Jagiellon (1427-1492), King of Poland both on paternal (through Magdalena of Saxony and Sophie of Legnica) and maternal side (through Albert of Prussia). She was a candidate to become the wife of Ladislaus IV, who however decided to marry French Princess Marie Louise Gonzaga - on September 26, 1645 in Paris Gerard Denhoff, Voivode of Pomerania, who represented the king of Poland, concluded a prenuptial agreement with the French court.
Louise's family moved to Königsberg (Królewiec in Polish), the capital of Duchy of Prussia, fief of Poland, in 1638. After the marriage, the couple moved to Kuldiga and then to Jelgava in the Duchy of Courland. Louise Charlotte helped Duke Jacob in governance, both by lending money and maintaining correspondence with many political figures, like King John II Casimir Vasa, Queen Christina of Sweden or Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, among others. She had a significant influence on the politics of Courland, whose capital Jelgava became the center of negotiations between Poland, Russia, Brandenburg and Sweden during the Deluge (1655-1660). Louise Charlotte's husband Duke Jakob was educated in Rostock and Leipzig and travelled frequently to Szczecin to visit his friend Bogislaw XIV (1580-1637), Duke of Pomerania. He also visited his relatives in Cieszyn. Around 1629, Kettler traveled to Birzai in Lithuania, which belonged to the Radziwill family, in order to find a bride. In 1634, he made a grand tour of Europe and after spending several months in the Netherlands, in June 1635 he arrived in Paris. Jacob stayed in France for more than a year, then went to Italy, but it is possible that he also visited England or Spain during this time. He returned to Courland in the spring of 1637.
Under Kettler's rule, the duchy traded with France, Venice and Denmark (trade agreements were concluded in 1643), Portugal (1648), the Netherlands (1653), England (1654), Spain (1656) and many other countries, including Ottoman Empire. In 1642 he sent a few hundred colonists from Zeeland under the leadership of Cornelius Caroon to establish a colony on Tobago. When this settlement was attacked and the survivors were evacuated, a new colony was established on Great Courland Bay in 1654.
On February 16, 1639 in Vilnius, Jacob received investiture from King Ladislaus IV and took the oath of allegiance to the king in a solemn ceremony at the Vilnius Castle. On April 20, 1646 Ladislaus IV confirms the marriage contract between the Duke of Courland and the daughter of the Elector of Brandenburg concerning the bride's dowry in jewels and lands of her dower.
In the Ecclesiastical Treasury in Vienna there is large amber altar (190 cm high, inventory number GS Kap 274) in the shape of a pointed pyramid, created in Königsberg or Gdańsk. It is dated to about 1645-1650 and according to Latin Inscription on the back (Lovysa Charlotta D.: G: Princ: Brandenb.: Livoniae Curlandiae et Semigaliae Ducissa) it belonged to Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg, Duchess of Courland. According to some theories, it could have been offered through Andrzej Chryzostom Załuski (1650-1711), Bisop of Warmia to the Emperor in about 1700 (after "Bernstein, das “Preußische Gold”" by Kerstin Hinrichs, p. 142), although it cannot be excluded that the Duchess presented it to the Emperor during the Deluge or earlier.
In the Imperial Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna there is a portrait of a lady with a dog by Justus van Egmont, which is identifed as effigy of Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Queen of France. The lady is sitting in a gilded armchair in a grey-green satin dress. Basing on costume and hairstyle of the woman this portrait should be dated to beginning of the 1650s, very similar to those visible in a portrait of Mary, Princess Royal (1631-1660) by Bartholomeus van der Helst in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, signed and dated upper left: Bartholomeus van der helst 1652 f. Behind a dark green drapery there is a view of a mountainous landscape, which resemble the view of a bay on Eylandt Tabago (Island of Tobago), copper print by Romeyn de Hooghe, published before 1690 (Royal Library of the Netherlands).
This painting comes from Archduke Leopold Wilhelm's collection (after "Die Denkmale der Stadt Wien (XI. - XXI. Bezirk)" by Hans Tietze, p. 166, item 192). The young woman bear no resemblance to effigies of Queen of France, who in 1650 was 49 years old, and her physiognomy was clearly inspired by images of Queen of Poland, Marie Louise Gonzaga - for example in the copperplate print by Willem Hondius in the National Museum in Kraków (inventory number MNK III-ryc.-37107).
The same woman was also depicted in another painting in the style of Justus van Egmont (auctioned at Proantic, reference: 798554, 18th century, Louis 15th style). Her face features resemble greatly Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg from her portrait in the Rundale Palace Museum and Louise Charlotte's sister Hedwig Sophie of Brandenburg (1623-1683), Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel from an engraving by Philipp Kilian, created in 1663 (Austrian National Library in Vienna).
Portrait of Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg (1617-1676), Duchess of Courland by Justus van Egmont, 1650-1654, Private collection.
Portrait of Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg (1617-1676), Duchess of Courland with a dog and a view of the Island of Tobago by Justus van Egmont, ca. 1654, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.
Portrait of Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac
In 1837 Louis Philippe (1773-1850), King of the French, founded a museum in the Palace of Versailles dedicated to "all the glories of France", today Museum of the History of France (Musée de l'Histoire de France). The museum displayed artefacts formerly in other national collections as well as works specifically commissioned for it.
Auguste de Creuse, a French portrait painter, was commissioned to create several copies of effigies of historically significant individuals. The originals were probably lost or damaged during past revolutions and disrepair of some of the royal palaces. He created a copy of a portrait of Louis Philippe when Duke of Chartres by Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust from the 1790s and a portrait of La Grande Mademoiselle (Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier) as a shepherdess by Gilbert de Sève from the 1660s (originals are considered lost), among others. On August 14, 1838 he was also paid 150 francs to create a portrait of Jean Bart or Jan Baert (1650-1702), a French/Flemish naval commander and privateer, inscribed Jean Bart / Chef D'escadre (inventory number MV 4307). De Creuse probaly copied a painting preserved in the French royal collection. The man wears a silk costume similar to Polish-Lithuanian żupan and overcoat lined with fur similar to kontusz, both buttoned up with large gold buttons set with precious stones in oriental style, similar to guzy from Polish national costume. The sitter bear no resemblance to the effigy of Jean Bart published by Pierre Blin in 1789, a print made by Antoine François Sergent-Marceau, whereas, he bear a striking resemblance to effigies of Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac (1621-1684).
Although in one portrait, by Mathieu Elias, Jean Bart was depicted in a fur hat which looks like Polish kołpak (National Navy Museum in Paris, inventory number OA 49), his costume is from western Europe. The costume in the Versailles portrait is almost identical to that visible in Krzysztof Zygmunt's effigy by Johann Franck, a print published in 1659 (Vilnius University Library).
Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac was educated in Kraków, Padua and Perugia, and then in Graz and Leiden and served in the French, Spanish and Dutch armies. In 1646 he become Grand Standard-bearer of Lithuania. He enjoyed the great trust of King John Casimir Vasa and his French wife Marie-Louise Gonzaga. He adhered to the French orientation and supported Queen Marie-Louise's plans to hold a vivente rege election (election of a king during the lifetime of predecessor). In 1654, he married the French noblewoman Claire Isabelle Eugenie de Mailly-Lespine (better known in Poland-Lithuania as Klara Izabella Pacowa), a descendant of Anne Lascaris, lady-in-waiting and confidante of Queen Marie Louise. A year later, in 1655, he received the office of Vice-Chancellor of Lithuania.
In 1662, in addition to 30,000 livres received from the French treasury in 1661, he got a salary of 15,000 francs from the French ambassador to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Antoine de Lumbres, for supporting the French candidate during the vivente rege election. This explains clearly the presence of his portrait in the French royal collection. Like the portrait holding the Grand Lithuanian Seal in the National Art Museum in Kaunas from about 1670, the original was most probably created by royal court painter Daniel Schultz. The sitter, however, is much younger in the Versailles portrait than in the Kaunas version, thus the painting should be dated to the early 1650s, when Schultz began his career at the court after return from France and the Netherlands.
Portrait of Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac (1621-1684) by Auguste de Creuse, 1838-1840, after original from the early 1650s by Daniel Schultz (?), Palace of Versailles.
Portraits of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi, Princess Radziwill by Rembrandt and workshop of Andreas Stech
"REMBRANDT VAN RYN. 319. A person holding a dagger in her right hand and a cord with a knob in her left hand, as if she wanted to ring. Painted on canvas. Height: elbow: 1, inch 19, width: elbow: 1, inch 12." (REMBRANDT VAN RYN. 319. Osoba trzymająca w prawej ręce sztylet, a w lewej sznur z kutasem, jakoby dzwonic chciała. Mal. na płótnie. Wys: łok: 1, cali 19, szer. łok: 1, cali 12.), it is the most accurate and the oldest known description of a painting by Rembrandt entitled "Lucretia" and created in 1666 (signed and dated: Rembrandt / f. 1666), today in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It was published in 1835 in the "Catalogue of picture gallery of famous masters from various schools collected by the late Michał Hieronim, Prince Radziwill, voivode of Vilnius now exhibited in Królikarnia near Warsaw", created by painter Antoni Blank. Radziwill assembled his collection of paintings in his palace in Nieborów near Łódź. The collection included such works of art like the Annunciation by Hans Memling, today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paintings by Venetian masters, like Titian and Tintoretto, and several other works by Rembrandt, like "Entombment of Christ" (item 26), "Portrait of an old man, in a purple cap and in a black dress, holding a rolled paper in his hand" (item 193), "Annunciation (to the Shepherds)" (item 242) and "A woman, undressed, sitting in a room, soaking her feet in a bathtub" (item 291).
Interestingly, the direct ancestor of Michał Hieronim, who lived in 1666, was also called Lucretia, and it was not a commonly used name in Poland at the time: Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694) or Lukrecja Radziwiłłowa in Polish.
Lucrezia Maria came to Poland as court lady to Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria in 1637, when she was about 16 years old. Her father was Pompeo Strozzi, who connected his career with the powerful Mantuan Gonzaga family, and mother Eleonora Guerrieri. She was probably born in Florence.
On November 23, 1642 in Warsaw in the church of St. John the Baptist, Lucrezia Maria married Prince Alexander Louis Radziwill (1594-1654), whom she met already in 1637, as he was among the Polish dignitaries who welcomed the queen in Poland. They married only five months after Alexander Louis's marriage to Katarzyna Eugenia Tyszkiewiczówna was annulled (July 4, 1642). Radziwill was older than his third wife by about 27 years, he was 48 years old, which at that time was already considered a very advanced age. Their first child Cecilia Maria, named after the queen, was born soon after the marriage. At the beginning of December 1652 they set off on a journey to Italy, where Alexander Louis's son from the first marriage, Michael Casimir, began his studies at the University of Bologna in May 1653. In the first days of September 1653, after a difficult pregnancy, Lucrezia Maria gave birth to a son, Dominic Nicolaus, but her husband died soon after in Bologna on March 23, 1654.
Alexander Louis's death caused a great troubles for Lucrezia Maria as his eldest son was very hostile towards her and he raised objections to the bequests in his father's will in favor of her. In the years 1655-57, during the Deluge (1655-1660), she stayed with her son Dominic Nicolaus in Italy. At the end of 1658 or at the beginning of 1659, she married Jan Karol Kopeć, voivode of Polotsk. The marriage was a real salvation for Lucrezia Maria, because since then, Kopeć became a party to the dispute with Michael Casimir, defending the interests of his wife and her underage children. In 1662, she married her first-born daughter Cecilia Maria to Mikołaj Hieronim Sieniawski (1645-1683), future field hetman of the crown. In gratitude for improving her son's health, Lucrezia Maria founded a Dominican monastery in Pińsk in 1666 (after "Lukrecja Maria de Strozzi (ok. 1621-1694), księżna Radziwiłłowa" by Jerzy Flisiński).
For many more years, Lucrezia directed her son's actions in private and public life. As a court lady of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga, she probably did not support a rebellion against King John II Casimir Vasa, initiated by Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, who in 1664 was accused of treason, so-called Lubomirski's rokosz (1665-1666), and she could express it through paintings. Lucretia, the epitome of female virtue and beauty, whose suicide ignited the political revolution, can be considered a perfect allegory.
The country was devastated by several wars, such as the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648-1657) and the Deluge. Gdańsk, the country's main seaport, dominated by German-speakers, which, together with Lviv, was one of only two major cities of the Commonwealth not seized by any of Poland's enemies, strengthen its position as the artistic center of the country. Painters from Gdańsk, Daniel Schultz, court painter of king John II Casimir, and Andreas Stech worked for many Polish-Lithuanian magnates. In about 1654 Schultz created a beatiful portrait of Prince Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655) in silk żupan and in about 1670 Stech or his workshop created an effigy of Prince Aleksander Janusz Zasławski-Ostrogski (1650-1682) dressed in fashionable French costume (both in the National Art Museum of Belarus in Minsk).
Portraits of two women from the Kwitajny Palace, today in the Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn, identified as members of the Radziwill family are painted in very similar style. Both women were depicted in Spanish guardainfante court dress (cartwheel farthingale or hoop skirt) from the 1660s. Radziwills as the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire had some contacts with the Imperial court of Empress Eleonora Gonzaga (1630-1686) and Empress Margaret Theresa of Spain in Vienna, who re-introducted the Spanish fashion there after her marriage to Emperor Leopold I in April 1666. Each of Lucrezia Maria's journey to Italy also had a stop in Vienna. Spanish fashion was also very popular in Italy at that time. King John II Casimir Vasa, as a cousin of Philip IV of Spain and his second wife Queen Mariana of Austria (1634-1696), undoubtedly owned several works by Spanish court painter Diego Velázquez and his workshop, sent to Warsaw by his relatives, including most probably a copy of Queen Mariana's famous portrait, today in the Prado Museum in Madrid (P001191). The older woman, whose portrait is very in the style of Andreas Stech, is sometimes identifed as Katarzyna Potocka (d. 1642), first wife of Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655), however date of her death and lack of resemblance to her known effigy in Minsk, exclude this possibility. Her dress is very similar to portrait of Maria Virginia Borghese (1642-1718), Princess Chigi in Palazzo Chigi of Ariccia, near Rome, painted by Giovanni Maria Morandi in 1659. This woman bears a striking resemblance to effigy of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi by Hirsz Leybowicz, created between 1747-1758, after a likness dating from about 1642.
The portrait of a younger lady, due to composition, can be considered a pendant, however its style is different and more close to Daniel Schultz, who from about 1660 was active primarily in Gdańsk, but still worked for the royal court in Warsaw. Her dress is similar to portrait of a lady in a Spanish dress, possibly depicting Krystyna Lubomirska (1647-1669), daughter of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, created in about 1667, in mourning after her father's death (from the Potocki collection, today in the National Museum in Warsaw, M.Ob.758). The face of a young woman resemble greatly the effigy of Aleksander Hilary Połubiński (1627-1679) in the Warsaw University Library (inventory number Inw.zb.d. 15609), who became the Grand Marshal of Lithuania in 1669, therefore created around that year. The mentioned effigy of Połubiński is a drawing (ink and watercolor on paper) and it is probably a preparatory drawing for an etching or a portrait painting, perhaps commissioned in Gdańsk or even abroad. The woman is therefore Połubiński's daughter Anna Marianna (1658-1690), who on October 9, 1672 at the age of 14 years old married Dominic Nicolaus Radziwill, son of Lucrezia Maria (after "Archiwalia związane z kniaziami Trubeckimi ..." by Andrzej Buczyło). Her portrait could be therefore commissioned in Gdańsk together with effigy of her father and offered to the Radziwills.
The woman from mentioned painting of Lucretia by Rembrandt in the Minneapolis Institute of Art bear a great resemblance to the effigy of older woman from Kwitajny. Her guardainfante is also very similar and whole costume is almost identical to portrait of a member of the Tyszkiewicz family created in about 1793, after original from the 1660s (National Museum in Warsaw, inventory number MP 4308) or to the portrait of Empress Margaret Theresa of Spain by workshop of Frans Luycx, created in about 1666 (private collection in Sweden).
The same woman was also depicted as another "Lucretia" by Rembrandt, today in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, which before 1825 was in Paris. This painting is signed and dated left center: Rembrandt / 1664. Her dress and necklace are very similar to those visible in a portrait of Anna Tworkowska nee Radziwill from the 1660s (Royal Castle in Warsaw, inventory number ZKW 544) or in the portrait of Empress Eleonora Gonzaga by Frans Luycx from the 1650s in the Gripsholm Castle in Sweden, taken from Poland during the Deluge.
Portrait of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694), Princess Radziwill as Lucretia by Rembrandt, 1664, National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Portrait of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694), Princess Radziwill as Lucretia by Rembrandt, 1666, Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Portrait of a lady in a Spanish dress holding a fan, possibly Krystyna Lubomirska (1647-1669) by Flemish painter (?), ca. 1667, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Anna Marianna Połubińska (1658-1690) in a Spanish dress by Daniel Schultz, ca. 1670, Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn.
Portrait of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694), Princess Radziwill in a Spanish dress by workshop of Andreas Stech, ca. 1670, Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn.
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