The inventories of the royal collections of the Jagiellons and the Vasas of Poland-Lithuania have not been preserved in their entirety, but information preserved in the townspeople's wills, as well as in the inventories of their property, and the patronage of their successors gives an impression of quality of their collections, when the country was one of the leading countries of Europe during the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque. Poland-Lithuania was also one of the richest on the continent. Even the lower strata of the Commonwealth's nobility owned the finest items produced in the best local and foreign workshops - such as the silver lavabo with the Rogala coat of arms of Jan Loka, starost of Borzechowo, created in Augsburg by Balthasar Grill, hidden in the ground during the Deluge (1655-1660).
Patricians of the royal city of Kraków, many of whom were of Italian descent as their names suggest, owned many paintings, sometimes by excellent foreign masters, as evidenced by the extract from the will of Jan Paviola (Joannes Benedictus Savioly, d. 1653), councilor of Kraków. The list and estimate of paintings, appraised by the elders of the painters guild Marcin Klossowski and Marcin Blechowski, painters from Kraków, include many portraits and paintings which could be from Italian, Venetian, Flemish, Dutch and German schools, but the author and the origin was not indicated. The word landscape - lanczaft in Old Polish, was used in a very similar form to Landschaft in German and landschap in Netherlandish, which could indicate that these paintings were Dutch/Flemish or German. "Picture of late King Ladislaus IV; Queen Her Highness Louise Marie; Image of the imperial son; his sister; the late Lord of Kraków Koniecpolski; [Picture] in which a crowned woman gives a mug to a soldier; Four pictures, representing the four parts of the world with people; four, depicting day and night, one damaged; three representing a part of the world; Landscape with fishing; Image of Bethsheba: bathing; [Picture] depicting the destruction of the city, with the army below fighting; Four pictures of Joseph's story, very demaged, among them one is whole; Landscape with highwaymen; Judith's painting, broken; female cook with venison; 12 images of Roman Emperors; two on which fish are painted, without frames; Image of King Ladislaus IV in elk skin; Judicium Parisis [Judgement of Paris] with three goddesses; Four images representing the parts of the year with maidens; Portrait of His Majesty King Ladislaus IV in a red coat; Queen Her Highness Cecilia [Renata]; King His Highness Sigismund III; Frederick Henry, Prince of Auraniae [Orange]; King Christian of Denmark; Duke of Saxony; Emperor His Highness Ferdinand III; His wife the empress; Leopold; the old empress; An image of a man with a mug and a scull; cavaliers playing cards with a lady; Orpheus with animals; Landscape with people eating in summer; robbers, on copper, in frame; on copper, without figures, with a column or pillar; Painting on copper, three Kings [Adoration of the Magi]; washing the feet of the apostles; Picture of a garden, on copper; Judith, on copper; Esther, on copper; on copper, Melchisedech offering bread and wine to Daniel; Saint Peter leaving the prison with the angel; the Samaritan on copper; Saint Francis; Five pictures with sea foam on gumi, made with paints on parchment; Picture on panel, a scull". This long and rich list of paintings was made on February 15, 1655. A few months later, in July 1655, two Swedish armies entered Greater Poland, one of the wealthiest and most developed provinces of the Commonwealth, which for centuries had been unaffected by any military conflict. They were soon followed by other countries and the invaders were not as sensitive to art as the patricians of the Commonwealth, precious materials, copper, silver and especially gold were the most important. Paul Würtz (1612-1676), governor of Kraków during Swedish-Transilvanian occupation of the city between 1655-1657 ordered wrought iron bars, marbles, precious wainscoting and floors to be ripped out, and silver sarcophagus of Saint Stanislaus, created in Augsburg in 1630 (founded by Sigismund III), silver altar of Saint Stanislaus, created in Nuremberg in 1512 (founded by Sigismund I), as well as statues and candlesticks from the Wawel Cathedral to be melted (after "Elity polityczne Rzeczypospolitej ..." by Marceli Kosman, p. 323). The true origin of looted items was often concealed or erased like coat of arms on the marble lions in front of Drottningholm Palace near Stockholm.
"The day before yesterday, news came to us that they had sacked all the churches of Kraków, and that only one chalice had been saved from which some monks were saying mass in secret", reported in a letter of December 4, 1655 from Głogów Pierre des Noyers, secretary of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga (after "Lettres de Pierre Des Noyers secrétaire de la reine de Pologne ...", published in 1859, p. 22).
The situation was similar in other cities of the Commonwealth, particularly in Vilnius and Warsaw, where during the second occupation the royal residences were subjected to systematic looting by Swedish and Brandenburgian forces. "The Warsaw townspeople had to help in transporting the looted items to the Vistula bank, under pain of confiscation of their own goods. [...] On August 11, the commandant of the capital, General von Bülow [Barthold Hartwig von Bülow (1611-1667)], received an order to transport all valuables and works of art from the Castle. At that time, over 200 paintings were taken away, including plafonds from five castle rooms, royal silverware, furniture and 33 tapestries. The Swedes had already committed truly barbaric acts, scraping gold from the gilded paneling and ceilings, "of which they made at most three or four ducats, and the damage they caused exceeded 30,000 francs" [according to mentioned letter by des Noyers]. Everything of any value was transported by water towards Toruń and Königsberg, e.g. jasper columns from the royal garden" (after "Warszawa 1656" by Mirosław Nagielski, p. 262). "They generally killed everyone in Vilna [Vilnius], both men and women, except young people and children, whom they sent to Muscovy, and put Muscovites to live there. [...] In Vilna, the Muscovites have ruined the beautiful and sumptuous chapel of Saint Casimir, which cost more than three millions; and in the big church they put their horses; it serves them as a stable", adds des Noyers in letters of November 8 and December 28, 1655 (after "Lettres ...", p. 10, 40).
The next significant inventory of paintings of a councilor of Kraków, Gerhard Priami, made on July 21, 1671, so few years after the destructive Deluge (1655-1660), is not that impressive: "Portraits of King Sigismund III with the Queen [...]; Image of flagellation [of Christ] [...]; Solomon, upwards [...]; St. Joseph on panel, old-fashioned [...]; Four landscapes [...]; Landscape with a fair [...]; Image of Lot [and his daughters] [...]; Two landscapes at elbow height; Picture of Judith [...]; Three pictures of the story of Tobias; Image of the Blessed Virgin in roses; Saint John the Baptist; Jesus falling [under the cross]; Image of the Blessed Virgin majoris; Two portraits of His Lordship Ossoliński, the second of His Lordship Lubomirski; coats of arms, imperial and royal; Two courtesans, one bigger the other smaller; Portrait of the late Priami, which stays with Mr. Jerzy Priami".
According to testament of Jan Pernus, councilor of Kraków, from 1672 he had a large painting of Præsentationis (Presentation), allegedly by Rubens. He collaborated with the Swedes during the invasion in the years 1655-1657 and took part in the shameful looting of the royal palace in Łobzów and the Wawel Cathedral by the occupants. Pernus looted valuable marbles from the Łobzów palace, and it is possible that he took the paintings decorating the royal residence (after "Galeria rajcy Pernusa" by Michał Rożek). "Two paintings of Roman work on copper, which are in my room, one of the Nativity of Christ, the other of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary of equal size; I want my nephew (Franciszek Pernus, heir) to offer them to His Majesty the King, the merciful Lord, from me, the lowest subject [...] To Mr. Reyneker, councilor of Kraków, my son-in-law, [...] I mark him a picture of Saint John Cantius, painted on a metal plate, from the worthy Master Strobel [Bartholomeus Strobel], asking him to accept this tiny gift as a sign of my love and as a souvenir. [...] Living in great friendship with Priest Adam Sarnowski, Canon of Warsaw and Łowicz, private scribe of His Highness, as a souvenir, I give him a painting of the Virgin Mary, of a prominent Roman craftsman. This picture is in the room in the garden, with Saint Joseph and Saint John, plus four paintings on canvas, with flowers on them, about three quarters of a cubit large, with golden frames". Four paintings with flowers of Roman work he donated to the Bielany Monastery and portraits of himself and his wife to the Pernus Chapel at the St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków (after "Skarbniczka naszej archeologji ..." by Ambroży Grabowski, pp. 61-68).
Mentioned Adam Sarnowski made provisions for his possessions and paintings in his will signed in Frombork on April 15, 1693, four months before his death. One painting he left to Queen Marie Casimire Sobieska (de La Grange d'Arquien): "To the Queen Her Majesty, My Lady, the original of Three Kings [Adoration of the Magi] by Rembrandt, in black frames, which is upstairs in the hall, and another beautiful that Mr. Locci will choose" (after "Testament Adama Sarnowskiego ..." by Irena Makarczyk, p. 167).
Jadwiga Martini Kacki, later Popiołkowa, in her will of 1696 says: "To Fathers Carmelites na Piasku, please give two paintings painted in Greek style on canvas, and the third one by Salwator". The 1696 property list of Kazimierz Bonifacy Kantelli (Bonifacius Casimirus Cantelli) from Carpineti in Campania, apothecary and royal secretary, who came to Kraków from Krosno, and obtained the city rights in 1625, includes a large number of paintings, mostly religious; but there are also portraits of notable people, such as king John III Sobieski, Ladislaus IV Vasa, Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga, Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria, King John Casimir, King Michael Korybut, Chancellor Ossoliński and many others.
Occasionally there are also other objects of art in inventories, like "Amber effigy of King Sigismund III", mentioned in the will of Wolfowicowa, wife of the Kraków councilor in 1679. In 1647 a widow Anna Zajdlicowa née Pernus, in her last will stated: "To Mr Filip Huttini, secretary and decree scribe of the King His Majesty, Kraków councilor, I give and bequest my golden leather upholstery [cordovan], with pictures of Polish kings". There were also many paintings with mythological themes. In the register of property of councilor Kasper Gutteter (1616) there were paintings depicting Venus, Hercules and the mythical Labyrinth. The image of Mercury with Venus was in the house of Wojciech Borowski (1652). Rozalia Sorgierowa (1663) had a painting of Andromeda and the list of movables of Oktawian Bestici from 1665 contained: "Satyr on canvas", "Venus lying naked" and "Three Dianas". In the collection of Andrzej Kortyn (Andrea Cortini) there were six mythological paintings, including Venus and Cupid (after "Mecenat artystyczny mieszczaństwa krakowskiego ..." by Michał Rożek, p. 177).
According to the rich inventory of May 10, 1635, the municipal scribe of Poznań Wojciech Rochowicz owned a painting of Pallas Athena, Venus and Juno, as well as 5 small paintings in frames painted on oak boards depicting "Roman people". Several erotic paintings were mentioned in the very rich gallery of Poznań burgher Piotr Chudzic, who died in 1626, like a "naked picture for appetite", "3 paintings of courtesans" and "a very small round Venetian picture on tin of a courtesan" (after "Odzież i wne̜trza domów ..." by Magdalena Bartkiewicz, p. 68 and "Inwentarze mieszczańskie Poznania", p. 407). Rochowicz in Poznań had one image of a courtesan and one of a wenetka (Venetian courtesan), Krzysztof Głuszkiewicz in Lviv had six paintings of courtesans and in Kraków paintings of courtesans were owned by: Franciszek Delpacy (1630), Anna Telani (1647), Oktawian Bestici (1655), Andrzej Cieski (1659), Gerard Priami (1671) and Stanisław Kłosowicz (1673), who had four paintings of courtesans (after "Sztuka a erotyka", ed. Teresa Hrankowska, p. 197). Hieronim Morsztyn (1581-1623), author of the "Worldly Pleasure" (1606) and many erotic poems, in his work "Actaeon. (To Polish Courtesans)" wrote that they would gladly "run naked".
The Polish Vasas, descendants of the Jagiellons on the maternal side (through Catherine Jagiellon), were renowned patrons who commissioned many beautiful paintings and other objects locally and abroad in the best workshops, such as for example a series of 6 tapestries with the story of Diana, purchased around 1611-1615 by Sigismond III Vasa in the workshop of François Spierincx in Delft. In 1624, Peter Paul Rubens painted Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (future Ladislaus IV) during his visit to Brussels. According to available sources, Rubens and Ladislaus Sigismund's father, king Sigismund III, never met in person, but the beautiful portrait of the king is undoubtedly by his hand (attribution to Rubens by Ludwig Burchard, Heinz Collection Kisters in Kreuzlingen). Although not confirmed in surviving letters or inventories, this effigy of the king was beyond doubt created from some study drawings or miniatures sent from Warsaw.
Elected king John III Sobieski (from 1674) consciously organized European opinion, commissioning appropriate works, paintings and engravings in Poland and abroad, in the Netherlands, Flanders, Paris and Italy (works by Romeyn de Hooghe, Reinier de la Haye, Caspar Netscher, Prosper Henricus Lankrink, Ferdinand van Kessel, Adam Frans van der Meulen, Jan Frans van Douven, workshops of Pierre Mignard and Henri Gascar, Jacques Blondeau, Simon Thomassin, Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi, Domenico Martinelli). Exquisite sculptures were also ordered abroad, like statues by Flemish sculptors Artus Quellinus II and his son Thomas II and Bartholomeus Eggers (Wilanów Palace and Summer Garden in Saint Petersburg, taken from Warsaw in 1707), jewellery in Paris (Sobieski diamond) and silverware in Augsburg (works by Abraham II Drentwett, Albrecht Biller, Lorenz Biller II and Christoph Schmidt).
The construction of his suburban residence, inspired by the Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome, Sobieski entrusted to Augustyn Wincenty Locci, son of the Italian architect Agostino Locci. The best local and foreign artists, architects and scientists participated in the decoration of the residence and the glorification of the monarch, his wife and the Commonwealth.
The inventory of the Picture Gallery of the Radziwill Palace in Biała Podlaska, called Radziwiłłowska (Alba Radziviliana), from November 18, 1760, provides an interesting insight into the quality and diversity of painting collections in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The palace was built by Alexander Louis Radziwill (1594-1654), Grand Marshal of Lithuania after 1622 on the site of old wooden mansions. The inventory lists 609 positions of mainly religious and mythological paintings of which nothing preserved in Biała: (52) Painting of Diana, painted on tin with two arrows without frames, (53) Picture of Adonis sleeping with the Goddess Hera [Venus and Adonis], painted on glass in gilded frames, (84) Painting of Diana's hunt, painted on a panel in a gilded frame, (113) Sleeping Venus lying on a bed, without frames, (117) Face of Pallas [Athena], painted on canvas without frame, (128) Venus standing in water [Birth of Venus], painted on copper in gilded frames, (157) Portrait of King Sigismund Jagiello and Grand Duke of Lithuania [Sigismund I] on tin without a frame, (158) Portrait of King Sigismund of Poland and Sweden [Sigismund III Vasa], [...], painted on tin, without frame, (165) Portrait of Henry Helesius [Henry of Valois], King of Gallia and Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, painted on copper in frames, (166) Portrait of King Stephen Bathory, painted on tin in black frames, (181) Diana holding a trumpet, painted on canvas in old gilded frames, (192) Story of Volcano and Venus, painted on canvas, without frames, (193) Second story, also of Venus, also with Venus and Vulcan, large painting on canvas, without frames, (206) Male portrait, painting by Rubens, on canvas in black frames, (210) Picture of Baceba [Bathsheba] at her bath, painted on canvas without frame, (213) Painting of Lucretia, expressive, with a dagger, a fine painting painted on canvas, no frame, (217) Picture of Herodianna [Herodias] with the head of Saint John, painted on canvas without frames, (224) Picture of Hercules, painted on canvas without frame, (233) Painting of Venus descending from the clouds, a large painting on canvas, without frames, (234) Picture of Lucretia pierced with a dagger, painted on canvas, without frames, (235) Painting of nude Venus reclining with Cupid, painted on canvas, no frame, (258) Story of Venus with Adonis, large painting on canvas, without frame, (259) Portrait of a knight, full-length, Rabefso [Rubens?], on canvas without frame, (283) Painting of Bacchus, painted on canvas without frame, (284) Painting of Judith, painted on canvas, without frame, (296) Picture of Lucretia, painted on panel, without frame, (302) Half-naked person, painted on canvas, without frame, (303) Meditating Lucretia, painted on canvas, without frame, (335) Landscape with dwarfs and fruits, painted on canvas, (336) Landscape with dying Diana and the nymphs, on canvas, (348) Painting of Venus sleeping naked, painted on canvas, without frame, (349) Painting of Adonis with Venus enjoying, painted on canvas, without frame, (376) Painting of Venus with Cupid and Zefiriusz with Hetka [most likely homoerotic Zephyrus and Hyacinth], two pieces of similar measure and N°, painted on canvas, without frames, (390) Story of Dyanna on which golden rain falls [Danaë and the shower of gold, possibly by Titian or workshop], painted on canvas without frames, (391) Sleeping Venus, painted on canvas, without frames, (535) Portraits of various Lords ... thirty-six of different sizes, painted on canvas, without frames, (536) Portraits of various Lords and Kings of unequal size, painted on canvas, (544) Different portraits under one No., nineteen pieces, painted on canvas, (577) Portrait of Stephen Bathory, King of Poland, painted on canvas in black frames, (596) Story of Judith with Holofernes, painted on canvas in black frames, (597) Venus asleep on the hunt, painted on canvas, (604) Story of Saint Susanna with two Elders, painted on panel in black gilded frames, (607) Kings of Poland, fifty and one on parchment and (608) A lady with a dog, painted on panel, without frame (after "Zamek w Białej Podlaskiej ..." by Euzebiusz Łopaciński, pp. 37-47). With such a large collection, it was difficult to fully describe the identity of each effigy. The chaos of war also contributed to the forgetting of the names of models and painters.
Many valuable works of art in Poland-Lithuania were looted or destroyed during the invasions of the country in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The country became significantly impoverished due to the wars, so valuable and movable works of art, especially those whose history was lost, were sold. By the end of the 18th century, like the country itself, Poland-Lithuania had almost completely disappeared from the history of European art. Art collections were confiscated during the Partitions of Poland - after collapse of the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794 (especilly Polish crown jewels), November Uprising in 1830-1831 and January Uprising in 1863-1864. To secure their belongings, many aristocrats move their collections abroad, especially to France. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, the Jagiellonian tapestries commissioned in Flanders by king Sigismund II Augustus and recovered from the Soviet Union between 1922-1924, were transported through Romania, France and England to Canada and returned to Poland in 1961.
The elective system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth also favored the outflow of works of art from the country. Paintings and other valuables from the royal collection that survived the Deluge (1655-1660) were transported to France by king John II Casimir Vasa (1609-1672), who abdicated in 1668 and moved to Paris. Many valuables were inherited by Anna Gonzaga (1616-1684), Princess Palatine, who died in Paris. Queen Bona Sforza (1494-1557) moved her belongings to Bari in Italy, Queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) to Linz in Austria and Queen Eleonora Wiśniowiecka (1653-1697) to Vienna. French Queen Marie Casimire Sobieska and her sons transported their collections to Rome and France and elective monarchs from the Saxon dynasty in the 18th century moved many items to Dresden. The last monarch of the Commonwealth, Stanislaus II Augustus, abdicated in November 1795 and moved part of his collection to Saint Petersburg.
It should also be noted that when the treasures of the Most Serene Republic (Serenissima Respublica Coronae Regni Poloniae Magnique Ducatus Lithuaniae) were plundered by different invaders, in 1683, the army of the Republic under the leadership of the elected monarch John III Sobieski saved the opulent imperial treasures from a similar fate at the gates of Vienna (Relief of Vienna or Battle of Vienna). A century later, between 1772 and 1795, Austria was one of the countries that divided the Republic (Partitions of Poland) and Poland disappeared from the maps of Europe for 123 years.
Art collection of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, attributed to Étienne de La Hire, 1626, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portraits of Sigismund III Vasa and Stanisław Radziejowski by Daniël van den Queborn or follower of Frans Pourbus the Younger
In the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków there is a portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa attributed to Dutch school (oil on panel, 93 x 68 cm, inventory number MNK XII-352). The painting was purchased in 1875, together with other portraits and miniatures, from Mikołaj Wisłocki from Pogorzela. It was initially attributed to Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670) and according to the printed sticker on the back of the painting it was purchased in Podbela in Belarus, near the Białowieża Forest and hung for a long time in the old larch chapel in Białowieża (Zygmunt 3o Król - na drzewie ma być roboty fan der Helsta malarza Holenderskiego - nabyty w Podbiałey, pod puszczą Białowieską - wisiał bardzo długo w Starey Modrzewiowej Kaplicy w Białowieży (gub. Grodzieńska:)).
Jagiellonian hunting mansion located in Stara Białowieża was probably used as early as 1409, and around 1594, during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, it was moved to the center of modern Białowieża, where a mill was also built. Less than a year after his election, in 1588, in the face of the plague in Kraków, the young king left the capital and hunted in the Białowieża Forest. "The manor house in Białowieża built for His Royal Highness for passage and hunting" is mentioned in 1639 and it was destroyed during the Deluge (1655-1660) or soon after and was last mentioned in 1663.
In 1597 Sigismund III orders the Court Treasurer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Dymitr Chalecki (d. 1598), to cancel the charges against the serfs employed in digging "Our Białowieża Pond" and to "relax the heavy burdens in the works" (after "Dwór łowiecki Wazów w Białowieży ..." by Tomasz Samojlik and others, pp. 74, 76-77, 80, 84). In 1651 Sigismund's son John II Casimir empoyed a Dutch architect and engineer Peeter Willer (or Willert) for similar works in Nieporęt near Warsaw and Henry IV of France (1553-1610) brought the best Dutch engineers to dry out, drain, build polders with their canals, locks, meadows, and low farms all round the coast of France (after "The French Peasantry ..." by Pierre Goubert, p. 2). It is quite possible that Sigismund also employed specialists from the Netherlands, also those already active in Polish Prussia, to create ponds and supply plants and fish.
The painter probably never saw the king in person, so the resemblance is not striking, especially to portraits by Martin Kober, which has led some authors to suggest that it was originally a portrait of somone else transformed into the king's effigy. Probably in the 17th century, as the style suggest, a Latin inscription (SIGISMVNDVS III / DEI GRA: REX POLONIÆ) and a crown were added, however taking into consideration the provenance from the royal Białowieża, tradition, general resemblance and inscriptions there is no reason to claim that this is not an original portrait of the king commissioned in the Netherlands.
A similar effigy of Sigismund with a long mustache and blond hair was included in hand colored map of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Poloniae Amplissimi Regni Typvs Geographicvs) from Speculum Orbis Terrarum by Gerard de Jode, published in Antwerp in 1593. The likeness of the king is one of the few effigies in this publication, which could indicate that the Polish court influenced it on this particular map or that it was inspired by the increase in orders for effigies in the Netherlands at that time.
The style of the painting from Białowieża is reminiscent of the two portraits unanimously attributed to Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569-1622), a Flemish painter from Antwerp (from about 1592 active in Brussels), in the Galleria nazionale di Parma, identified as Luigi Carafa and his wife Isabella Gonzaga (inventory number 297, 303), however, it is even more similar to two paintings atributed to another painter from Antwerp - Daniël van den Queborn, both in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. One depict a child 18 months old in 1604, possibly Louis of Nassau, the illegitimate son of Prince Maurice of Orange (SK-A-956) and the other, dated '1601', Francisco de Mendoza, Admiral of Aragon and Marquis of Guadalest, who was mayordomo mayor (lord high steward) in the household of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and took part in different diplomatic missions to Poland, Hungary, Styria and the Holy Roman Empire (SK-A-3912). In 1579 Daniël joined the guild of Middelburg and in 1594 he became court painter to Prince Maurice in The Hague.
The style of the king's costume and ruff is very similar to that seen in Gortzius Geldorp's portraits of the 1590s - portrait of Jean Fourmenois, dated '1590' (Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, SK-A-912) and portrait of Gottfried Houtappel, dated '1597' (The State Hermitage Museum, ГЭ-2438). Portrait of Joachim Ernst (1583-1625), Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (sold at Christie's, 27 October 2004, lot 46) from the 1610s, as his costume indicate, is attributed to follower of Frans Pourbus the Younger. In 1609, Pourbus moved to Paris and Joachim Ernst's stay in France at that time is not confirmed in sources.
On August 14, 1593 Sigismund III arrived in Gdańsk with his wife Anna of Austria, sister Anna Vasa and the entire court. The city was a major port of the Commonwealth where Netherlandish influences became predominant at that time in almost all aspects of life (trade, art, architecture and fashion). The river cruise from Warsaw to Gdańsk lasted 12 days and the ceremonial welcome took place at the Green Gate. On 15 August 1593 the court took part in the procession at the Dominican Church. The ceremony was presided over by the Bishop of Kuyavia, Hieronim Rozdrażewski, who purportedly commissioned a drawing illustrating the event (possibly a study for a painting), attributed to Anton Möller the Elder (Wawel Royal Castle). The king then went with the court to Wisłoujście, from where on September 16, on 56 or 57 ships, he sailed with the people accompanying him and a detachment of the Polish-Lithuanian army to Sweden. The king embarked on a ship provided by the city of Amsterdam (after "Polacy na szlakach morskich świata" by Jerzy Pertek, p. 56).
It is possible that among the courtiers accompanying the king was also the young nobleman Stanisław Radziejowski (1575-1637). He was a courtier at the court of the widowed Queen Anna Jagiellon in Warsaw, where he received the title of court steward and after her death in 1596 he passed to the court of Sigismund Vasa, where he again served mainly Queen Anna of Austria and her son Ladislaus Sigismund. He later did not hold any functions at the court, but he took part in confidential missions abroad and in the Commonwealth (after "Radziejowice: fakty i zagadki" by Maria Barbasiewicz, p. 41).
Stanisław studied abroad, in Würzburg in 1590. In 1598 he was sent as a peace delegate to Moscow, he become the starost of Sochaczew in 1599 and he accompanied the king during his travels (e.g. in 1634 to Gdańsk). Radziejowski often had the opportunity to host the entire royal court under his roof in his estate in Radziejowice near Warsaw. There was no foreign envoy, no apostolic nuncio who did not experience his hospitality and Queen Constance of Austria, Sigismund's second wife, willingly took a bath in Radziejowice.
No effigy of Stanisław preserved in Poland, but as a courtier so close to the queen who traveled abroad, he undoubtedly dressed primarily in Western European fashion. The painting in the National Museum in Kraków (inventory number MNK I-20) depicting the Adoration of the Crucifix with King Sigismund III Vasa and his male courtiers, painted by Wojciech Maliskiewic in 1622, clearly shows the disposition of fashion at the royal court. Only a quarter of the courtiers are dressed in national costume, the others wear ruffs and fashionable hose. In 1583 Balthasar Bathory de Somlyo, nephew of King Stephen Bathory raised at his court in Kraków, was portraited by Hendrick Goltzius in French costume during his visit to the Netherlands with his friend Stanisław Sobocki. Treasurer (Jan Firlej, Grand Treasurer of the Crown) from Stanisław Sarnicki's "Statutes and records of crown privileges", published in Kraków in 1594, also wears western attire, as well as Stanisław's infamous son Hieronim (1612-1667), who was depicted dressed according to Western European fashion in a print by Jeremias Falck Polonus, created in 1652.
In 2022 a portrait of a young man painted in similar style to the Białowieża portrait was sold at Dorotheum in Vienna (oil on canvas, 65.5 x 55 cm, 11.05.2022, lot 25). This painting is attributed to Frans Pourbus the Younger and comes from private collection in Uruguay (since the 1920s). The exact provenance is unknown, so it is possible that it was associated with Polish immigration to Uruguay where the first Poles arrived in the 19th century as political refugees who fled after the January Uprising (the first Polish organization in Montevideo was established in 1921). The young man is wearing a fashionable embroidered doublet and a lace ruff. According to Latin inscription in upper part of the painting it was created in Antwerp and the sitter was 18 in 1593 (ANTVE'[rpiae] ANo SAL.. / 1593 / ÆTA' SVÆ.18..), exacly as Radziejowski, when he may have finished his studies and could board a ship in Antwerp for Gdańsk or just order it from Gdańsk in Antwerp, like his grandson Cardinal Michał Stefan Radziejowski, who ordered his portrait in Paris (attributed to painter from Antwerp Jacob Ferdinand Voet, Czartoryski Museum, MNK XII-377). The family resemblance is striking with the portrait of Michał Stefan in the Museum of Warsaw (MHW 15948), and mentioned effigy of Stanisław's son, the shape of the nose, the puffiness under the eyes and a dimple in the chin being particularly similar in these family members.
Portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa (1566-1632) by Daniël van den Queborn or follower of Frans Pourbus the Younger, 1590s, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of courtier Stanisław Radziejowski (1575-1637), aged 18 by Daniël van den Queborn or follower of Frans Pourbus the Younger, 1593, Private collection.
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 Stanisław Lubomirski and Bianca Cappello by Alessandro Maganza
On New Year's Day 1595, at the age of about 11, Stanisław Lubomirski (1583-1649), the eldest son of count Sebastian Lubomirski (d. 1613), together with his brother Joachim (1588-1610), left Wola Justowska near Kraków for further education at the Jesuit college in Munich. He was looked after by the trusted servants of his father, Piotr Szczepanowski, and Jan Gębczyński, a graduate of the Kraków University, who kept records of all expenses incurred at that time. Lubomirski stayed in Munich until May 1597. This stay was interrupted by financial difficulties and the wedding of the eldest sister Katarzyna who was marrying Prince Janusz Ostrogski. The costs of studying at the college and the expenses incurred during the over two-year stay in Munich were quite significant, amounting to 4,921 thalers. After returning to Poland, on July 21, 1597, his father ceded to him - with the king's consent - the starosty of Nowy Sącz (after "Stanisław Lubomirski (1583-1649) ..." by priest Andrzej Bruździński, p. 93).
At the end of 1598 or at the beginning of the following year, accompanied by the poet Piotr Kochanowski (1566-1620) and the aforementioned Jan Gębczyński, he went abroad again, this time to the south – to Italy. In 1599 he enrolled at the University of Padua and he also went to France and the Netherlands. He returned in 1601 and the following year he was admitted to the royal court. King Stephen Bathory was Stanisław's godfather.
As the Kraków Żupnik between 1581-1592 his father built his fortune primarily from "salt" as well as usurious loans, which was assessed negatively in the Commonwealth. In 1597 even the crown jewels were pawned with Lubomirski and in 1595 Sebastian became the count of Wiśnicz from the imperial nomination.
Around that time the "travelling belongings" of magnates and nobles were carried on "treasure carts" and in "room chariots" covered with leather in chests and boxes, often of French manufacture, very sophisticated and waterproof, intended for a specific type of objects, like "a tin case for pictures", according to inventory of the Radziwill family (after "Mieszkańcy Rzeczypospolitej w podróży ... " by Urszula Augustyniak, p. 375). Stanisław, who would later become the patron of a prominent Italian architect, Matteo Trapola, also acquired and commissioned works of art abroad. One such ambiguous expense for a meeting with a painter was recorded by Gębczyński during his stay in Munich - "For the copy of Stach and with the painter" (Za kopią Stach i z malarzem), 5 zlotys 21 grosz. "Everything cannot be entrusted to paper", wrote in a letter of July 8, 1588 from Venice, diplomat Stanisław Reszka and matters which could not be discussed directly were conveyed orally by a trusted and additionally authenticated messenger, who sometimes substituted a letter, simply for lack of time to write it (after "W podróży po Europie" by Wojciech Tygielski, Anna Kalinowska, p. 14).
In the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw there is a portrait of an elegant 14-year-old young man against the background of a column and a curtain by Venetian school (oil on canvas, 176 x 115 cm, inventory number Wil.1150). It comes comes from the Wiśnicz Castle and it was moved to Warsaw before 1821. The castle in Wiśnicz was purchased by Sebastian Lubomirski in 1593 and between 1615 and 1621 Trapola enlarged and rebuilt it for his son Stanisław. The original inscription in Latin: Aetatis 14, above his head confirms the model's age, while the later inscription identifying the model as Sebastian Lubomirski (Sobestian Lubomirski Wielkorządca Kr.: W: Woryniecki zmarły R. 1613) was transferred to the back of the doubled canvas. Basing on this information the painting is dated to about 1560 (Sebastian was born in about 1546) and attributed to Giovanni del Monte or de Monte, painter active at that time at the royal court of Poland-Lithuania (he left for Venice in 1557). However, as noted by Wanda Drecka ("Portrety Sebastiana Lubomirskiego ...", p. 92), the cut of his hose or trousers can only be compared with the costumes of the guards in the Entry of the wedding procession of Sigismund III Vasa into Kraków in 1605 (Royal Castle in Warsaw), so-called "Stockholm roll" because it was taken to Sweden during the Deluge (1655-1660) and returned to Poland in 1974. The boy's shoes are very similar to those depicted in the portrait of Swedish statesman Mauritz Stensson Leijonhufvud, dated '1596' (ANNO DOMINO 1596, Skokloster Castle) and the pose and costume can be compared to the portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh and his son, dated '1602' (National Portrait Gallery in London). His satin doublet of silver color, collar and hairstyle are almost identical as in the portraits of James I(VI) Stuart, king of England and Scotland by Adrian Vanson, dated '1595' (Scottish National Gallery and private collection) and portrait of a gentleman, formerly suggested to be William Shakespeare, dated '1602' (private collection). The portrait should consequently be dated to around 1597, when 14-year-old Stanisław Lubomirski become the starost of Nowy Sącz and soon left for Italy. The boy's facial features closely resemble other effigies of Stanisław Lubomirski in the Wilanów Palace (Wil.1565, Wil.1258). The same boy was depicted in another portrait from Lubomirski collection painted in the same style, today in the Lviv National Art Gallery (oil on canvas, 67 x 78 cm, Ж-1377). It is presumably a fragment of a larger composition showing him in guise of biblical David with a sword.
The style of both paintings, in Wilanów and Lviv, is very close to that of Alessandro Maganza (1556-1630), a painter born and active in Vicenza, as well as in Venice, influenced by Tintoretto, Palma the Younger and Veronese. His distinctive technique is particularly well visible in a painting dated '1590' (M.D.LXXXX), today in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm (NM 32), representing the Virgin and Child with Saints, as well as in the portrait of a woman with pearls (sold at Capitolium Art in Brescia on October 17, 2018, oil on canvas, 40 x 53 cm). The latter effigy is a version of a portrait of Bianca Cappello (1548-1587), Venetian noblewoman who become the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, painted by Scipione Pulzone in 1584 (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, GG 1138). The painter most likely received a drawing or miniature of the Grand Duchess to copy, as his stay in Florence is unconfirmed. It was probably the same with the effigies of the young starost of Nowy Sącz ahead of his visit to Italy.
Portrait of Stanisław Lubomirski (1583-1649), starost of Nowy Sącz, aged 14 by Alessandro Maganza, ca. 1597, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
Portrait of Stanisław Lubomirski (1583-1649) holding a sword by Alessandro Maganza, ca. 1597, Lviv National Art Gallery.
Portrait of Bianca Cappello (1548-1587), Grand Duchess of Tuscany by Alessandro Maganza, ca. 1584, private collection.
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).
The king was depicted in similar etched armour in the Habiti Antichi Et Moderni di tutto il Mondo ... by Cesare Vecellio (Rè di Polonia / Poloniæ Rex, p. 346), published in Venice in 1598 (Czartoryski Library in Kraków).
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 identified 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.
Portraits of Duke Joachim Frederick by Flemish painters
During the tenure of Andreas Jerin (1585-1596) as the Bishop of Wrocław the counter-reformation began in Silesia. The pressure of militant Catholicism made itself felt also in the Duchy of Brzeg, when, among others, the commander of the Joannites in Oleśnica Mała near Oława removed Lutheran pastors from his estates (1589), while Joachim Frederick's attempt to intervene become futile (after "Brzeg: dzieje, gospodarka, kultura" by Władysław Dziewulski, p. 59).
Joachim Frederick of Brzeg modeled himself on his father George II (1523-1586), but he was a better administrator than him. He confirmed former city privileges and supported the crafts. The castle in Oława was rebuilt and enlarged for Joachim Frederick in the years 1587-1600 by the Italian architect Bernard Niuron from Lugano. Thanks to his family connections and his good relations with the imperial court in Prague and the court in Berlin, he obtained a number of honorary positions. Since 1585 he was Lutheran provost of the chapter of Magdeburg, and in 1588 he was appointed general commander of the regular army of Silesia. After the death of his brother John George, who died without issue in 1592, Joachim Frederick inherited Wołów and after death of his mother and his cousin Frederick IV of Legnica (1552-1596), he become the sole Duke of Legnica-Brzeg-Oława-Wołów (Liegnitz-Brieg-Ohlau-Wohlau in German). Joachim Frederick gained great popularity for his gentleness and diligence. He liked science and he tried to improve the administration of justice in 1599. Since he ranked first among the Silesian princes, from 1592 until his death he had to deal with the matter of helping the emperor, who was at war with the Turks.
In 1599, the Duke and his brother-in-law, Charles II of Ziębice-Oleśnica, refused to participate in the election of Bishop Paul Albert because he was not a Silesian and he acquired from Peter Wok von Rosenberg the towns of Złoty Stok (Reichenstein) and Srebrna Góra (Silberberg), rich in gold and silver mines. Joachim Frederick died on March 25, 1602 in Brzeg.
The man from the portrait in the National Museum in Poznań (oil on panel, 47 x 38 cm, inventory number Mo 855) resemble the man from the portrait in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (inventory number GG 808). Many splendid paintings that once adorned the walls of the Silesian Wawel - the Piast Castle in Brzeg and survived the bombing in 1741, when the castle was destroyed by the Prussian forces in the First Silesian War, were moved to Berlin. Possibly also this picture. The image in Poznań was acquired in 1930 from private collection Karl von Wesendonk in Berlin.
Both paintings, in Poznań and in Vienna, are attributed to Adriaen Thomasz. Key, however the man from Poznań version is much older. If he was around 25 when the Vienna painting was created in about 1575, then the Poznań version should be dated around 1600, which rules out Key's authorship, as he died in 1589 or after.
The most important arts and crafts center in this part of Europe at that time was the imperial court of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. Many Flemish artists worked for the Emperor and two of them, created very similar portraits of Rudolf. One with light blue eyes, bust-length, wearing a breastplate (sold at Christie's, 27 Jan 2010, lot 344), is attributed to circle of Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569-1622), a Flemish painter from Antwerp, who at the end of the 16th century worked for Archduke Albert and Infanta Isabella in Brussels. The other with dark eyes, attributed to Lucas van Valckenborch (d. 1597) from Leuven, is today in the Liechtenstein collection in Vienna (inventory number GE 2484).
The style of the image in Poznań resemble that of Pourbus, especially the portrait of a man in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (inventory number 5862). The same man was depicted in another painting created in about 1600, in which however his face resemble more the Warsaw portrait from 1574 (inventory number M.Ob.819 MNW). His servant gives him a cup of wine. This painting titled sometimes "Two Fools", because of the old man's extravagant outfit, or "Emperor Rudolf II taking the cure", is today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (oil on canvas, 175.5 x 109 cm, inventory number GG 2773, verifiable in the gallery depot in 1868). It was attributed to Pieter Isaacsz (d. 1625), circle of Cornelis Ketel (1548-1616) or to Lucas van Valckenborch. The comparison with the painting in the Silesian Museum in Opava (inventory number In 2036 A), which was created by Valckenborch, most probably together with his assistant or only by him - Georg Flegel (1566-1638) is the most accurate.
In his only known so far painted effigy from a fresco by Balthasar Latomus, the court painter of George II, in the ducal study of the Brzeg Castle, painted in 1583-1584, Joachim Frederick was depicted in colouful red-brown striped doublet, while his father is wearing a black attire. The Duke of Brzeg is also wearing a ruff and heavy gold chains with a medallion, like in the described painting by Valckenborch or Flegel in Vienna. The man from a large gold medal, most likely minted from the Złoty Stok gold, resemble the most George the Pious (1484-1543), Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. George, son of Sophia Jagiellon, was an early adherent of Protestantism. He maintained correspondence with Martin Luther and introduced the Reformation in his Silesian possessions - Krnov, Bytom, Racibórz and Opole, one of the largest centers of Silesian cloth weaving. His son George Frederick (1539-1603), who from 1577 was also Administrator of the Duchy of Prussia, maintained good relations with Poland-Lithuania. He minted coins with the official motto of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: "If God be with us, who shall be against us?" (Guldentaler, 1586, Königsberg), his tomb monument in the Heilsbronn monastery, attributed to Endres Dietrich Seidensticker, is adorned with coat of arms of Poland (White Eagle), repeated three times (after "Kloster Heilsbronn ..." by Graf Rudolph Stillfried-Alcántara, p. 163) and his portrait in the National Museum in Wrocław was created by Silesian painter Andreas Riehl the Younger from Wrocław. The portrait of George Frederick was created in 1601 and he is wearing a medal of King Stephen Bathory with the inscription in Latin STEFANVS. REX. POLONIA. 1581 (after "Portret na Śląsku ..." by Ewa Houszka, p. 12). In 1571, the Regent of Prussia also commissioned a series of portraits of his father George the Pious in the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger (two are in the Grunewald hunting lodge in Berlin, GKI1192 and GKI1048) and for his wife Elizabeth of Brandenburg-Küstrin (1540-1578), who died while she was staying at the Warsaw court, where George Frederick was to be awarded the dukedom by the Polish king, he commissioned the Dutch sculptor Willem van den Blocke to construct the monument in Königsberg Cathedral, which was completed in 1582. His Silesian lands were close to Brzeg and Legnica, so the Margrave, who stayed mostly in Ansbach, entrusted George II od Brzeg with the implementation of the new laws in his Krnov domain.
The bust of a bearded man in mentioned gold medal in the Vienna portrait resemble the portraits of George the Pious by Cranach the Younger and 1534 medal with his bust in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg. Joachim Frederick, a Lutheran and the most important among the Silesian princes, minted coins in Złoty Stok, like the gold ducat from 1602 (National Museum in Warsaw, NPO 350 MNW). It was therefore him who most probably ordered both the medal and the portrait in the workshop of Flemish painter. In 1582 41 representations of Dutch wars painted on canvas were purchased by the Brzeg city council (after "Op Nederlandse manier ..." by Mateusz Kapustka, p. 35), indicating that Netherlandish art was strongly represented in his domains.
Portrait of Joachim Frederick (1550-1602), Duke of Legnica-Brzeg-Oława-Wołów by circle of Frans Pourbus the Younger, 1597-1602, National Museum in Poznań.
Portrait of Joachim Frederick (1550-1602), Duke of Legnica-Brzeg-Oława-Wołów with gold medal with bust of Margrave George the Pious by Lucas van Valckenborch or Georg Flegel, 1597-1602, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
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 identified 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.
Portrait of Uriel Górka, Bishop of Poznań by Odoardo Fialetti
The full-length portrait of Uriel Górka (ca. 1435-1498), Bishop of Poznań in Kórnik Castle near Poznań is one of the oldest effigies of church hierarchs in Poland. This large painting on canvas (219 x 111.5 cm, inventory number MK 3360) bears an inscription in Latin on a band above the figure: VRIÆL / COMES DE GORCA DEI GRATIA EPISCOPVS POSNANI / ENSIS. The band, typical of Gothic paintings, as well as the general style of the work suggest that it is a copy of the original portrait of the bishop, as the painting itself is variably dated to the second half of the 16th century or the middle of the 17th century.
The original may be by Stanisław of Kórnik, who was the bishop's court painter for six years in the 1490s, but also commissioned from abroad. Uriel, the founder of the family's power, distinguished himself in the field of artistic patronage and he was in close contact with the artistic circles of Nuremberg. He ordered silverware from Albrecht Dürer the Elder, father of the painter (according to the bill of August 26, 1486 - Item mein her Uriel her bischoff von Poln hat Albrechtn Durer dem goltschmyd silber gebn), he commissioned various works from the sculptor Simon Leinberger, like the excellent composition of Christ in the Garden of Olives sculpted in 1490 for the Poznań Cathedral, and bronze tombstones for himself and his father Łukasz (died in 1475), the voivode, at the famous Vischer workshop (after "Kultura, naród, trwanie ..." by Maria Bogucka, p. 164). The full-length effigy of Uriel on his tomb slab by the Vischer workshop in Poznań Cathedral is comparable to this portrait. So maybe the original effigy of the bishop was also created in Nuremberg or it was a likeness from the gallery of portraits of Poznań bishops modo chronicae depicta made after 1508, commissioned by Bishop Jan Lubrański from the Kraków painter Stanisław Skórka.
The style of the painting is obviously Venetian, close to the Bassanos and influenced by Tintoretto, but no Venetian artist is confirmed in Poznań and the surrounding area at that time, therefore the painting must be an import, ordered from Venice, such as the portraits of the daughters of Łukasz Górka (1482-1542). Stylistically closest is the portrait of Doge Antonio Priuli (1548-1623), reigning from 1618 until his death, in the Kensington Palace (inventory number RCIN 407153). The way the face, hands and gold patterned fabrics were painted is very similar. The portrait of Priuli was one of four portraits of Doges acquired by Sir Henry Wotton during his tenure as ambassador in Venice (1612-1616 and 1619-1621) "done after the life by Eduardo Fialetto", according Wotton's will. The other three portraits are also stylistically close, notably the effigy of Doge Giovanni Bembo (RCIN 407152).
Odoardo Fialetti, born in Bologna in 1573 and initiated to painting with the Bolognese Giovanni Battista Cremonini, moved to Padua and then to Venice, where he entered Tintoretto's workshop. It is possible that he also spent some time in Rome, completing his training. From 1604 to 1612, Fialetti was a member of the Venetian Brotherhood of Painters (Fraglia dei Pittori).
The most possible founder of the painting is therefore Jan Czarnkowski (d. 1618/19), royal courtier, one of the heirs of the Górka family after childless death of Lutheran magnate Stanisław Górka (1538-1592). Czarnkowski completed the Górka mausoleum in Kórnik in 1603 and handed over the church to the Catholics. The effigy of the Catholic bishop of Poznań, educated in Italy, owner of the Kórnik estate from 1475 who brought a gardener from Italy to Kórnik (after "Zamek w Kórniku" by Róża Kąsinowska, p. 17), fits perfectly into Czarnkowski's Counter-Reformation activity. It was commissioned in Italy possibly in opposition to the predominantly Protestant northern school of painting.
Portrait of Uriel Górka (ca. 1435-1498), Bishop of Poznań by Odoardo Fialetti, ca. 1604, Kórnik Castle.
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.
In 1599 Geldorp created a portrait of a young woman in Venetian costume (sold at Christie's New York, 12 January 1994, lot 134, signed and dated top left: Anº.1599./GG.F), similar to costumes of Venetian ladies published in 1590 in De gli habiti antichi, e moderni di diverse parti del mondo libri due by Cesare Vecellio, cousin of the painter Titian (p. 97-112). The same year he also created a portrait of Hortensia del Prado (Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, inventory number SK-A-2081, signed and dated top left: Anº 1599./GG.F.). Either the painter went for a short time to Venice or Poland-Lithuania, or the lady in Venetian costume visited his studio or most likely sent a miniature, drawing or other portrait to be copied.
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.
Portrait of a lady in Venetian costume by Gortzius Geldorp, 1599, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria as Venus by Gortzius Geldorp
"At that time, King Sigismund III of Poland commissioned from him the fable of Diana with Calisto bathing & other Poems. They pleased the King, who ordered him to be invited to his court with a worthy reward. However, the painter accustomed to the comforts of his home, refused such a good opportunity, sending there Tomaso Dolobella, his disciple […] He also painted for the same King part of the fable of Psyche, shared with Palma, and Antonio's work having pleased him, he then ordered from him a canvas with the martyrdom of Saint Ursula, which he executed with great diligence, and on the covers he painted the saints Vladislaus, Demetrius and other saints, whom the King surrounded with a cult, and for that worthy work he was commended with royal letters and presented with some gifts", comments on the works of the Greco-Venetian painter Antonio Vassilacchi (1556-1629) called L'Aliense, Carlo Ridolfi in a book published in 1648 presenting the history of Venetian painting (Le Maraviglie dell'arte). Saint Ursula was probably intended for King's mistress, influential Urszula Meyerin, who was most probably depicted as the saint martyr.
As it was said Palma il Giovane (1549-1628) worked with Vassilacchi on part of the fable of Psyche, and for the Cathedral in Warsaw he created two paintings - one with Baptism of Christ (tavola di Christo al Giordano), according to Ridolfi, and the Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. Stanislaus (destroyed in 1944). According to Palma's letter from January 1602 Aliense was to begin designs while in Salò, but he would then need to return to Venice to "finish certain works that he is doing for the king of Poland". Two drawings by Palma, one showing Venus and Psyche (British Museum, inventory number 1862,0809.74) and the other Cupid and Psyche (sold at Christie's, July 6, 2021, lot 3), could be preparatory drawing for the Psyche cycle.
A letter from the Treasurer of the Crown, Jan Firlej (d. 1614), addressed to King Sigismund III Vasa (dated April 29, 1599) says that in one of the Italian rooms ("in the new buildings") at the Wawel Castle in Kraków, described as "the happiest", "paintings were made in Venice". The themes of these paintings decorating the interior, were most probably taken from erotic and mythological themes. They covered the walls and filled the gilded coffered ceilings in Venetian style. According to inventory description of Wawel from 1665 "Italian paintings with golden frames" were in the antechamber at the Hen's Foot tower, Italian "pictures" decorating "the ceiling carved with gold work" in the main room there and "around eleven Italian paintings with golden frames". In the room "under the birds", according to the inventory from 1692, there were "four pictures above the door, between which there are nine pictures above the panelling, only two with golden frames ... In this room there are nine pictures in the ceiling" (after "Weneckie zamówienia Zygmunta III" by Jan Białostocki). The king had undoubtedly other erotic and Italian rooms and studiolo in other royal residences in Kraków (Łobzów), Warsaw (Royal Castle, Ujazdów), Vilnius, Grodno and Lviv.
The huge popularity of erotic images and nudes caused concern to some preachers of the Counter-Reformation. In his poem "Roman and Christian Lucretia", published in Kraków in about 1570, Bishop Jan Dymitr Solikowski (1539-1603), secretary of King Sigismund II Augustus from 1564, demanded that paintings depicting "shameless arts and all Jupiter Vanities, Mars with Venus" to be burned and painters with them, it should be noted however, that the title page of his work shows a beautiful woodcut with half-naked Lucretia by Mateusz Siebeneicher or his circle (University of Warsaw Library). Over a half a century later, in 1629 the court preacher of Sigismund III and Ladislaus IV Dominican Fabian Birkowski (1566-1636) warned against "these painted fornications", which were very popular in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth before the Deluge (1655-1660): "and yet this eye poison can be seen everywhere, full of these filthy images in bedchambers, halls, dining rooms, gardens and fountains, above the doors, on the glasses and cups". He also added "and our heretics have so corrupted their eyes that they throw the image of the crucified Christ out of bedchambers and rooms, and in its place they hang Fauns and painted Cupids, Venus and Fortuna above the table, so that they may dine and sup with them. [...] And there is no image of the Blessed Virgin anywhere; and the image of filthy Venus has a place, and even better at home" (after "Kazania" by Fabian Birkowski, 1858, Vol. 1-2, p. 81-82).
Somber and death-filled aura of the late 1620s provoked reflection. At that time the Commonwealth was struggling with Swedish invasion of Polish Prussia, military defeats and outbreaks of plague associated with troop movements. Only in Gdańsk 9,324 people died during epidemic of 1629-1630 (after "Przeszłość demograficzna Polski", Vol. 17-18, p. 66). In 1630 Mikołaj Wolski (1553-1630), Grand Crown Marshal, favorite and friend of Sigismund III Vasa, but above all an excellent collector, who invited to Poland the Italian painter Venanzio di Subiaco (1579-1659), ordered erotic paintings to be burned before his death except those in Venetian style coffered ceilings. He wrote in a letter of March 6 to Jan Witkowski "that images ad libidinem [to lust] and inciting to sin, which can be found in Krzepice castle, should all be burned; and those which are painted naked on the wall in my room where I slept and in my chamber, I beg you, let a painter who is able to paint any dresses and let him cover inhonestates [deceptiveness]. Ceiling paintings, let them remain as they are" (after "Zakon Kamedułów ..." by Ludwik Zarewicz, p. 197). Nevertheless, "a wall full of paintings with naked people" is mentioned in some manor houses still in 1650 (after "Miłość staropolska" by Zbigniew Kuchowicz, p. 165).
Two paintings from the Poznań Society of Friends of Learning, lost during World War II, show how wonderful the interiors of the residences of the First Polish Republic were. According to tradition, they represented the interior of the Leszczyński Palace, most probably the Palace of Bogusław Leszczyński, Grand Treasurer of the Crown in Warsaw, built between 1650-1654 to a design by Giovanni Battista Gisleni.
"Portrait of an elegant woman in the guise of Venus" by Gortzius Geldorp (oil on panel, 56.6 x 44.1 cm, sold at Sotheby's, New York, January 29, 2016, lot 454) is a version of portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as Berenice, created in 1605. The face is identical, while the composition resembles portraits of Venetian courtesans by Domenico Tintoretto, especially the Lady revealing her breast in Prado (inventory number P000382) and the Portrait of a woman as Flora in the Wiesbaden Museum (inventory number M 296), also attributed to Domenico's half-sister Marietta Robusti. Also the style of the painting with bold brushstrokes is more Venetian and tintoresque, it seems that Geldorp copied a work by Tintoretto and inspired by his style. His Penitent Mary Magdalene in the Mauritshuis in The Hague (inventory number 319), was evidently inspired by Domenico's Magdalene in the Capitoline Museums in Rome (PC 32), painted between 1598 and 1602. He also copied Violante or "La Bella Gatta" by Titan (monogrammed upper left: GG. F., sold at Dorotheum in Vienna, April 19, 2016, lot 122).
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as Venus by Gortzius Geldorp, after 1605, Private collection.
Venus and Psyche by Palma il Giovane, first quarter of the 17th century, British Museum.
Cupid and Psyche by Palma il Giovane, first quarter of the 17th century, Private collection.
Portraits of Constance of Austria and Hortensia del Prado by Gortzius Geldorp
"Long live King Sigismund the Third, under his auspices Everything that happened, the Lord restored from the foundations" (Vivat Sigismundus Rex Tertius, auspicio ejus Omne quod accepit restituit Dominus a fundamentis), is a fragment of a Latin inscription from 1610 on a non-preserved stone slab, which was before World War II on the façade of the Giza House in Warsaw (Old Town Market Square, number 6). It commemorates the reconstruction of the house after great fire of Warsaw in 1607, during which "many expensive Persian and Turkish goods were burned, 22 houses in the Market Square alone", according to Father Franciszek Kurowski. The Gothic house built between 1448-1455 was reconstructed for a merchant Jan Giza, who also added the following inscription "Bravery and human reason can do a lot, But money will always be the shortest way" (Multa vi et ingenio, sed citius pecunia Comparantur omnia). From 1655, this house was owned by Marcin Martens, a carpenter, possibly a relative of a Dutchman Willem Martens (Mertens, Mertensone, Martinson), who purchased stone and marbles for Sigismund III Vasa between 1618-1619.
Huge profits from grain trade, which was exported from Gdańsk the king and nobles spend on luxury goods commissioned or purchased in different parts of Europe (the Royal Granary in Gdańsk, designed by Abraham van den Blocke, was built by Jan Strakowski in about 1621). Descriptions in the registers of movable property belonging to the nobility often provide information about the place of origin of works of art. They show that they came mostly from abroad (for example, silverware mainly from Augsburg, textiles from France, Italy or the East, furniture and clocks from France) (after "Kolekcjonerstwo w Polsce ..." by Andrzej Rottermund, p. 40). Sigismund III conducted extensive diplomatic correspondence with the rulers of the Southern Netherlands on artistic matters, e.g. concerning stone elements forged on the Meuse River on the basis of patterns delivered directly from Poland. "Archives in Brussels, The Hague and Gdańsk reveal the names of Dutch stonemasons and commercial agents working for Sigismund III. In this context, one can even talk about a well-organized and efficiently functioning trade network between both regions of Europe" (after "Dostawy mozańskiego kamienia budowlanego ..." by Ryszard Szmydki).
The king's second wife, Constance, with due care for financial matters, managed the royal court and the lands of her dowry. In 1623 she visited Gdańsk for the first time and a year later for 600,000 zlotys, she acquired Żywiec and made this possession the private property of the House of Vasa, because the monarchs in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were generally prohibited from acquiring land. She diligently engaged in charity, patronized poets and painters and composer Asprilio Pacelli taught her to sing.
Constance was also notoriously famous for her great Catholic piety, intolerance towards other religions and favor towards German speakers, she also attached great importance to strict etiquette, following the Spanish-Habsburg model (after "Dynastia Wazów w Polsce" by Stefania Ochmann-Staniszewska, p. 128). As an example, in Jastrowie, which was part of her dower, the queen asked her husband to confiscate the temple from heretics and in Żywiec, she issued a privilage (on March 5, 1626 in Warsaw), forbidding Jews to trade and live in her city. The queen also arranged marriages of her German ladies-in-waiting with Catholic nobles, thus, representatives of the nobility who professed Protestantism and Orthodoxy and wanting to make a career at court had to convert to Catholicism. All this contributed to her great unpopularity in multireligious and multicultural country.
Among her artistic agents was Augsburg goldsmith and merchant Simon Peyerle, who took care of sending items inherited by Urszula Meyerin from her mother from Munich to Warsaw as well as large painting inherited by Queen Constance, after the death of her uncle, the Duke of Bavaria (after "Świat ze srebra ..." by Agnieszka Fryz-Więcek, p. 32). Through him, she acquired large amounts of jewelry. It is worth noting that at that time paintings were almost at the very end of the hierarchy, listed among household tools and kitchen utensils and after jewels, parade weapons, silver vessels, decorative fabrics, which were considered the most valuable (after "Kolekcjonerstwo w Polsce ..." by Andrzej Rottermund, p. 40).
A small cabinet painting with the Allegory of merchant justice from the first quarter of the 17th century in the National Museum in Warsaw (oil on panel, 37.7 x 28, M.Ob.181 MNW), comes from the collection of Piotr Fiorentini (1791-1858) in Warsaw. The female figure with scales and a sword, a commonly accepted personification of Justice, sits among objects related to trade (weights, barrels, packaged goods, a large scale in the background). The woman has a little crown on her head and her face features with protruding lower lip (Habsburg jaw) resemble other effigies of Constance of Austria. The style of the painting refers strongly to that of Gortzius Geldorp.
Another painting very much in the style of Geldorp from the Fiorentini collection in the same museum is the portrait of a young lady, aged 21, dated '1590' (oil on panel, 45.2 x 34.4 cm, M.Ob.196 MNW). Her face and costume resemble greatly that of Hortensia del Prado (d. 1627) from her two portraits by Geldorp in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, one dated '1596' (SK-A-2072) and the other '1599' (SK-A-2081). Hortensia, a noblewoman of Spanish descent as her surname indicates, was first married to the merchant Jean Fourmenois and after his death she married Peter Courten in Cologne. The couple settled in Middelburg in the south-western Netherlands, where they lived in Het Grote Huis in Lange Noordstraat, which Courten had commissioned and Hortensia had a beautiful garden with fruit trees "from all foreign lands", plants "from every foreign shore", described by poet Jacob Cats. Portrait of a man by Gortzius Geldorp from the collection of Jan Popławski, identified as depicting a noble Jacques du Mont, shows him in a large ruff from the first quarter of the 17th century (National Museum in Warsaw, inventory number M.Ob.2415 MNW, earlier 35817). It is possible that both portraits found their way to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth shortly after being painted as gifts for contractors or friends.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as personification of Justice by Gortzius Geldorp or follower, 1605-1625, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hortensia del Prado (1569-1627), aged 21 by Gortzius Geldorp or workshop, 1590, National Museum in Warsaw.
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. Most likely on the occasion of his marriage to Margaret of Savoy in Turin in 1608, Pourbus or his workshop created a miniature portrait of Francesco Gonzaga, the eldest son of Duke Vincenzo I (sold as a "Portrait of a mustachioed young man" by Italian school at Gallery Bassenge in Berlin, Auction 113, lot 6003). 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.
Miniature portrait of Francesco Gonzaga (1586-1612) by workshop of Frans Pourbus the Younger, ca. 1608, Private collection.
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), identified 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). Ogiński was portraited by Bol at the time of his studies in the Netherlands. This effigy bearing the inscription MO / STR (bottom right), identified as "Marcjan Ogiński / Starost of Trakai", and showing him in a fur hat is in a private collection (after "O amerykańskich polonikach Rembrandta ..." by Zdzisław Żygulski, p. 49).
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.
Portrait of Marcjan Aleksander Ogiński (1632-1690) in a fur hat by Ferdinand Bol, 1650s, Private collection.
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 identified 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, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 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 identified 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. This painting comes from the collection of the Krosnowski family in Saint Petersburg (formed in the years 1888-1917), donated to the Polish state and transported to Poland under the regulations of the Treaty of Riga (1921).
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.
A man with a mustache in an oriental costume, very similar to the woman in the mentioned portraits, was depicted in another painting in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw (oil on panel, 23.5 x 18.5 cm, inventory number 131229 MNW). It was transferred by the Central Board of Museums and Monuments Preservation in 1949 (after "Early Netherlandish, Dutch, Flemish and Belgian Paintings 1494–1983" by Hanna Benesz and Maria Kluk, Vol. 2, item 923). The style of this small effigy is similar to that of the portraits which could be attributed to Maerten van Couwenburgh. Consequently the man should be identified as Elżbieta's brother Bogusław Jerzy Słuszka, who died after January 9, 1658. Together with his brother Eustachy Adam, who at a very young age became a courtier of Ladislaus IV, he went to study abroad. In 1637 he was matriculated at the University of Ingolstadt, and after return he become the starost of Rechytsa (1639), Lithuanian Pantler (1643) and Lithuanian Court Treasurer (1645).
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.
Portrait of Bogusław Jerzy Słuszka by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1640s, 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 identified 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 identified 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 Giacinto Campana from Bologna, who worked at the Polish court until at least 1646. Recommended by the former apostolic nuncio to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Bishop Antonio Santacroce (1599-1641) and the new nuncio Mario Filonardi (1594-1644), the painter came to Warsaw from Rome via Venice in the spring of 1637. 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. It was most likely Campana who created a copy of Guido Reni's Cupids fighting putti from the Czartoryski collection (inventory number MNK XII-228). The original by Reni, today in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, was created in about 1625.
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.
Cupids fighting putti by Giacinto Campana after Guido Reni, ca. 1637-1650, Czartoryski Museum.
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, identified 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 identified 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 Alexander Louis Radziwill by Peter Danckers de Rij
In 1642, after the death of his older brother Sigismund Charles Radziwill (1591-1642), Knight Hospitaller, Alexander Louis Radziwill (1594-1654), Grand Marshal of Lithuania, inherited the Nesvizh ordynacja (entail), becoming the 5th ordynat. Alexander Louis was the youngest son of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616). He studied in Nesvizh and Germany, then traveled around France and Italy. The favorite residence of the landowner and his wife, Tekla née Wołłowicz, was the palace in Biała Radziwiłłowska (Podlaska), where after 1622 he built a lavish palace to design by Lublin architect Paolo Negroni (Paweł de Szate), called Murzyn (the Black Man). In Nesvizh, around 1650, Alexander Louis added two gallery wings connecting the palace wings.
Inventories of 1650 and 1658 present the furnishings of the Radziwill Castle. According to the most complete inventory from 1658, portraits constituted the largest collection of paintings in Nesvizh. In the dining room of the palace, there were 31 portraits of "old princes their Highnesses Radziwills, Szydłowieckis, Wołłowicz and other senators who used to visit this room", including a full-length portrait of Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan". The second portrait gallery was located in the "great hall", in the second building of the castle complex. It consisted of 14 "standing paintings of the Szydłowiecki counts, various figures rendered in oil" (after "Monumenta variis Radivillorum ..." by Tadeusz Bernatowicz, p. 18).
The inventory from 1650 list a portrait of a "lord of Vilnius", probably Janusz I Radziwill (1579-1620), and royal portraits placed behind a curtain at the door to the chapel, i.e. in the sacrum circle. Similar collections were in other residences of the Radziwills - the castles in Mir, Olyka and Szydłowiec, palaces and houses in Warsaw, Vilnius, Grodno, Kraków, Lviv and Gdańsk.
Alexander Louis died in Bologna in 1654, where he went for treatment. His son, Michael Casimir, moved the coffin with the prince's body to Nesvizh and buried it in the ancestral crypt of the Jesuit church.
In the former Radziwill palace at Nieborów, between Warsaw and Łódź, there is portrait of a man, attibuted to Dutch school and dated to about 1640-1660, incorporated into the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw in 1945 (oil on canvas, 75 x 64.5 cm, inventory number NB 974 MNW). It was mentioned in the catalogue of the collection of Alexander Louis' descendant Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł (1744-1831), exhibited in Królikarnia near Warsaw in 1835, as by Flemish school: "310. Portrait of a man with a white Spanish beard, wearing a white collar, chain hanging around his neck. Painted on canvas". The style of the painting resemble greatly the works by Peter Danckers de Rij, court painter of King Ladislaus IV Vasa, especially the portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) with forget-me-nots (National Museum in Warsaw), created between 1649-1652, and signed works of the painter - portrait of a young man as a hunter (Rijksmuseum, signed and dated: AETATI SVI. 23 / ANº. 1635. / P. Danckerse fecit), portrait of Court Marshal Adam Kazanowski (Wawel Royal Castle, signed: P Donckers fecit / AETATI[S] SVAE 44) and portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (Gripsholm Castle, signed and dated: Peter Danckers fecit Aº 1643). The costume and pose of the sitter resemble the effigies of Alexander Louis' cousin Albert Stanislaus Radziwill (1593-1656) from the 1640s (National Art Museum of Belarus), portrait of Nikolaus Hübner, counsellor of Toruń, dated '1644' (District Museum in Toruń) and portrait of Giovanni Ambrogio Rosate (1557-1651), a Milanese silk merchant, dated '1650' (Ospedale Maggiore in Milan). The man depicted bear a strong resemblence to Alexander Louis from his effigies in the National Museum in Warsaw (MP 4771 MNW, Gr.Pol.10095/102 MNW), created in the 18th century after original from the 1630s, and in the State Hermitage Museum (ОР-45869), created between 1646 and 1653.
Portrait of Alexander Louis Radziwill (1594-1654), Grand Marshal of Lithuania by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1650, Nieborów Palace.
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 identified 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.
Palace of Jerzy Ossoliński in Warsaw
The palace was built between 1639-1642 by Lorenzo de Sent for the Grand Crown Chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński in Mannerist style. It was constructed on the plan of an elongated rectangle with two hexagonal towers at garden side of the building. The palace was crowned with a terrace with a balustrade, above which stood the upper part of the great representative hall, covered with a spherical roof. A possible inspiration for the palace's upper pavilion and its characteristic roof was Bonifaz Wohlmut's reconstruction of Queen Anne's Summer Palace in Prague, 1557-1563.
Adam Jarzębski, styling himself as Musician of His Highness Ladislaus IV and manager of the construction of the royal palace at Ujazdów, in his "Short Description of Warsaw" (The Main Road, or a Short Description of Warsaw) from 1643, described the residence of Jerzy Ossoliński:
Facade with statues of four kings, below inscriptions and a brass statue of Poland holding a sickle, with a plow and a sheaf and marble portal (2427-2435), in the middle of a building a hall covered with roof tiles with gilded brass statues in the corners (2445-2450),
Elongated outbuilding with servant lodgings and a kitchen (2711-2713), stables building opposit with a gate (2720-2725),
Vestibule with marble portals and iron doors of master craftsmanship (2505-2508), and a staircase with a grille and a large, solid lock (2520-2525),
Large dining room (2465) with niches with statues of white marble and a brass statue of a Cupid holding a bow above the door, chandelier and tapestries (2475-2485), with a door to a wine cellar (2491) and a room with silver and gold tableware (2495-2496),
Hall with upper windows and a fireplace of black highly polished marble with equestrian portrait of king Ladislaus IV Vasa on white horse against a battle scene (2527-2538), a row of family portraits by painter Hans (?) Amman, and paintings reproducing the epic tales of the ancestors, including a story of a knight wounded during a jousting tournament who was healed by Saint Anne, other stories and battle scenes, above busts of Roman Emperors of white marble (2553-2570), stucco trees in corners, most probably by Giovanni Battista Falconi, ceiling decorated with figures, animals and floral motifs and a painting depicting coronation of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria in presence of chancellor Ossoliński, door portals of black marble with portiere tapestries with Topór (the Axe) coat of arms (2575-2600), polished marble floor (2605-2607),
Lord's chambers with tapestries, French-style parade bed, tables with gold trinkets and silverware and decorative clocks beside the bed, coffers, fireplace adorned with a mosaic (2611-2632),
Cabinet of curiosities in a right side tower with bronze statues of different horses, birds and people (2635-2644), silver plated cupboard-cabinet with gold inscriptions describing the contents of each drawer (2649-2652), marble table with rarities on it (2659-2662),
Chapel in the left side tower with an altar with an exquisite painting, relics in glass vessels, offered by the Pope, silver coffer reliquary with bones bound by gold chains, wax miniatures, a table with a casket and a door to a staircase (2667-2692).
In 1633 Ossoliński was sent with a diplomatic mission to the Pope in Rome by newly elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ladislaus IV Vasa. The King offered him the starostwo of Bydgoszcz, 60,000 zlotys, six horses, a saber (scimitar) worth 10,000 zlotys, five Brussels' tapestries making up the series of the Story of Moses commissioned by King Sigismund Augustus in the 1550s, three of which were given to the Pope, and a construction site in Warsaw.
An event from 1633 is also worth mentioning when Ossoliński, traveling to Rome via Veneto, fascinated by the beauty of one of the villas near Padua, ordered to immediately take its dimensions. He made his entry to Eternal City wearing a żupan, richly embroidered with gold, buttoned up with 20 large buttons with diamonds, gold sabre set with jewels valued at 20,000 Polish zlotys and mounting a Turkish stallion having golden horseshoes and a horse tack set with precious stones.
In 1638 a life-size statue was cast in brass by Gerdt Benning in Gdańsk according to the design by Georg Münch for then the vice-chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński, most probably to his Castle in Ossolin. It is possible that the same workshop created statues to his Warsaw's palace.
Contrary to the Crown Court Marshall Adam Kazanowski, who had a transgender man at his court, the Chancellor Ossoliński kept a transgender woman in his palace: "a boy who thinks he is a girl, and who also wears a dress: He imitates a girl quite well; especially in that, he is very eager of being cuddled", as recounted Jean Le Laboureur in his "Account of the voyage of the Queen of Poland", published in Paris in 1647 (p. 212).
An engraved effigy of the Chancellor by Willem Hondius from 1648 was created after a portrait by Bartholomäus Strobel. It is possible then that Strobel created more painting for Ossoliński, including for his Warsaw's residence.
In 1645 the chancellor commissioned the silver-ebony altar for the Chapel of Black Madonna of Częstochowa adorned with his coat of arms. The design was most probably by a Royal court artist Giovanni Battista Gisleni, while silver elements were created by the Royal goldsmith Johann Christian Bierpfaff in Warsaw in 1650.
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 from Chancellor's rich collection inherited by his daughter Helena Tekla Ossolińska, wife of Aleksander Michał Lubomirski, owner of the Wiśnicz Castle. 30 paintings from Chancellor's collection in the inventory include the paintings by Raphael, Titian, Guido Reni, Guercino, Domenichino, Veronese, Ribera, Albrecht Dürer and Daniel Seghers. There were also there a painting of the Leda and a swan, a gift from the Emperor, a Cupid sharpening his bow, possibly a copy of the famous work by Parmigianino, acquired in Rome, a "large Blessed Virgin Mary, a wreath around her made of fruits, which the angels holds", most probably by duo of Rubens and Jan Brueghel, and a large canvas showing Chancellor's Entry into Rome in 1633.
Ossoliński died in his palace in Warsaw on August 9, 1650, at the age of 55. He was buried in the church of St. Joseph in Klimontów, which he built. His opulent palace in Warsaw was destroyed during the invasion of the Commonwealth by neighbouring countries, known as the Deluge (1655-1660).
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Palace of Adam Kazanowski in Warsaw
Adam Jarzębski, styling himself as Musician of His Highness Ladislaus IV and manager of the construction of the royal palace at Ujazdów, in his "Short Description of Warsaw" (The Main Road, or a Short Description of Warsaw) from 1643, dedicated to his benefactor Crown Court Marshall Adam Kazanowski, thoroughly described the residence of this baroque celebrity.
Kazanowski gained prominence as a close friend and companion of crown prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, who was elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1632 as Ladislaus IV. Together with his brother, Stanisław Kazanowski, Adam was raised with crown prince and accompanied him during his attempt to become a Russian Tsar, in the Khotyn war of 1621 and the 1624 to 1625 European voyage. A breakthrough event for Adam was when his elder brother Stanisław, favourite of crown prince, attacked with syphilis was expelled from the court for promiscuity in 1620. Zygmunt Kazanowski, father of both, had great hopes for the relationship of his older son and young Vasa. Faced with the threat of his imminent death, he persuaded the sick to recommend his younger brother to the prince. Both brothers were accused by Jerzy Ossoliński in his Memoirs of organizing "suspicious" amusements for young prince. When the crown prince became king, Adam was showered with gifts and new official titles.
In 1628, at the age of about 29, Kazanowski decided to get married. He chose Elżbieta Słuszczanka, a daughter of wealthy Castellan of Minsk, Aleksander Słuszko, for the future bride. The marriage meant for him not only a substantial dowry, but also valuable connections in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Aleksander Słuszko dismissed the suitor, justifying the refusal with his daughter's young age, as Elżbieta was then only 9 years old. However, thanks to the intervention of the crown prince, Aleksander Słuszko changed his mind. The wedding took place in the spring of 1633, when Elżbieta has reached the legal age of 14. Adam, who also became the Grand Pantler of the Crown that year, gained 50,000 zlotys of dowry. In addition, the young couple received 20,000 zlotys from the king and the value of the gifts was estimated at 40,000 zlotys.
When crown prince Ladislaus Sigismund became an adolescent, his father Sigismund III Vasa bought him a wooden mansion of Andrzej Bobola at the Cracow Suburb Street in Warsaw. In 1628, shortly after his return from a journey to Western Europe, the prince ordered Constantino Tencalla a court architect to build him a new palace in the Italian style. Four yers later, in 1632, Ladislaus gave the palace to Kazanowski, which caused serious misunderstanding with his father, and a special Parliament committee was appointed to determine the circumstances behind this gesture. In 1637, Kazanowski enlarged the building, holding to Tencalla's original designs. The new structure was a large four-storied palace with a garden, enormous terrace, central courtyard, copper roofs and tower tops decorated with gilded crowns.
629 verses (1025-1654) of Jarzębski's work portray the lavish mannerist and early baroque palace constructed between 1628 and 1643 in the center of informal capital of the Commonwealth:
Large arsenal filled with cannons, muskets, excellent armors, tents and turkish garments, lances and spears arranged on the walls, field guns, matchlocks and a skin of a lioness (1057-1066),
Long gallery filled with paintings on both sides with nudes above the table, portraits of the King Ladislaus IV Vasa and his wife Cecilia Renata of Austria, painted Ad vivium and noble ladies, stone statue of Atlas supporting the armillary sphere on the table in the middle (1095-1108),
Small arbor room adjacent to gallery with a French window, columns, stone floor and a view of the river Vistula (1121-1127),
Dining room with windows on two storeys, a large chandelier with a clock showing hours, a balcony for musicians and Flemish tapestries woven with golden thread (1131-1153), chairs covered with gilded cordovan, plaques with coat of arms of the Lords and Marshals between windows in upper part and landscape paintings and cordovan in lower part, tile stove (1177-1187), window with a wine lift from basement, a large silver wine vessel of 150 litres on wheels in the shape of Bacchus wearing a wreath, sitting on a barrel and holding a goblet, several other barrels half the size of the main and a silver wine fountain in the middle of the room, silver ewers, pitchers and trays (1188-1214), the King and the Queen, envoys of Muscovy, of Emperor, of the King of Spain, of Turkey, of France and of Persia were entertained here (1162-1171),
Vaulted steam baths near the coach house with two chambers, hot stone, heating house, cold and hot water, copper bathtubs and white benches (1255-1272),
Room on upper floor covered with cordovan, with a fireplace, marble portals with gold inscriptions, statues in overdoor (1305-1318) and muskets on the walls (1323),
Rooms with paintings and tapestries: animalistic paintings and still-lifes with vegetables by master painters in the first, next room with staircase, seascapes and paintings of ships, casket regals, a harpsichord, a lute, a violin, cymbals, a viol and a harp and doors hung with portieres (1325-1343), next room with live animals, monkey on a chain, white parrot, singing birds in cages, still life paintings with fruits and wines, tapestries, a fireplace and a marble table (1349-1364),
Lord's bedroom with a table, a painting of Adam and Eve, a bed against tapestries, good paintings, a fireplace and marble floor, a folding bench with wheels (1381-1392), trellis giving to the chapel, altar with gilded grille and a window to the ladies' room (1365-1376),
Lord's study with a mirror, angels' statues holding candles, paintings, tapestries and polished marble floor (1407-1418),
Library with foreign books in different languages, khanjar daggers on the table, daggers set with turquoises, gold bowls and rock crystal vessels (1425-1431),
Lady's rooms, in one of them tortoiseshell caskets, pendant paintings, one with an old man with a sore eye, tapestries and looms (1437-1449), bedroom covered with goldcloth, a draped bed made of a rich fabric, mirror in silver frame above the table, the other in gold plated frame, automaton clock with a man, paintings in ebony frames, marble floor and marble table (1457-1469), a bedroom with a bed of green goldcloth with fringe and a portrait of mother of Her Majesty, Zofia Konstancja Zenowicz, in the next room in the corner of the palace a portrait of father of Her Majesty, Aleksander Słuszka, in his old age above the door, in both rooms marble fireplaces, tables covered with kilims and marble floors (1473-1495),
Treasury on the groundfloor, the first room filled with guns: bird shotguns, Turkish trench guns, carabins, muskets and Italian pistols, laid with gold and silver, tables covered with Persian kilims (1508-1520), treasury room with gilded stuff set with turquoises, eastern backswords, gold sabres, gold and gilded saddles and horse tacks, sable coats, large trays and ewers in boxes and antique treasures, snake skin and a turtle from India (1530-1561),
Belvedere room with grille with a view of a garden (1579-1582), wine basement with barrels of wine, mild, sweet and spicy (1590-1596), and a beer basement (1601), in the room above a workshop of Dutch painters (1603-1608), next a room with silverware (1612), and a room with hunting falcons (1613), marble pantry with venison, partridges (1641-1645) and a room of captive Muslim Tatar servants (1649-1651).
Three years later, in 1646, Jean Le Laboureur, a companion of the French Ambassador Extraordinaire to Poland, Renée du Bec-Crespin, comtesse de Guébriant, visited the palace and described it in his "Account of the voyage of the Queen of Poland", published in Paris in 1647. He devoted five pages of his book to the building:
Five or six large chambers and several smaller rooms, filled with silk and gold oriental fabrics, beds of gold fabric, cabinets of uncommon workmanship, tables with different items of gold, silver, amber and stones (p. 211).
Large room with marble floor, as the rest of the lodgings, with a large wine fountain, made of silver in the middle, large platform above the door for the musicians, table with 80 silver-gilt Italian style tazzas (four rows of twenty each) with dried fruit, large pears in sugar, oranges, lemons, melons (p. 213), buffet with extraordinary gold and silver vessels, including Bacchus "of a natural height" sitting on a silver barrel with gold wheels, rock crystal glasses with silver-gilt mountings, Elżbieta Słuszczanka was dancing here with her brother Bogusław Jerzy Słuszka, Court Treasurer of Lithuania and marquis Gonzaga Myszkowski with his wife (p. 214).
Kazanowski, struck by the sudden invasion of gout, welcomed the guests at the staircase of his palace carried in a litter (p. 210), accompanied by 300 armed guards, more than 50 pages dressed in yellow satin and short jackets of blue satin, his wife and her ladies (p. 211).
In one of the chambers Le Laboureur noted "two extraordinarily small female dwarfs who were standing up like a sentry, to guard two small dogs, who were not less dwarf in their species, for they are the size of a mice, and both were resting in a white basket little larger than the hand, on a pillow of perfumed satin", while the ladies of Elżbieta Słuszczanka had a transgender man, a woman who behaved like a man, "for their entertainment" (p. 212). In 1643 Kazanowski also arranged a marriage of dwarfs, "an unheard wedding, full of laughter", according to Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł.
Following her visit, Kazanowski and his wife, sent to Madame de Guébriant some small amber cabinets and clocks set with diamonds (p. 212).
Little is known about artistic patronage of the Crown Court Marshall. Among confirmed artists at his court was certain Ezechiel Sykora, born in Litomysl in Czechia in 1622, who latinized his family name to Paritius. After Kazanowski's death in 1649 he left Warsaw and went to Silesia. As a żupnik (manager) of the Royal Salt Mines, he commissioned from Gdańsk engraver Willem Hondius in 1645 a series of views of the Wieliczka salt mine.
Kazanowski had also a book of friendship (album amicorum/Stammbuch), wich was in collection of Edward Rastawiecki in Warsaw in 1853. Small oblong book bind in crimson velvet had 125 parchment leaves and majority of contributions from the years of between 1624 and 1625 of his European journey and a few from 1627 to 1644, mainly of ambassadors of the Spanish Empire. During his stay in Brussels in 1624 with the crown prince he received from infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia a gold medallion set with precious stones on a gold chain. It is possible that he intentionally tried to emulate great validos of his time, Duke of Lerma or Count-Duke of Olivares.
Kazanowski died childless in 1649, leaving all his property to his wife Elżbieta. His opulent palace in Warsaw was destroyed during the invasion of the Commonwealth by neighbouring countries, known as the Deluge (1655-1660).
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Mannerist and early baroque royal treasures of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - reconstruction
Before the invasion by neighbouring countries, known as the Deluge (1655-1660), Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ranked among the wealthiest countries in Europe and its monarchs successfully competed with rulers of other nations as patron of arts.
"Oriental" and "Muscovy" crown of Sigismund III Vasa
King Sigismund III Vasa, elected monarch of the multicultural Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was known for his refined artistic taste inherited from the Jagiellons and his grandmother Queen Bona Sforza. He commissioned the most exquisite works of art not only in Europe, but also in Persia. In 1601, the king sent Sefer Muratowicz an Armenian merchant from Warsaw to Persia, where he ordered carpets woven with silk and gold, a tent and swords from Damascus steel and other luxury items. Safavid kilims with coat of arms of Sigismund III Vasa (Polish Eagle with Vasa sheaf) preserved in many collections.
The king was so pleased with the results of Muratowicz's expedition that after his return on October 26, 1602, he gave him the title of servitoris ac negotiatoris and obliged him in the future to present all goods brought to Poland from Turkey and Persia, before they were put up for sale, at the royal court, so that he could choose those he liked the most (after "Sztuka islamu w Polsce w XVII i XVIII wieku" by Tadeusz Mańkowski, p. 25). Sigismund III had a particularly rich collection of oriental arms and Persian or Turkish kalkan shield from the Lubomirski collection in Kruszyna was, according to tradition, the property of the king (Wawel Royal Castle). Mechti Kuli Beg, Ambassador of Shah Abbas of Persia, participated in the king's wedding in Kraków in 1605 and Robert Shirley (d. 1628), sent by the shah on a diplomatic mission to European princes, was received solemnly by Sigismund at the Sejm in Warsaw on February 25, 1609.
Most probably in Italy the king ordered partially gilded shishak, an oriental-style steel helmet with Hercules killing the Lernean hydra on one side and Hercules fighting Antaeus on the other as well as coat of arms of Muscovy, as a gift to Tsar Feodor I of Russia, handed over by Ambassador Paweł Sapieha in 1591 (Kremlin Museum). In Milan in Italy or in Prague he commissioned the crystal lavabo with his coat of arms and monogram (Treasury of the Munich Residence) and in Augsburg in Germany a silver service for 20,000 florins for the ceremony of receiving the Order of the Golden Fleece (used for the first time during a banquet at the Castle in Warsaw on February 25, 1601) and many other precious items. In Flanders and the Netherlands he purchased tapestries, like 6 pieces with the Story of Diana by workshop of François Spierincx in Delft, in about 1611-1615, paintings in Venice, like the Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. Stanislaus by Palma il Giovane for the St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, before 1618, amber items in Gdańsk and Königsberg, like amber games board of Queen Anne of Denmark and other amber gifts, sent to England in 1607 through English envoy in Poland William Bruce.
The orders for works of art were related to important dates in king's life. In 1605 he spent large sums for his wedding including costly dresses emboidered with pearls. The bride was a younger sister of his first wife Anna, Constance of Austria (1588-1631), on paternal and maternal side a descendant of Anna Jagellonica (1503-1547). In July 1604, Sigismund sent letters to senators, in which he informed that Emperor Rudolf II did not give his consent for his marriage to Anna of Tyrol (1585-1618), and at the same time informed the lords of the Commonwealth of his intention to marry Constance (after "Najsłynniejsze miłości królów polskich" by Jerzy Besala, p. 169). That same year Joseph Heintz (or Heinz) the Elder, court painter of the emperor, who lived and worked in Rome, Venice, Prague and Augsburg (from 1604), created two portraits of the bride with her favourite monkey. One, less favorable, was originally probably in her family's castle in Graz (Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, inventory number 9452), the other in green dress, a color being symbolic of fertility, was sold in London in 1969 and later acquired by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown (inventory number 1982.127). Many objects from the collection of King John II Casimir Vasa, Constance's son, sold in Paris, found its place in England, including most probably this portrait of his mother. Around that time Heintz created also a copy of portrait of Queen Bona Sforza (1494-1557), Sigismund III's grandmother, as Salome by Lucas Cranach the Elder (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, 862), identified by me, and a portrait of Sigismund III himself (Alte Pinakothek in Munich, 11885), signed: J. Heintzen F. / SIGISMVNDVS .../REX POLONIAE/ & SVECIAE ... on a letter on the table. The portrait of the king was before 1929 in the Schleissheim Palace near Munich, therefore it was was most probably a gift from Sigismund to William V (1548-1626), Duke of Bavaria, like the silver reliquary of Saints John the Baptist and Dionysius the Areopagite, created in 1602 for Tsar Boris Godunov and his son and given to William V in 1614 by the Polish king (Treasury of the Munich Residence, 63).
The portrait shows the king with a crown, which was most probably also created around that time, possibly for the coronation of the new queen. Like the portrait, it was made either in Prague or in Augsburg, as Heintz's presence in Poland-Lithuania is not confirmed in sources. However, it cannot be ruled out that the painter or one of his students traveled to Kraków, Warsaw or Vilnius at that time to bring to Poland the portrait of the bride and the crown. Just two years earlier, in 1602, the crown of Emperor Rudolf II, a major work of European goldsmithery was made in Prague by Jan Vermeyen from Brussels (d. 1606), as a private crown for the emperor. Sigismund's crown resemble slightly the crown of Rudolf II (side view), therefore it was most probably created by the same author, nevertheless, it is in many respects atypical of Polish-Lithuanian and European monarchs in general. Unlike the crown seen in the portraits of Queen Anne of Austria (1573-1598) by Martin Kober (1595), only one rim is visible instead of two and the globe and a cross on their intersection is replaced with a pearl or a sharply cut diamond in the form evoking a pyramid, so-called diamatus punctatus. Rudolf II was depicted with his new crown in some effigies (portrait by Hans von Aachen in Apsley House, WM.1509-1948 and engraving in the State Graphic Collection in Munich, 241589D), as well as his successor Matthias (engraving by Aegidius Sadeler in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-5021) in which some differences with the original are visible, however, despite the fact that no other image of Sigismund's crown is known we cannot attribute it to the fantasy of a painter.
Also, the overall shape of described crown is unusual and resemble more the crowns visible in Persian and Indian miniatures. Similar diadems with bent petals can be found in the investiture scene of Malik-Shah I, sultan of the Great Seljuk Empire, from the 14th-century book "Jami' al-tawarikh" (Edinburgh University Library), an illustrated leaf from a manuscript of Nizami's "Khamsa": Bahram Gur entertained in the red pavilion, created in Isfahan, Persia in the mid-17th century (private collection) or a miniature painted between 1610-1618 by Bichitr, an Indian painter during the Mughal period, and showing Moinuddin Chishti, a Persian preacher holding a globe (Chester Beatty Library in Dublin). The oriental style crown visible in king's portrait, as a private possession of the House of Vasa, was most probably melted down during the turbulent reign of his son John II Casimir Vasa, melted and material reused by Sigismund himself who was a talented goldsmith or offered as a gift to someone before 1623, as it was not mentioned in the king's last will from May 5. On May 11, 1606 the gifts from the king were presented to Tsaritsa Marina Mniszech in Moscow - 30 very valuable vessels, while the king's envoy Mikołaj Oleśnicki (1558-1629), castellan of Małogoszcz offered many pieces of jewellery "from himself and from his Wife", including "a crown with pearls, diamonds and rubies" (after "Dzieje panowania Zygmunta III, króla polskiego" by Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Volume 2, 1819, p. 569). The crown visible in the portrait by Heintz was also set with pearls, diamonds and rubies. It is therefore highly possible that Oleśnicki and his wife purchased the oriental crown from Sigismund as a gift for Marina.
Another "oriental" insignia that entered the collection of Sigismund III Vasa around that time was the so-called Muscovy crown. This crown was supposedly sent to the king by False Dmitry after his coronation as Tsar of Russia in 1605 or it was made in Poland around 1610, after the election of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund (later Ladislaus IV), Sigismund III's son, as tsar (after "Klejnoty w Polsce: czasy ostatnich Jagiellonów i Wazów" by Ewa Letkiewicz, p. 139). Ladislaus bequeathed the crown to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's State Treasury, but after the king's death in 1648 his brother and successor John II Casimir ordered the insignia to be melted down into coins.
One of the gems from the original crown became the property of Jan Kazimierz Krasiński (1607-1669), Grand Treasurer of the Crown. In the 19th century it was given to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia with a piece of parchment with the inscription in Latin EX CORONA MOSCOVIAE and found its place in the collections of the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow (inventory number ДК-752). The jewel is a double-faced sapphire icon-cameo with Christ Enthroned and Golgotha's Cross, attributed to a Byzantine artist from the 15th century. Sigismund III was depicted with the "crown taken in Moscow" on his head (after "Dzieje panowania Zygmunta III, króla polskiego" by Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Volume 2, 1819, p. 557) in a painting attributed to Christian Melich (Wawel Royal Castle). The painting represent the king on his death-bed displayed in the Guard Chamber at the Royal Castle in Warsaw in 1632. It was also depicted in a portrait of Sigismund's successor Ladislaus IV Vasa, attributed to Pieter Soutman and painted in about 1634, therefore created in Haarlem where the painter returned in 1628. The king was portrayed in a pourpoint lavishly adorned with laces and a high crown with a cross at the top on a table beside him (National Museum in Warsaw, 186555). Although Ladislaus was not crowned, he was officially elected and recognized as the Tsar of Muscovy in 1610 and used the title of Grand Duke of Muscovy until 1634. The crown was mentioned in Sigismund III's last will and testament made on May 5, 1623 in Warsaw as part of his successor's inheritance. The will also include "a golden basin with ewer with the Muscovy coats of arms, bought from the soldiers" left to king's wife Constance of Austria.
The number of West European-style works of art and portraits connected with Tsar False Dmitry I, suggest that he purchased and ordered directly such items. His beautiful armour created between 1605-1606 in Milan by Pompeo della Cesa is in the Military History Museum in Saint Petersburg and a silver pocket watch with an eagle, possibly owned by Dmitriy, made by German or Polish workshop is in the Moscow Kremlin. At the beginning of January 1606 arrived to Kraków Jan Buczynski, secretary of the tsar, with the mission to acquire jewels for his patron. Several merchants from Kraków and Lviv, as well as jewellers Mikołaj Siedmiradzki and Giovanni Ambrogio Cellari from Milan, encouraged by the prospect of a large gain, embarked on a journey to Moscow. It was probably one of them who created the scepter (Moscow Kremlin, R-18) and orb (R-15), later owned by Tsar Michael I (1596-1645). The style of the orb resemble the mentioned crown of Sigismund III depicted in a portrait of his first wife Anna by Martin Kober. In 1606 Philip II Holbein "a court servant and agent in Augsburg" of Sigismund III, who as S.R.M. jubilerus was present in Kraków in 1605, delivered a considerable number of valuables to the court of False Dmitry I (after "Philip II Holbein – złotnik i agent artystyczny Zygmunta III ..." by Jacek Żukowski, p. 23). Holbein also worked for Emperor Rudolf II, and then - Emperor Matthias. It is possible that Dmitry's emissaries arrived also to Augsburg and Hamburg in Germany.
A drawing from Album Amicorum of merchant and banker from Augsburg Philipp Hainhofer (1578-1647), who created the famous so-called Pomeranian Curiosity Cabinet (Pommerscher Kunstschrank) for Duke Philip II of Pomerania, is a copy of a painting by Szymon Boguszowicz depicting the reception of the Polish envoys by Tsar False Dmitriy I in 1606 (Herzog August Library and Hungarian National Museum). Among the designs for the crowns by Hamburg goldsmith Jakob Mores (Mörs) the Elder, who was born around 1540 and lived until around 1612 (after "Archiv Fur Geschichte Des Buchwesens", Volume 65, p. 158) in his "Jewelry book" (Kleinodienbuch, Hamburg State and University Library) there are two crowns which resemble the crown depicted in mentioned portrait of Ladislaus IV by Pieter Soutman, as well as the crowns visible in Coronation of Marina Mniszech in Moscow on May 8, 1606 by Szymon Boguszowicz or follower, created in about 1613 (State Historical Museum in Moscow).
It is generally belived that these are designs for the crown of Rudolf II, however the overall shape resemble more the crowns usually associated with Russia (e.g. great imperial crown from 1762) - the "mitre" is more open then in the Rudolf's crown and there is a globe and a cross (globus cruciger) on the intersection of the rims and not a large stone like in the crown created by Vermeyen. A few years earlier, between 1593-1595 Mores created two drawings for the open crown of King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway, which were also included in his "Jewelry book". It was, however, Dirich Fyring and Corvinianus Saur, who between 1595-1596 made the crown for the coronation of Christian IV (Rosenborg Castle), nevertheless the designs by Mores resemble the shape of the final crown. Some pieces of jewellery in Poland are also attributed to Mores or his circle, like hat decorations of Francis of Pomerania (1577-1620), created in about 1600 (National Museum in Szczecin) or a chain of Constance of Austria from the 1600s (Wawel Royal Castle, ZKnW-PZS 1323), while double-headed imperial eagle from the Diamond Robe of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa also created around that time, may have been created by one of the named court goldsmiths for Constance of Austria or Marina Mniszech.
The shape of the mentioned imperial insignia with a smaller crown at the top is also similar to the Cap from the Grand Set of Tsar Michael I, created by Moscow Kremlin workshops in 1627. It is also possible that the smaller crown in the "Jewelry book" is not a variant, but the insignia intended for the coronation of Marina Mniszech.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa with the "oriental" crown by Joseph Heintz the Elder, ca. 1604, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Visualization of the "oriental" crown of Sigismund III Vasa by Jan Vermeyen (attributed to), ca. 1604, © Marcin Latka.
Portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa with the so-called "Muscovy" crown by Pieter Soutman, ca. 1634, National Museum in Warsaw.
Design for the so-called "Muscovy" crown by Jakob Mores the Elder, ca. 1605-1610, Hamburg State and University Library.
Design for the so-called "Muscovy" crown or the crown of Marina Mniszech by Jakob Mores the Elder, ca. 1605-1610, Hamburg State and University Library.
Bronze busts of Sigismund III Vasa and Constance of Austria
Although the existence of royal busts is purely hypothetical and not confirmed by sources, the fashion for such antique sculptures, stemming from Italy and Imperial court in Prague and Vienna, udoubtedly found its reflection in the cosmopolitan court of the Vasas in Kraków and Warsaw. Bronze cartouche with coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the Wawel Castle, a full plastic bronze cast that preserved to our days and commissioned by Sigismund III in about 1604 to adorn overdoor in the northern wing of the castle leading to the Senators' Staircase, confirms that the Vasa residences were filled with such items.
In 1624, the Bishop of Kraków, Marcin Szyszkowski, who titled himself "the most faithful servant of the House of Austria" and who together with Zygmunt Myszkowski brought the Queen Constance from Graz to Poland, sponsored a new architectural dome canopy over the reliquary of Saint Stanislaus in the Wawel Cathedral in the style of Roman baroque. It is the work of the royal architect Giovanni Battista Trevano, the same who rebuilt the Royal Castle in Warsaw, made of black and rose marble, gilt-bronze and wood, created in the years 1626-1629. Gilt bronze figures of the Evangelists and Patrons Saints of Poland, flanking the cupola over the canopy, were cast by Antonio Lagostini, active in Kraków from around 1624. In the year of completion of this work, the bishop also ordered a tomb monument for himself in the cathedral near the canopy. According to the letter from Marcin Szyszkowski to Andrzej Łukomski, a Canon of the Cracow Cathedral Chapter, of 20 January 1629, this was also commissioned from Trevano and Lagostini. The model for the cast bronze bust should be attributed to the sculptors related to Trevano, Andrea and Antonio Castelli, sculptors from Lugano, active in Kraków from about 1623.
If existed, the royal busts were undoubtedly made in gilded bronze, just as majority of the similar works preserved in many European countries and Bishop Szyszkowski's bust. The material and its frequent military reuse, would also explain why the works have not preserved, as in case of bronze garden statues of Ladislaus IV's garden of the Villa Regia Palace in Warsaw, which are confirmed in sources. The preserved bronze statue of King Sigismund III at the column, so-called Sigismund Column in Warsaw, was also initially gilded.
The reconstruction is based on royal portrait paintings with Spanish composition from the 1610s created by workshop of court painter Jakob Troschel, which were in the collection of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg before World War II. Both effigies, possibly from dowry of Polish-Lithuanian Princess Anna Catherina Constance Vasa, are highly schematical and idealized, hence facial features are based on more realistic effigies of the royal pair created by other court painters.
Gilded bronze bust of King Sigismund III Vasa, mid-1610s to 1631. Hypothetical reconstruction by Marcin Latka ©. All rights reserved.
Gilded bronze bust of Queen Constance of Austria, mid-1610s to 1631. Hypothetical reconstruction by Marcin Latka ©. All rights reserved.
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Heraldic pendant of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa
Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa was born in Warsaw on August 7th, 1619. She was the only daughter of Sigismund III Vasa and his second wife Constance of Austria that survied the childhood and the youngest of royal pair's children.
Large Spanish style pendants, like the one described here, become less fashionable with the introduction of the French style in the mid-1630s, that prompted frontal brooches. The creation of the pendant could be then closed in the time span between mid-1620s and 1638 when Anna Catherine Constance came of age and came into possession of counties bestowed to her by the parliament. It was also probably in 1638 that Princess' portrait in red Spanish dress with two gold pendants was created (today in the Imperial castle in Nuremberg).
King Sigismund III, himself a talented goldsmith, possibly stood behind the compex emblematic program of this jewel, although it is also possible that it was created long after his death in 1632. Since 1637, a marriage was suggested between Anne Catherine Constance and Ferdinand Charles, Archduke of Austria, heir of Tyrol and nephew of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, and Gaston, Duke of Orléans (brother of King Louis XIII of France), were also candidates for her hand. A jewel stressing splendid dynastic connections and emphasizing vastness of territories ruled by the family would perfectly fit into the Princess' situation at that time. Several heraldic jewels were featured in the official portraits of Anna Catherine Constance's mother Constance of Austria.
Anna Catherine Constance's father Sigismund III Vasa was elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, bi-federation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch in real union, who was both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Since Sigismund's crowning in 1592, Polish Vasas claimed themselves rightful hereditary rulers of Sweden, consequently ignoring Sigismund's dethronement of 1598 by the Swedish parliament.
Anna Catherine Constance finally married Philip William of Neuburg (1615-1690), in Warsaw on 8 June 1642. She brought a considerable dowry in jewels and cash, calculated at a total of 2 million thalers. The inventory of Princess' jewels preserved in the Czartoryski Library in Kraków summarizes their value to 443,289 1/3 hard thalers.
The heraldic pendant is listed 18th in the section Pendants: A diamond pendant with Figures of the late King Sigmunt and Constantia with crowns on their heads, in the middle ruby grain, and beneath white Eagle, at the bottom coat of arms of the Duchy of Lithuania, on the right hand Swedish and on the left hand Austrian; above this ruby grain a yellow Lion with open jaw, in the front two fangs holds Zygmunt and Constantia together, on the sides and on the bottom five carved round hanging diamonds, valued at 2,000 thalers.
It is hard to determine the degree of accuracy of the inventory both in terms of description of items as well as valuation. One "large diamond" in a ring was valued at 30,000 thalers and a ring with "coat of arms of Austria" was valued at only 40 thalers. Also traditionally the Queen was depited to the right and the King to the left, and not like in the description of the pendant, which finds confirmation in Sigismund and Constance's portraiture, as well as location of the royal stalls in the Cathedral of Saint John in Warsaw.
The inventory also includes:
A necklace of 22 parts, among which 11 with a diamond in a middle, 3 square cut, 3 triangle cut, and set with two pearls. Another 11 parts in which a Lion's head in the center having a pearl in its mouth, four diamonds and four pearls set around it. All with a pendant with sixty two cut diamonds, and on top of a Lion's head and six hanging pearls, a gift from the Queen to the Princess, valued at 80,000 thalers;
A pendant in which a Lion with three crowns in the shape of the Swedish coat of arms with twenty-six different diamonds, and three hanging pearls, valued at 150 thalers and
A pendant in which a white Eagle with a large ruby on the chest, three small ruby parts, and three large pearls, valued at 700 thalers.
The inventory also lists A white Eagle, having a coat of arms on his cheast at which two rubies, all set with diamonds, with three hanging pearls, valued at 1,200 thalers, which is most probably identical with "diamond eagle with rubies" of the House of Austria received in 1543 by Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545) from Emperor Charles V on the occasion of her marriage with Sigismund II Augustus of Poland, and preserved in the treasury of the Munich Residence.
Among renowned jewellers of the Vasas in the first half of the 17th century, that could create the work, were Mikołaj Siedmiradzki (ca. 1550-1630) from Lviv in today's Ukraine, who was in service of Sigismund III since 1604, and who in turn employed in his workshop Mikołaj Pasternakowicz and Zygmunt Frączkiewicz. There were also Jean Barbier from Lorraine, active in Kraków from about 1605, who moved to Gdańsk in 1625 and Beniamin Lanier (d. 1630) from Vitry-le-François in north-eastern France, who was active in Kraków from 1606, both court jewellers of Sigismund III. Jakub Burnett from Edinburgh who settled in Lviv in the first half of the 17th century was employed by Ladislaus IV. Members of the family also commissioned jewels abroad, like Prince John Casimir Vasa who in 1643 paid 9000 florins for jewels to Samuel von Sorgen from Vienna and 189 florins "For diamond heart to Mr Jakub jeweller".
Anna Catherine Constance died childless in Cologne on 8 October 1651 and was buried in the church of the Jesuits in Düsseldorf. It is due to purely heraldic character of the jewel, high value of the material and new fashion for more simple jewels that the pendant was most probably melted down, possibly still in the 17th century.
Excerpt from Inventory of Jewels of Her Highness Duchess of Neuburg, Crown Princess of Poland (Spisanie Kleynotów Xiężney Iey Mości Neyburskiey, Królewney Polskiey) by Royal Chancery in Warsaw, 1645, Czartoryski Library in Kraków. Fragment describing Heraldic pendant of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa.
Heraldic pendant of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa, mid-1620s to 1638. Hypothetical reconstruction by Marcin Latka ©. All rights reserved.
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Tapestries with Story of Odysseus
During his stay in Antwerp in 1624, the Crown Prince of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa visited Peter Paul Rubens' workshop, admired Jan Brueghel the Elder's paintings and visited the famous art collection of Cornelis van der Geest. He also went to see the tapissierspand (Tapestry house), on the site of the current Bourla Theater, on September 24, 1624. We visited a house, writes Stefan Pac, in his diary where they sell beautiful and precious tapestries that are sent all over the world. A few days later, on October 5, 1624 Gaspard Nagodt, treasurer of the Prince of Poland, signed a contract with a Brussels' weaver Jacob Geubels the Younger for delivery of ten tapestries representing the Story of Odysseus (Ulysses) of six ells height each (Flemish ell was equal to about 70 cm or 27 inches), interwoven with gold and silver thread. The complete set comprised 594 ells and cost 19,008 florins. On October 12, 1624 another contract was signed for a series called "with greenery" i.e. verdure tapestries or "Landscapes and Bocages in fresco", for 9207 florins.
An Antwerp merchant, Jan Bierens, "agent and domestic of His Highness the Serene Prince Wladislaus Sigismundus, Prince of Poland and Sweden", oversaw the weaving of the tapestries of the Story of Odysseus and verdures that Geubels the Younger made in Brussels. A lawsuit brought by Geubels against Jan Bierens in December 1626 for payment, confirms that at least a part of the commissioned tapestries was ready by this date.
Notations in the archives reveal the existence of the prince's agents, such as mentioned Jan Bierens and Georges Deschamps or the Frenchman Mathieu Rouault. They had to satisfy Ladislaus Sigismund's creditors and ensure that everything was executed and sent to Poland.
Probably due to Prince's financial difficulties the whole set not executed till Geubels' death in 1629 and the commission was accomplished by an unknown workshop.
It is uncertain when the Story of Odysseus and verdure tapestries were dispatched from Antwerp and when they arrived in Poland. Ladislaus Sigismund, the newly elected monarch of the Commonwealth as Ladislaus IV, wanted to have them before his coronation on February 6, 1633 in Kraków.
By a notarial deed of January 12, 1632 we learn that Jan Bierens had received three chests containing approximately two hundred and fifty - three silver marcs from the hands of Francesco Gissa and Joannes Curius, one butler and the other secretary of Abbot Mikołaj Wojciech Gniewosz (d. 1654), Ambassador of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Antwerp merchant had given them two thousand three hundred and ten rixdales as a pledge and had promised to send the precious delivery to Gdańsk to the address of Abraham Pels.
In the letter from September 15, 1632 Ladislaus IV asked Christian IV of Denmark to release his tapestries from customs (Rkps Riqsarkivet, Polen A. I, 3).
According to François Mols, a number of tapestry cartoons by Jacob Jordaens with the date 1620 were sold at Antwerp in 1774. It is belived that these tapestries were inspired by knowledge of Primaticcio's lost frescoes of the same subject at Fontainebleau. A document from May 15, 1656 in the archives of Antwerp in which Jacob Geubels, son of Jacob Geubels the Younger, had undertaken to weave, tapestries representing the Story of Ulysses after cartoons by Jordaens, confirms that the series were made to his design.
Lavish tapestries "hang up in foreign style" among "golden Netherlandish arts" are mentioned in Adam Jarzębski's "Short Description of Warsaw" (The Main Road, or a Short Description of Warsaw) from 1643, as adorning Ladislaus IV's Palace Villa Regia in Warsaw (1950-1956).
The series was inherited by Ladislaus' brother John II Casimir, who took them to France after his abdication in 1668 and was sold on auction in Paris in 1673 to the agent of the Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine for 12,000 French pounds (position 728 of the inventory).
Tapestry with Odysseus threatening Circe by workshop of Jacob Geubels II after cartoon by Jacob Jordaens, 1624-1632, with coat of arms of the Crown Prince of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, the mark of the city of Brussels B B, weaver's monogram and signature IACO GEVBELS. Hypothetical reconstruction by Marcin Latka ©. All rights reserved.
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Table centerpiece with Hercules
On June 17th, 1696 died in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw after 20 years reign, John III Sobieski, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Shortly after king’s death an inventory of his belongings in the palace was opened. The document contains 122 positions of exquisite silverware, some of which could be created for 20th anniversary of king’s coronation on February 20th, 1696. In the part of royal treasury supervised by burgrave Brochocki, there was "a silver pyramid with 11 baskets made in Augsburg (No. 9.)", "a silver bowl made in Augsburg with a cover with phoenix (No. 4.)", "a three storey fountain with gilded elements made in Augsburg (No. 8.)" and "partially gilded service made in Augsburg with salt cellars, trays, vinegar cruets, bowls and Hercules in the center (No. 7.)". According to inventory the latter service had total weight of 56 grzywnas and 12 łuty, while the Kraków grzywna, used in Poland after 1650 weighed 201.86 g, therefore total weight of the service was approximately 11,304.16 g. Similar vessel from the Green Vault in Dresden (inventory number IV 292), created in 1617 in Nuremberg by Heinrich Mack and Johann Hauer, meaure 75 cm with 4686 g weight.
The inventory also lists some gifts from foreign monarchs including gold bowl offered by Elector of Brandenburg (till 1657 a fief of the Commonwealth as Duke of Prussia) - “gold bowl in the shape of a shell presented by Elector of Brandenburg with his coat of arms” 894 red zlotys worth, inherited by prince Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski.
On March 24th, 1712 arrived to Berlin, a capital of newly created Kingdom of Prussia (earlier Brandenburg), an envoy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Saxony, count Jacob Heinrich von Flemming. His mission was to negotiate alliance against Sweden (diplomatic credentials for Flemming, Dresden March 17, 1712 [O. S. A. Rep. XI: 247 ii Fe. 55]). Both Prussia and Sweden, growing military powers in the region, pose a significant threat to the Commonwealth. Prussia claimed Courland, a vassal Duchy of the Commonwealth, Varmia and Elbląg, while Swedes were even more perilous for elected successor of John III Sobieski, Augustus II the Saxon, called the Strong, as they supported Stanislaus Leszczyński, a candidate to Commonwealth’s crown and Augustus’ rival. The king was prepared to make far-going territorial concessions to alleviate Prussia and the envoy undoubtedly has not arrived barehanded. It is possible then that Augustus has sent from Warsaw a part or whole silver service made for Sobieski, as a gift.
Table centerpiece with Hercules carrying the terrestrial globe and royal eagle in the Köpenick Palace, a branch of Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin (inventory number S 559), is probably the largest and the only preserved part of the mentioned service. It measures 80 cm and bears hallmark of the city of Augsburg as well as master mark LB with a star.
Stylistically the work should be attributed to Lorenz II Biller (active between 1678-1726) and dated to 1680s. The work was signed in the center of the celestial globe in Latin: Christoph Schmidt fecit Augustae 1696. Schmidt most probably modified the work by Biller’s workshop, acquired by some important patron that year, John III Sobieski. The statue also bears the date: 17 M 12 [March 1712?] at the bottom of the base on the right, possibly an inventory date. Later the centerpiece was included in the so-called great silver buffet in the Berlin City Castle. Two similar vessels are visible in the drawing from the end of the 18th century, depicting the composition of the silver buffet in about 1763 and are not visible in original composition of the buffet by Johann Friedrich Eosander from 1708. The centerpiece was therefore included in the composition between 1708 and 1763, which makes Polish provenience even more accurate.
Table centerpiece with Hercules carrying the terrestrial globe and royal eagle by Lorenz Biller II and Christoph Schmidt in Augsburg, ca. 1685 and 1696, Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin.
Fragment of table centerpiece with Hercules carrying the terrestrial globe and royal eagle by Lorenz Biller II and Christoph Schmidt in Augsburg, ca. 1685 and 1696, Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin.
Banquet given by John III Sobieski to foreign diplomats and Polish dignitaries at Jaworów on 6 July 1684 by Frans Geffels, ca. 1685, National Museum in Wrocław.
Silver buffet in the Berlin City Castle by Martin Engelbrecht, circa 1708, engraving published in Theatrum Europaeum, Volume XVI, 1717, private collection.
See the work in Polish-Lithuanian Treasures.
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Abbot Kęsowski's cup
The Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum) in Berlin prides itself on its collection of over 40 cm high nautilus cup made by the royal goldsmith Andreas I Mackensen (inventory number 1993.63). The cephalopod shell is decorated with a engraved images of insects and bats and mounted in a silver, gilt frame with sea elements - the bowl is supported by Triton, the frame is in the form of sirens and sea waves, and the cover is decorated with a putto gliding on a sea monster. At the base of the cover there is the owner's coat of arms, Aleksander Kęsowski, abbot of the Oliwa Abbey, a six-petal rose and initials A / K / A / O (ALEXANDER / KENSOWSKI / ABBAS / OLIVAE). Kęsowski, born in Kąsów in Kuyavia in 1590, became the abbot in 1641, after the death of Michał Konarski. He was a good manager and founder of many sacred buildings and a hospital of St. Lazarus in Oliwa.
The richness of the Oliwa Abbey during Kęsowski's tenure is evidenced by the account of a gift offered to King John Casimir Vasa and Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga on the occasion of their visit to Gdańsk in 1651. The abbot invited the king to dinner and during this visit he "offered to His Majesty the King the amber clock, very expensive and high, for which he gave in Gdańsk three thousand zlotys [...] to Her Majesty the Queen he offered the amber casket, very beautiful, though small", confirms the royal courtier, Jakub Michałowski, in his diary of the "Prussian Journey". "So we left Oliwa on Wednesday after dinner, accompanied along the way for some time by this abbot [Aleksander Kęsowski], who bid us farewell with good wine with a chalice in his hand" - wrote in his "Diary of travel across Europe" from 1652 Giacomo Fantuzzi, an official of the Apostolic Nunciature in Warsaw, who after seven years in Poland returned to his native Italy via Gdańsk. Earlier on, he noted in his report that here "the dining table is very important and it is very expensive, because in Poland they live sumptuously and they give expensive parties".
The cup was probably made in Gdańsk and could be a gift from the king or, more likely, was ordered by the abbot himself. It is possible to set the date of its creation in the interval between 1643, when Mackensen came from Kraków to Gdańsk, and 1667, the date of Kęsowski's death. At the beginning of the 20th century it was owned by count Friedrich Schaffgotsch in Cieplice, after World War II it belonged to Udo and Mania Bey in Hamburg, and in 1993 it was acquired by the Museum of Decorative Arts from Galerie Neuse in Bremen.
Nautilus cup with coat of arms of abbot Aleksander Kęsowski by Andreas I Mackensen, 1643-1667, Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin.
Detail of nautilus cup with coat of arms of abbot Aleksander Kęsowski by Andreas I Mackensen, 1643-1667, Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin.
Detail of nautilus cup with coat of arms of abbot Aleksander Kęsowski by Andreas I Mackensen, 1643-1667, Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin.
Abbot Aleksander Kęsowski in Paweł Mirowski's "Kazanie na pogrzebie zacnego młodziana Jego Mości Pana Jana Bauzendorffa z Kęsowa Kęsowskiego ..." by Anonymous from Gdańsk, 1656, National Library in Warsaw.
Coat of arms of abbot Aleksander Kęsowski in Stefan Damalewicz's "Roza z opatrznośći Boskiey nową szatą odźiana, abo kazanie przy poświącaniu przewielebnego w Chrystusie Oyca, I. M. X. Alexandra Bucendorfa Kęssowskiego ..." by Cezary Franciszek in Kraków, 1642, National Library in Warsaw.
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Secrets of Polish Vasas captured in art
When in 1598 died queen Anna of Austria, first wife of Sigismund III Vasa, a young a chamberlain of the queen's court and governess to the king's children, Urszula Meyerin, took her position not only in the king's bed but also at the court and in country's politics. This seven-year period between first and second marriage of the king, marked by increasing role of his mistress and "a minister in a skirt" as she was called, is most probably reflected in the reliquary of Saint Ursula in the Diocesan Museum in Płock.
Before 1601 king Sigismund III ordered a goldsmith of Płock, Stanisław Zemelka, to adorn a reliquary bust of his patron Saint Sigismund in the Płock Cathedral with a gold crown from his treasury. Around the same year the king's close ally and protégé, Wojciech Baranowski, Bishop of Płock, commissioned in the workshop of royal goldsmith a silver bust for relics of Saint Ursula from the Płock Cathedral, which was to be transferred to newly established Jesuit Collegium in Pułtusk. Urszula Meyerin, a supporter of Jesuits who corresponded with the Pope and used her influence on the king to appoint her favourites to state positions, deserved the honor to give her effigy to the virgin martyr Ursula, which would be another reason for king's gratitude towards Baranowski. It is also possible that the king, himself a talented goldsmith, participated in execution of this commission, hence the lack of signature on the work.
Silver reliquary of Saint Sigismund with gold Płock Diadem by Anonymous from Kraków (reliquary) and Anonymous from Hungary or Germany (diadem), second quarter of 13th century and 1370, Diocesan Museum in Płock.
Silver reliquary of Saint Ursula in the form of a bust by Stanisław Ditrich, ca. 1600, Diocesan Museum in Płock.
In 1637, when 42-years-old king Ladislaus IV Vasa decided to marry finally, the situation at the court of his mistress Jadwiga Łuszkowska become difficult. It was probably thanks to efforts of king's wife, imperial daughter, Cecilia Renata of Austria, that Jadwiga was married to Jan Wypyski, starost of Merkinė in Lithuania and left the court in Warsaw. Portrait of a lady with forget-me-nots from Warsaw's National Museum, painted around that time in the style of royal painter, Peter Danckerts de Rij, which depicts a lady in the costume of a married woman from Central Europe holding forget-me-nots, symbolizing true love, might be a portrait of Łuszkowska.
Portrait of a lady with forget-me-nots (possibly Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska) by circle of Peter Danckerts de Rij, ca. 1640, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Prince Sigismund Casimir Vasa with a page (possibly illegitimate son of Łuszkowska and Ladislaus IV - Ladislaus Constantine Vasa, future Count of Wasenau) by Peter Danckerts de Rij, ca. 1647, National Gallery in Prague.
Around 1659, when the great war, known is Polish history as the Deluge, was coming to the end, it become obvious to everybody that 48-years-old queen Marie Louise Gonzaga would not give a birth to a child, everybody at the court in Warsaw were thinking on possible heir to the throne. Powerful queen gave birth to a son in 1652, but the child died after a month. The old king John Casimir Vasa, former cardinal, who finding himself unsuited to ecclesiastical life, stood in elections for the Polish throne after death of his brother and married his sister-in-law, had however at least one illegitimate child, a daughter Marie Catherine, and possibly a son.
The painting offered by queen Marie Louise to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw in about 1667 and created by court artist around 1659, depicts the eldest son of king’s mistress Katarzyna Franciszka (Catherine Frances) Denhoffowa. 10 years old John Casimir Denhoff as young Jesus, held by childless queen Marie Louise depicted as Virgin Mary, is offering a ring to his mother in the costume of Saint Catherine.
Katarzyna Franciszka Denhoffowa nee von Bessen (or von Bees) from Olesno in Silesia and her younger sister Anna Zuzanna were maids of honor of queen Cecilia Renata and stayed at the court after queen’s death. Denhoffowa become a trusted maid of a new queen and her second husband John Casimir. In 1648, she married a courtier of John Casimir, Teodor Denhoff, and a year later on June 6, 1649 she gave birth to John Casimir Denhoff, future cardinal. Godparents of the young Denhoff were none other than king and queen herself. In 1666 at the age of 17 he was made abbot of Mogiła Abbey and between 1670 and 1674 he studied canon law in Paris under protection of John Casimir Vasa.
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine by circle of Peter Danckerts de Rij, ca. 1659, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of king John II Casimir Vasa by Daniel Schultz, 1659, Royal Baths Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of cardinal John Casimir Denhoff by circle of Giovanni Maria Morandi, after 1687, Private collection.
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© Marcin Latka