Majority of confirmed effigies of the Last Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellons are official, popular portraits pertaining to northern school of painting. Just as today in some countries, in the 16th century the people wanted to have a portrait of their monarch at home. Such effigies were frequently idealized, simplified and inscribed in Latin, which was an official language, apart from Ruthenian and Polish, of the multicultural country. They provided the official titulature (Rex, Regina), coat of arms and even age (ætatis suæ). Private and paintings dedicated to upper class were less so direct. Painters were operating with a complex set of symbols, which were clear then, however are not so obvious today.
In 1565 Flavio Ruggieri from Bologna, who accompanied Giovanni Francesco Commendone, a legate of Pope Pius IV in Poland, described the country in the manuscript preserved in the Vatican Library (Ex codice Vatic. inter Ottobon. 3175, Nr. 36):
"Poland is quite well inhabited, especially Masovia, in other parts there are also dense towns and villages, but all wooden, counting up to 90,000 of them in total, one half of which belongs to the king, the other half to the nobility and clergy, the inhabitants apart from the nobility are a half and a quarter million, that is, two and a half million peasants and a million townspeople.
Even the craftsmen speak Latin, and it is not difficult to learn this language, because in every city, in almost every village there is a public school. They take over the customs and language of foreign nations with unspeakable ease, and of all transalpine countries, they learn the customs and the Italian language the most, which is very much used and liked by them as well as the Italian costume, namely at court. The national costume is almost the same as the Hungarian, but they like to dress up differently, they change robes often, they even change up several times a day. Since Queen Bona of the House of Sforza, the mother of the present king, introduced the language, clothes and many other Italian customs, some lords began to build in the cities of Lesser Poland and Masovia. The nobility is very rich.
Only townspeople, Jews, Armenians, and foreigners, Germans and Italians trade. The nobility only sells their own grain, which is the country's greatest wealth. Floated into the Vistula by the rivers flowing into it, it goes along the Vistula to Gdańsk, where it is deposited in intentionally built granaries in a separate part of the city, where the guard does not allow anyone to enter at night. Polish grain feeds almost all of King Philip's Netherlands, even Portuguese and other countries' ships come to Gdańsk for Polish grain, where you will sometimes see 400 and 500 of them, not without surprise. The Lithuanian grain goes along the Neman to the Baltic Sea.
Apart from grain, Poland supplies other countries with flax, hemp, beef hides, honey, wax, tar, potash, amber, wood for shipbuilding, wool, cattle, horses, sheep, beer and some dyer's herb. From other countries they imports costly blue silks, cloth, linen, rugs, carpets, from the east precious stones and jewels, from Moscow, sables, lynxes, bears, ermines and other furs that are absent in Poland, or not as much as their inhabitants need to protect them from cold or for glamor.
The king deliberate on all important matters with the senate, although he has a firm voice, the nobility, as it has been said, has so tightened his power that he has little left over it."
Portrait of Royal jeweller Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio aged 47 receiving a medallion from the Polish Royal Eagle with monogram of King Sigismund Augustus (SA) on his chest by Paris Bordone, 1547-1553, Wawel Royal Castle.
Art collection of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, attributed to Étienne de La Hire, 1626, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
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 royal courtier Jan Krzysztoporski by Bernardino Licinio
The interpretation of classical architecture by Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), known as Palladianism, revived by early 18th century British architects, become the dominant architectural style until the end of the century. The work of the architect and his effigies become highly demanded goods.
That is why an owner of a portrait of an unkown nobleman by Bernardino Licinio, possibly a painter, decided to turn it into a portrait of the famous architect. He added an inscription in Latin (ANDREAS. PALADIO. A.) and a set-square and a compass in sitter's right hand to make his "forgery" even more probable. The portrait, today in Kensington Palace, was acquired in 1762 by king George III from Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice.
Wooden attributes of a simple architect contrast sharply with opulent costume of the sitter, crimson doublet of Venetian silk, gold rings with precious stones and a coat lined with expensive Eastern fur. Also the man depicted is more Eastern type than an Italian. Such expensive, usually metal instrument, as compass is clearly exposed in the portraits of architects by Lorenzo Lotto, while in Licinio's portrait is barely visible. The little finger is a proof that the attributes were added later, as its appearance is anatomically impossible to hold a set-square and a compass.
According to original inscription (ANNOR. XXIII. M.DXLI) the sitter was 23 in 1541, exactly as Jan Krzysztoporski (1518-1585), a nobleman of Nowina coat of arms from central Poland.
Between 1537-1539 he studied in Lutheran Wittenberg, under the direction of Philip Melanchthon, recommended to him by "the father of Polish democracy" Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski. Then he went for further studies to Padua (entred as loannes Christophorinus), where on May 4, 1540, he was elected a counselor of the Polish nation. In January 1541, he welcomed in Treviso, close to Venice, the Chancellor Jan Ocieski (1501-1563) on his way to Rome. After returning to Poland, he was admitted to the royal court on 2 July 1545 and in 1551 he was made the royal secretary. He was an envoy of king Sigismund Augustus to Pope Julius III in 1551, to Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg in 1552 and to Isabella Jagiellon, Queen of Hungary in 1553.
As a follower of Calvinism, he founded a congregation of this religion in his estate in Bogdanów, near Piotrków Trybunalski. He also had a large library in his brick fortified manor in Wola Krzysztoporska, which he built, destroyed during subsequent wars.
Portrait of royal courtier Jan Krzysztoporski (1518-1585) by Bernardino Licinio, 1541, Kensington Palace.
Portraits of Jan Krzysztoporski, Jan Turobińczyk and Wandula von Schaumberg by Hans Mielich
Around 1536, a German painter Hans Mielich (also Milich, Muelich or Müelich), born in Munich, went to Regensburg, where he worked under the influence of Albrecht Altdorfer and the Danube School. He stayed there till 1540, when he returned to Munich. At that time, from 1539 to 1541, Regensburg was a place of meetings between representatives of the various Christian communities and debates between Catholics and Protestants, climaxing in the Regensburg Colloquy, also known as Diet of Regensburg (1541). Among the people vividly interested in the debates were Jan Łaski (Johannes a Lasco, 1499-1560), a Polish Calvinist reformer, later involved in translation project of the Radziwill Bible, who studied in Mainz in the winter of 1539/40, and Wandula von Schaumberg (1482-1545), the Princess-abbess of the Imperial Obermünster Abbey in Regensburg from 1536, who had a seat and vote in the Imperial Diet. In 1536 Mielich created a painting of Crucifixion of Christ with his monogram, date and coat of arms of the von Schaumberg family, today in the Landesmuseum in Hannover, most probably commissioned by Wandula.
A portrait of a wealthy old woman in a black dress, white cap and a wimple by Hans Mielich in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona, deposit of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, comes from the collection of a mysterious Count J. S. Tryszkiewicz in his French castle of Birre. No such person and castle are confirmed in sources, however Count Jan Tyszkiewicz, who died in Paris on June 9, 1901, was owner of the Birzai Castle in Lithuania and a son of renowned art collector, Michał Tyszkiewicz. Both the family as well as the castle were known differently in different languages of the multicultural nation, hence the mistake is justified. Before the Tyszkiewicz family, Birzai Castle was the main seat of the Calvinist branch of the Radziwill family. According to inscription in German, the woman in the painting was 57 in 1539 (MEINES ALTERS IM . 57 . IAR . / 1539 / HM), exactly as Wandula von Schaumberg, who like the Radziwills was the Imperial Princess.
In 1541 the artist went to Rome, probably at the instigation of Duke William IV of Bavaria. He remained in Italy till at least 1543 and after his return, on 11 July 1543 he was admitted to the Munich painters' guild. Hans was a court painter of the next Duke, Albert V of Bavaria and his wife Anna of Austria (1528-1590), daughter of Anna Jagellonica (1503-1547) and younger sister of Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545), first wife of Sigismund II Augustus. Albert and Anna were married on 4 July 1546 in Regensburg.
On his way to Rome, Mielich most probably stopped in Padua, where in 1541 Andreas Hertwig (1513-1575), a member of patrician family from Wrocław, obtained the degree of doctor of both laws at the age of 28. Hertwig commissioned his portrait, today in the National Museum in Warsaw.
On December 10, 1540 Jan Ocieski of the Jastrzębiec coat of arms (1501-1563), secretary of king Sigismund I set off on a diplomatic mission from Kraków. It is possible that he was accompanied by Jan Turobińczyk (Joannes Turobinus, 1511-1575), an expert on Cicero and Ovid, who after studies in Kraków in 1538 became the secretary of the bishop of Płock and other secretary of the king, Jakub Buczacki, and for two years he moved to the bishop's court in Pułtusk. When Buczacki died on 6 May 1541, he lost his protector and moved to Kraków, where he decided to continue his studies. Jan was later ordained a priest in about 1545, he lectured on Roman law and he was elected rector of the Kraków Academy in 1561.
A portrait of a man holding gloves in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg is very similar to the portrait of Andreas Hertwig in Warsaw. According to inscription on the back, the man depicted is also Andreas Hertwig, hence the portrait is attributed to so-called Master of the Andreas Hertwig Portrait. Facial features, however, do not match and according to original inscription in Latin the man was 30 on 8 May 1541 (M D XXXXI / D VIII MAI / AETATIS XXX), exactly as Jan Turobińczyk when the news of the death of his protector could reach him in Italy and when he could decide to change his life and return to studies.
Another similar portrait to the effigy of Andreas Hertwig in Warsaw is in private collection. The young man in a rich costume was depicted against a green background. According to inscription in Latin he was 25 on 22 November 1543 (M. D. XLIII. DE. XX. NOVEMBE / .AETATIS. XXV), exactly as Jan Krzysztoporski, who around that time was still in Italy. His facial features are similar to the portrait by Bernardino Licinio created just two years earlier, in 1541 (Kensington Palace). The difference in eye color is probably due to technique and style of painting. Rings on his finger are almost identical on both paintings and coat of arms on the signet ring visible on the portrait from 1543 is very similar to Nowina coat of arms as shown in the 15th century Armorial de l'Europe et de la Toison d'or (Bibliothèque nationale de France). The letters on the signet can be read as IK (Ioannes Krzysztoporski).
At the beginning of the 17th century, the court painter of the Polish-Lithuanian Vasas was Christian Melich, who, according to some sources, came from Antwerp. This, however, does not exclude the possibility that he was a relative of Hans Mielich. He created one of the oldest views of Warsaw, now in Munich, most probably from the dowry of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa.
Portrait of Princess-abbess Wandula von Schaumberg (1482-1545) aged 57, from the Radziwill Castle in Birzai by Hans Mielich, 1539, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.
Portrait of Jan Turobińczyk (1511-1575) aged 30 by Hans Mielich, 1541, Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Jan Krzysztoporski (1518-1585) aged 25 by Hans Mielich, 1543, Private collection.
Portraits of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny by Hans Besser and workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger
Streets, houses, temples, public baths and other edifices of Antient Greece and Rome were full of statues, frescoes and mosacis showing naked gods and rulers. Surely in such temperatures in the south of Europe, where Bona Sforza was raised, it was easier to undress than to get dressed. More to the north the situation was quite opposite, to protect from cold, people dressed up and rarely could see any nudity, thus become more prudish in this regard. Renaissance redisovered the nude statues and paintings of the ancient and today some televison programs reinvented the concept that is good to see a potential partner naked before any engagement, at least for some people.
In 1549 Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) commissioned a bronze statue of himself as a naked ancient god and the detachable armour, so the statue could be dressed. The sculpture created in Milan by Italian sculptors Leone and Pompeo Leoni was presented to the Emperor in Brussels in 1556 and later transported to Madrid, today in the Prado Museum (inventory number E000273).
In 1535 Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny, a daughter of Count Charles I of Ligny and Charlotte d'Estouteville, married Bernhard III, Margrave of Baden-Baden. Françoise was a Countess of Brienne and Ligny and heiress of the County of Roussy. She was about 15 years old and the groom 61 at the time of their marriage. Almost a year after the wedding she bore her husband a son Philibert, born on 22 January 1536. Bernhard died on 29 June 1536 and their second son Christopher was born on 26 February 1537, posthumously.
Next years were filled with disputes over the custody of the children, which was claimed by their uncle Ernest, Margrave of Baden-Durlach who favored Lutheranism and Duke William IV of Bavaria, husband of Bernhard's niece Marie Jakobaea of Baden-Sponheim, a staunch Catholic. In agreement with Françoise, her eldest son Philibert spent part of his youth at the court of Duke William IV in Munich.
Françoise remarried on 19 April 1543 to Count Adolf IV of Nassau-Idstein (1518-1556), who was more of her age, and she bore him three children.
In 1549 Hans Besser, court painter of Frederick II, Elector Palatine created a series of portraits of Françoise's eldest sons Philibert and Christopher (in Munich, from the collections of the Dukes of Bavaria and in Vienna, from the Habsburg collection). In 1531 Frederick of Palatine was a candidate to the hand of Princess Hedwig Jagiellon, he must have received her portrait, most probably in the popular "guise" of Venus and Cupid.
A painting showing Venus and Cupid in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich from about 1540 is painted in the form typical for Cranach's Venuses. Its style, however, is not typical for Cranach and his workshop, hence this painting is also attributed to a Cranach's copist from the early 17th century Heinrich Bollandt. The painting was acquired in 1812 from Bayreuth Palace. In 1541, a grandson of Sophia Jagiellon, sister of king Sigismund I of Poland, Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach received Bayreuth. He assisted Emperor Charles V in his war with France in 1543 but soon deserted Charles, and joined the league which proposed to overthrow the Emperor by an alliance with French king Henry II. He spent the last years of his life in Pforzheim with the family of his sister Kunigunde, who was married to Charles II of Baden, nephew of Bernhard III. Albert Alcibiades was unmarried, so the match with a widowed Margravine of Baden, and a French noble, would be perfect for him.
Slightly different and somewhat smaller repetition of the motif in Munich was sold in Brussels on November 7, 2000.
Similar painting, from the Rastatt Palace, was cut into pieces before 1772 and preserved fragments are now in the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (Venus with a tiara and Cupid with an arrow). The Rastatt Palace was built between 1700 and 1707 by an Italian architect for Margrave Louis William of Baden-Baden, a direct descendant of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny.
The same woman as in the above mentioned paintings was also depicted in a series of portraits by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger. Most probaly all depicted her as Salome and some of them were cut later, so that the upper part could be sold as a portrait and the lower part as Saint John the Baptist. Basing on the woman's outfit they should be dated to late 1530s or early 1540s, however one of these portraits from the old collection of the Friedenstein Palace in Gotha, where there is an effigy of Hedwig Jagiellon as the Virgin, is dated 1549. A copy of the latter painting from the collection of the Dukes of Brunswick is in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum. The portrait now in the State Gallery in Johannisburg Palace in Aschaffenburg, comes from the art collection of Hermann Goering and other, sold in 2012, was in the collection of Prince Serge Koudacheff in St. Petersburg, before 1902. Another, signed with monogram HVK, was before 1930 in the inventory of Veste Coburg. There is also a version as Judith with the head of Holofernes in the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam and several paintings where the woman was depicted in the satirical scene of the ill-matched couple, some of which are attributed to another 17th century copist of Cranach, Christian Richter. Facial features in all these effigies greatly resemble portraits of sons of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny by Hans Besser and stylistically some of these works are very close to portraits by this court painter.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden as Venus and Cupid by Hans Besser or workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1540, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden as Venus with a tiara by Hans Besser or workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1540, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1535-1549, Johannisburg Palace in Aschaffenburg.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1535-1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden by monogramist HVK, 1535-1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden as Salome by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1549, Friedenstein Palace in Gotha.
Ill-Matched Couple, caricature of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden and her husband by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger or Christian Richter, 1535-1566 or early 17th century, Private collection.
Portraits of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters by Lucas Cranach the Elder, his son and workshop
In 1543 three daughters of Barnim IX, Duke of Pomerania-Szczecin and his wife Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Maria (1527-1554), Dorothea (1528-1558) and Anna (1531-1592), reached the legal age of marriage (12). That same year on May 6, 1543, Barnim's young cousin, king Sigismund Augustus of Poland married Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545).
Three of Sigismund Augustus' sisters Sophia, Anna and Catherine were also unmarried and Barnim's uncle Sigismund I hoped to find a suitable husband for each of them. Due to the kinship of the ruling families of Poland-Lithuania and Pomerania, they undoubtedly exchanged some effigies.
Almost a year later on July 16, 1544 Maria, the eldest daughter of Barnim, married Count Otto IV of Holstein-Schaumburg-Pineberg (1517-1576). Dorothea had to wait ten years more to marry Count John I of Mansfeld-Hinterort (d. 1567) on July 8, 1554 and Anna married three times, first to Prince Charles I of Anhalt-Zerbst (1534-1561) in 1557, then to Burgrave Henry VI of Plauen (1536-1572) in 1566 and then to Count Jobst II of Barby-Mühlingen (1544-1609) in 1576.
A small painting of Hercules and Omphale by Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop in the National Museum in Warsaw is very similar to the painting from the Mielżyński collection in Poznań, showing the family of Sigismund I in 1537. Dimensions (48.7 x 74.8 cm / 48 x 73 cm), the composition, even the poses and costumes are very similar. This painting was most probably transferred during the World War II to the Nazi German Art Repository in Kamenz (Kamieniec Ząbkowicki), possibly from the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts in Wrocław. Around 1543 the ruler of nearby Legnica was Frederick II, like Barnim a strong supporter of the Reformation and his distant relative. Both dukes had close ties with nearby Poland-Lithuania. Frederick's younger son George, future George II of Legnica-Brzeg, was unmarried at that time. It cannot be excluded that the ruling family of Legnica received this fashionable portrait of Barnim's family in guise of mythological heroes. The work match perfectly the ruling house of Pomerania-Szczecin in about 1543 and face features of Hercules and Omphale are very similar to other portraits of Barnim IX and his wife.
The above described painting is a reduced version of a larger composition which was in the Stemmler collection in Cologne, now in private collection. It is very similar to the portrait of Barnim's family as Hercules and Omphale from 1532 in Berlin (lost). The effigy of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin with a duck above her, a symbol of marital fidelity and intelligence, is almost identical with the effigy of her mother Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg from the earlier painting.
The whole composition is based on a preparatory drawing that preserved in the Museum of Prints and Drawings in Berlin (Kupferstichkabinett, inventory number 13712), signed with a monogram L.G., most probably created by Cranach's pupil who was sent to Szczecin or Barnim's court painter.
All of Barnim's daughters, including the youngest Sibylla, born in 1541, were depicted in a large painting created by Cornelius Krommeny in 1598 and showing the Family tree of the House of Pomerania, today in the National Museum in Szczecin.
A portrait of a young lady as Salome in the bridal crown on her head in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, is almost identical with the effigy of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin in both of mentioned paintings of Hercules and Omphale. This portrait was recorded in 1770 in the Bratislava Castle, the formal seat of the kings of Hungary, and later transferred to the imperial collections in Vienna. The same woman was depicted as Lucretia in the painting by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, which was before 1929 in private collection in Amsterdam, today in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich and as Venus with Cupid as the honey thief from the collection of the Princes of Liechtenstein in Vienna, today in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.
A portrait of a lady as Judith in green dress in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, purchased in 1879 from the collection of Mr. Cox in London, match perfectly the effigy of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin in described paintings. Her pose and outfit is very similar to that of Dorothea's mother in both paintings of Hercules and Omphale. Two representations of Lucretia attributed to Lucas Cranach the Younger, one from the Galerie Attems in Gorizia, today in the Eggenberg Palace in Graz and the other purchased in 1934 by the Kunstmuseum Basel, are also very similar to the effigy of Dorothea.
Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist in the bridal crown, which was formerly in the collection of the King of Württemberg, now in the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery in Greenville is identical with the effigy of the youngest daughter of Barnim in the Warsaw's painting. The painter evidently used the same template drawing to create both miniatures. Another very similar Salome, attributed to Cranach the Younger, comes from the collection of the Ambras Castle built by Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529-1595), the second son of Anna Jagellonica and Emperor Ferdinand I. It was offered in 1930 by Gustaf Werner to the Gothenburg Museum of Art. The painter added a fantastic landscape in the background. Finally there is a painting of Venus and Cupid as the honey thief from the same period in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, also atrributed to Cranach the Younger. Venus' face is identical with the portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin in the painting from Stemmler collection. The painting comes from the residence of the Catholic Bishops of Freising, where it was known as Saint Juliana. It cannot be excluded that it was originally in the Polish-Lithuanian royal collection and was transferred to nearby Neuburg an der Donau with the collection of Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa or brought by some other eminent Polish-Lithuanian lady.
In the National Museum in Warsaw there is also a painting showing a moralistic subject of the ill-matched couple by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder or his son from the third quarter of the 16th century. It was aquired by the Museum in 1865 from the collection of Henryk Bahré. The woman has slipped her hand inside the old man's purse, which leaves no doubt as to the basis of this relationship. Her face and costume is based on the same set of template drawings which were used to create portraits of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin. The painting is of a high quality, therefore the patron who commissioned it was wealthy. While Georgia of Pomerania (1531-1573), daughter of George I, brother of Barnim, married in 1563 a Polish nobleman and a Lutheran, Stanisław Latalski (1535-1598), starost of Inowrocław and Człuchów, her cousin Anna opted for titular and hereditary German princes in her subsequent marriages. It is therefore possible that this painting was commissioned by the royal court or a magnate from Poland-Lithuania.
Preparatory drawing for a portrait of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters as Hercules and Omphale by Monogrammist L.G. or workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543, Museum of Prints and Drawings in Berlin.
Portrait of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters as Hercules and Omphale by Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, ca. 1543, Private collection.
Portrait of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters as Hercules and Omphale by Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, ca. 1543, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin (1527-1554) as Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1539-1543, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Portrait of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin (1527-1554) as Lucretia by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin (1527-1554) as Venus with Cupid as the honey thief by Lucas Cranach the Elder or his son, ca. 1543, Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.
Portrait of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin (1528-1558) as Judith with the head of Holofernes by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543-1550, National Gallery of Ireland.
Portrait of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin (1528-1558) as Lucretia by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Eggenberg Palace in Graz.
Portrait of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin (1528-1558) as Lucretia by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Kunstmuseum Basel.
Portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) as Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543, Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery in Greenville.
Portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) as Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Gothenburg Museum of Art.
Portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) as Venus and Cupid as the honey thief by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
Ill-matched couple, caricature of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder or his son, third quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill, Elizabeth of Austria and Sigismund Augustus as Flora, Juno and Jupiter by Paris Bordone
Ovid in Fasti V relates the story of Juno, queen of the gods, who annoyed with her husband Jupiter for producing Minerva from his own head by the stroke of Vulcan's axe, complained to Flora, goddess of fertility and blossoming plants. Flora, gave her secretly a flower, by only touching which women immediately became mothers. It was by this means that Juno gave birth to the god Mars. The Renaissance represented Flora under two aspects, Flora Primavera, embodiment of genuine marital love, and Flora Meretrix, prostitute and courtesan whom Hercules won for a night in a wager.
Because Hercules' mother was mortal, Jupiter put him to the breast of his wife, knowing that Hercules would acquire immortality through her milk and according to the myth the droplets of milk crystallized to form the Milky Way. As Juno Lucina (Juno the light-bringer) she watched over pregnancy, childbirth, and mothers and as Juno Regina (Juno the Queen) she was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire.
In the painting by Paris Bordone in the Hermitage Museum, Flora receives flowers and herbs from Cupid, the god of desire and erotic love and son of Mars and Venus. Cupid is also crowning the head of Juno with a wreath. The queen of the gods is taking the herbs from the hand of Flora, hoping she was unnoticed by her husband Jupiter Dolichenus, the "oriental" king of the gods holding an axe, who stands behind her.
The message of the painting is clear, thanks to the mistress the queen is fertile. The protagonists are therfore "oriental" king Sigismund Augustus as Jupiter, his first wife queen Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of King of the Romans as Juno, and Sigismund Augustus' mistress Barbara Radziwill as Flora.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill, Elizabeth of Austria and Sigismund Augustus as Flora, Juno and Jupiter by Paris Bordone, 1543-1551, The State Hermitage Museum.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a blue dress, known as La Bella by Titian
In May 1543 22-year-old king Sigismund Augustus married his 16-year-old cousin Elizabeth of Austria. During the entry into Kraków for her coronation, the lords and knights of the Kingdom were dressed in all sorts of costumes including Italian, French and Venetian. The young Queen died just two years later failing to produce an heir to the throne. Sigismund Augustus commissioned for her a magnificent marble tomb monument from Paduan sculptor trainded in Venice, Giovanni Maria Mosca called Padovano. The king was hoping that his mistress, Barbara Radziwill, whom he intended to marry, would give him a child.
Portrait of a lady in a blue dress by Titian, known as La Bella is very similar to effigies of Barbara Radziwill, especially her portrait in Washington. The gold buckles on her dress in the form of decorative bows, although painted less diligently, are almost identical. Her garments are epitome of the 16th century luxury - a dress of Venetian velvet dyed with costly indigo blue, embroidered with gold thread and lined with sables, of which Poland-Lithuania was one of the leading exporters at that time. She holds her thick gold chain and pointing at weasel pelt, a zibellino, also known as flea-fur or fur tippet, on her hand, a popular accessory for brides as a talisman for fertility.
Contemporary bestiaries indicate that the female weasel conceived through the ear and gave birth through the mouth. "This 'miraculous' method of conception was thought to parallel the Annunciation of Christ, who was conceived when God's angel whispered into the ear of the Virgin Mary" (after "Sexy weasels in Renaissance art" by Chelsea Nichols). Inclusion of the zibellino represents the hope that the woman would be blessed with good fertility and bore many healthy children to her husband. This symbolism excludes the possibility that the portrait represents a Venetian courtesan ("woman wearing the blue dress"), secretly painted by Titian for Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, who was already married and had three daughters and two sons, in about 1535.
As early as 1545 Pope Paul III wanted to marry his granddaughter Vittoria Farnese to widowed Sigismund Augustus, whom however wed in secret his mistress sometime between 1545 and 1547 (according to some sources they were married since 25 November 1545). Vittoria finally married on 29 June 1547, Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino (son of Francesco Maria), who at this time was in the service of the Republic of Venice. It is highly probable that the Duke or Vittoria received a portrait of the royal mistress, which was later transferred to Florence.
A copy of the portrait by Titan's workshop, most probably by Lambert Sustris, painted with cheaper pigments without highly expensive ultramarine, is a proof that as in case of portraits of Empress Isabella of Portugal the sitter was not in the painter's atelier and the portrait was one of a series. There were also mistakes and inadequacies, her gold buckles were repleaced with simple red ribbons. Comparison with portraits of Empress Isabella confirms that Titian loved proportions and classical beauty. Just by making the eyes slightly bigger and more visible and harmonizing their features, he achieved what his clients expected of him, to be beautiful in their portraits, close to the gods from their Greek and Roman statues, it was renaissance.
The miniature by unknown miniaturist Krause, probably an amateur, from the late 18th or early 19th century in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, indicate that a version of the painting was also in Poland, possibly in the collection of king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski.
From 1545 the young king Sigismund Augustus spared no money for his mistress. Jewish and Florentine merchants Abraham Czech, Symon Lippi and Kasper Gucci (or Guzzi) were delivering to the royal court enormous quantities of expensive fabrics and furs. Between 1544-1546, the young king emloyed many new jewelers at his court in Kraków and Vilnius, like Antonio Gatti from Venice, Vincenzo Palumbo (Vincentius Palumba), Bartolo Battista, Italian Christophorus, Giovanni Evangelista from Florence, Hannus (Hans) Gunthe, German Erazm Prettner and Hannus Czigan, Franciszek and Stanisław Merlicz, Stanisław Wojt - Gostyński, Marcin Sibenburg from Transilvania, etc. Not to mention Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio, who in about 1550 created a cameo with Barbara's divinely beautiful profile. In just one year, 1545, the king bought as many as 15 gold rings with precious stones from Vilnius and Kraków goldsmiths.
According to sources Barbara was a beauty, hence the title in Italian, La Bella, is fully deserved. "The composition of her body and face made her so beautiful that people out of jealousy disparaged her innocence", she was "gloriously wonderful, like a second Helen [Helen of Troy]" as was written in a panegyric, she had white alabaster skin, "sweet eyes, gentleness of speech, slowness of movements".
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a blue dress, known as La Bella by Titian, 1545-1547, Pitti Palace in Florence.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill, known as La Bella by workshop of Titian, most probably by Lambert Sustris, 1545-1547, Private collection.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in French costume
On 15 June 1545 died Elizabeth of Austria, first wife of Sigismund II Augustus, who continued his affair with his mistress Barbara Radziwill, whom he met in 1543. Already in September 1546 rumors were circulating in Kraków that Sigismund was going to marry "a private woman of the worst opinion". To prevent this and to strengthen the pro-Turkish alliance (the eldest daughter of Bona, Isabella Jagiellon, was established by Sultan Suleiman as a regent of Hungary on behalf of her infant son), it was decided to marry Sigismund to Anna d'Este (1531-1607), daughter of the Duke of Ferrara and related to the French ruling house.
The miniature of a lady in Italian costume, said to be Bona Sforza d'Aragona from the 1540s, which was in the Czartoryski collection, cannot depict Bona as the woman is much younger and features are different, it is very similar though to effigies of Barbara Radziwill. The features of this lady, on the other hand, are very similar to these visible in a portrait of a lady holding a chalice and a book in the National Museum in Warsaw, once in the collection of art dealer Victor Modrzewski in Amsterdam, therefore most probably originating from some magnate collection in Poland.
The latter painting is attributed to circle of Master of the Female Half-Lengths, a Flemish or French court master painter who frequently depicted ladies in guise of their patron saints and who also worked for other European courts (e.g. portrait of Isabella of Portugal in Lisbon). The woman is dressed according to French fashion, very similar to the outfit in the portrait of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France from about 1547 in the Uffizi (Inv. 1890: inv. 2448). She is holding a prayer book and a chalice, an attribute of Saint Barbara, who was considered to provide protection against sudden and violent death (the scene on the chalice shows a man killing other man) and patron saint of pregnant women (together with Saint Margaret of Antioch).
Both paintings are most probably workshop copies from a larger commission of state portraits, but the resemblance is still visible.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in French costume by circle of Master of the Female Half-Lengths, ca. 1546-1547, National Museum in Warsaw.
Miniature of Barbara Radziwill by circle of Jan van Calcar, ca. 1546-1547, Czartoryski Museum (?), published in Aleksander Przeździecki's "Jagiellonki polskie" (1868).
Miniature of Bona Sforza d'Aragona by Jan van Calcar, ca. 1546, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portraits of pregnant Barbara Radziwill
In a letter of 26 November 1547, Stanisław Andrejewicz Dowojno (d. 1566) reported to king Sigismund Augustus about miscarriage of Barbara Radziwill, whom he wed secretly sometime in 1547. Having a large number of mistresses before, during and after being married, the king remained childless. At some time the parliament was willing to legitimize and acknowledge as his successor any male heir who might be born to him.
The portrait of a lady with a servant by Jan van Calcar from the collection of Prince Leon Sapieha, sold in 1904 in Paris, was said to depict pregnant Barbara Radziwill (possibly lost during World War II). It shows a woman in red dress in Italian style with emerald pendant on her chest accompanied by a midwife. The bill of a royal embroiderer, who charged the treasury for "a robe of red velvet" that he embroidered in 1549 for Queen Barbara with pearls and gold thread for 100 florins, confirms that similar dresses were in her possesion.
The portrait by Calcar is very similar in comosition to the portrait known as effigy of Sidonia von Borcke (Sidonia the Sorceress) (1548-1620) and attributed to workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder. This portrait was before World War II in the Von Borcke Palace in Starogard (destroyed), owned by a wealthy Pomeranian family of Slavic origin, along the effigy of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) and her husband. The sitter costume is in German style and similar to costume of Sigismund Augustus' relative Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1502-1568) (as a wife of Barnim XI of Pomerania) from about 1545 or a portrait of Agnes von Hayn from 1543, both by Cranach or his workshop, hence it cannot be Sidonia, who was born in 1548.
The woman in the painting is holding a chalice, an allusion to her patron, Saint Barbara, as in a triptych by Cranach from 1506 in Dresden (the hand is almost identical). Both paintings, by Calcar and by workshop of Cranach, were undoubtedly then a part of Jagiellonian propaganda to legitimize the royal mistress as the Queen of Poland.
Portrait of pregnant Barbara Radziwill with a midwife by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1546-1547, Von Borcke Palace in Starogard, most probably destroyed during World War II.
Portrait of pregnant Barbara Radziwill with a midwife by Jan van Calcar or circle, 1546-1547, collection of Prince Leon Sapieha, sold in 1904 in Paris, possibly lost during World War II.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill by Moretto da Brescia or Jan van Calcar
The portrait of unkown lady in white by Moretto da Brescia, a painter from the Republic of Venice who may have apprenticed with Titian, can be compared with a portrait by Jan Stephan van Calcar, a pupil of Titian, from the Sapieha collection in Paris. The latter painting, most probably lost during World War II, was said to depict pregnant second wife of Sigismund Augustus, Barbara Radziwill. Both face features as well as costume style and details are very much alike. The sitter's dress in Moretto's painting is also very similar to that visible in a miniature of a lady with a pearl necklace, wich can be identified as effigy of Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Queen of Poland, from the second half of the 1540s.
The bill of a royal embroiderer of Sigismund Augustus, who charged the treasury for "a robe of white tabinet" that he embroidered in 1549 for Queen Barbara "with a wide row of goldcloth and green velvet" for 15 florins, confirms that similar dresses were in her possesion. The Queen's taylor was an Italian Francesco, who was admitted to her service in Vilnius on 2 May 1548 with annual salary of gr. 30 fl. 30. In May 1543 during entry to Kraków for coronation of Elizabeth of Austria, the lords and knights of the Kingdom were dressed in all sorts of costumes, including Italian, French and Spanish, while the young king Sigismund Augustus was dressed in German style, probably as a courtesy for Elizabeth. The inventory of dowry of Sigismund Augustus' sister Catherine Jagiellon from 1562 includes 13 French and Spanish robes.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill (1520/23-1551) in white by Moretto da Brescia or Jan van Calcar, ca. 1546-1548, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Portraits of Sigismund II Augustus by Jan van Calcar or Moretto da Brescia
Sometime in 1547, in spite of his mother's disapproval and nobility's animosity, Sigismund Augustus, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania secretly wed his mistress Barbara Radziwill, a Lithuanian noblewoman whom he met in 1543.
The portrait attributed to Jan van Calcar shows a young man (Sigismund Augustus was 26 in 1546) against ancient buildings similar to a reconstruction of the Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus in Rome published in 1575 (the king born on 1 August was named after the first Roman Emperor Gaius Octavius Augustus) and the king's castrum doloris in Rome in 1572 or obelisk visible in the portrait of royal jeweller Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio from about 1553.
The presumed author Jan van Calcar, a pupil of Titian in Venice, moved to Naples in about 1543, where he died before 1550. Sigismund's mother Bona Sforza was a granddaughter of Alfonso II, King of Naples and from 1524 she was a Duchess of nearby Bari and Rossano.
According to the accounts of Sigismund Augustus by a courtier Stanisław Wlossek from 1545 to 1548, the king had "robes lined with lynx, short Italian", robes of black velvet and stockings of "black ermestno silk", black suede shoes, etc. The register of his clothes from 1572 includes Italian, German and Persian robes valued at 5351 zlotys.
The portrait could be a pendant to a portrait of Barbara Radziwill in similar dimensions attributed to Moretto da Brescia, which could also be attributed to Calcar, just as previously the portrait of the man described here was attributed to Moretto da Brescia, and inversely.
The man is holding in his right hand a red carnation flower, a symbol of passion, love, affection and betrothal.
The same sitter is also depicted in the portrait in Vienna, signed by Calcar (. eapolis f. / Stephanus / Calcarius), and in the painting attributed to Francesco Salviati, who stayed for a brief time in Venice, in the Mint Museum.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) by Jan van Calcar or Moretto da Brescia, ca. 1546-1548, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) with gloves by Jan van Calcar, 1540s, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) with gloves, attributed to Francesco Salviati, 1540s, Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte.
Portraits of Barbara Radziwill and Sigismund Augustus by circle of Titian
In the 18th century, with the growing popularity of the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, the portrait of an unknown lady, so-called Carleton Portrait in Chatsworth House, was identified as her effigy due to great similarity with a print by Hieronymus Cock from about 1556 and history of the Chatsworth House. Numerous prints and copies of this portrait were made. Today, however, researchers reject this identification.
The style of the painting is close to the circle of Titian and Venetian portrait painting as well as composition with a chair (Savonarola chair), a window and rich fabrics, Venetian velvet and gold cloth. The costume however, a mixture of French, Italian, Spanish and German patterns from the 1540s is not typical for Venice. Also the sitter is not a typical, a bit plump "Venetian beauty".
In 1572 the royal embroiderer charged the royal treasury for dresses he embroidered for Queen Barbara in 1549 including one, the most expensive, for which he charged 100 florins: "I embroidered a robe of red velvet, bodice, sleeves and three rows at the bottom with pearls and gold". Similar puffed sleeves at the shoulders are visible in portraits of Barbara by Moretto da Brescia (Washington), Jan van Calcar (Paris, lost) and by circle of Lucas Cranach the Younger (Kraków).
In February 1548 a long battle begun to recognize Barbara as Sigismund Augustus' wife and crown her as Queen of Poland. Almost since her wedding in 1547 Barbara's health began to decline. Sigismund Augustus personally tended to his sick wife. He also possibly seek a help from the only possible ally - Edward VI of England, a boy king, who like Sigismund was crowned at the age of 10 and a son of Henry VIII, who broke with the Catholic Church to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. In 1545 to cure his first wife Elizabeth of Austria from epilepsy, Sigismund wanted to obtain a coronation ring of the English king, that supposedly was to be an effective antidote.
In 1549 arrived to London Jan Łaski (John à Lasco), a Polish Calvinist reformer, secretary of king Sigismund I and a friend of the Radziwlls (Barbara's brother converted to Calvinism in 1564) to became Superintendent of the Strangers' Church. He undoubtedly mediate with the king of England in personal affairs of Sigismund Augustus and possilby brought to England a portrait of his wife.
The octagonal tower in the portrait is very similar to the main landmark of the 16th century Vilnius, the medieval Cathedral Bell Tower, rebuilt in Renaissance style during the reign of Sigismund Augustus after 1544 (and later due to fires and invasions) and close to Barbara's residence, Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
The woman is holding two roses, white and red - "white roses became symbols of purity, red roses of redeeming blood, and both colors, together with the green of their leaves, also represented the three cardinal virtues faith, hope, and love" (after Colum Hourihane's "The Routledge Companion to Medieval Iconography", 2016, p. 459).
The portrait of a man sitting by a window with "a Northern town beyond" is very similar to other effigies of Sigismund Augustus, while the landscape behind him is almost identical with that visible in the Carleton portrait. It is almost like if the king was sitting in the same chair in the room at the Vilnius Castle beside his beloved wife.
The portrait of a general by Titian in Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel is identifed by Iryna Lavrovskaya as the effigy of influential cousin of Barbara Radziwill, Nicholas "The Black" Radziwill (Heritage, N. 2, 1993. pp. 82-84).
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill (1520/23-1551) by circle of Titian, ca. 1549, Chatsworth House.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) by circle of Titian, ca. 1547-1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Nicholas "The Black" Radziwill (1515-1565) by Titian, 1550-1552, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portraits of Barbara Radziwill by Flemish painters
The effigy, previously identified as Anne de Pisseleu, Duchesse d'Etampes (modern scholars today reject this identification), is very similar in facial features and costume style to the Carleton Portrait at Chatsworth and to the portrait of Barbara Radziwill by Moretto da Brescia in Washington. It is known only through 19th century copies, as original from about 1550 (or 1549) from the French royal collection, most probably by a Flemish painter, is considered to be lost.
Anne de Pisseleu, was a chief mistress of Francis I, king of France and a staunch Calvinist, who counseled Francis on toleration for Huguenots. Even after her deposition, following Francis' death in March 1547, she was one of the most influential and wealthy Protestants in France. It cannot be excluded, that Sigismund Augustus and the Radziwills approached her with their cause - coronation of Barbara as a queen and her recognition internationally, and that the copy of effigy of Barbara offered to her was after the French Revolution mistaken for her portrait.
Around the year of 1548 or 1549, Sigismund Augustus commissioned in the Spanish Netherlands (Flanders) the first set of new tapestries for his residences (known as Jagiellonian tapestries or Wawel Arrasses). It is highly probable that as earlier his father in 1536, he also ordered some paintings there.
Also the details of sitter's garments find its confirmation in the bill of the royal embroiderer who charged the royal treasury for garments he embroidered for Queen Barbara in 1549: "I embroidered a red velvet beret with pearls; I earned from it fl. 6".
The portrait of a lady in Spanish-like costume, said to be Anne Boleyn from the Musée Condé and created in about 1550, is astonishingly similar to the series of portraits of Sigismund Augustus' eldest unmarried sister at that time, Sophia Jagiellon. It's almost like a pendant to Sophia's portrait, the costume is very similar and the portraits were undoubtedly created in the same workshop. It's largely idealized, like some portraits of Margaret of Parma after original by Antonio Moro, nevertheless the resemblance to Barbara's appearance is strong. Through his mother, Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Barbara's husband had claims to Kingdom of Naples and Duchy of Milan, both part of the Spanish Empire.
Likewise the previous portrait, black robes are also included in the same bill of the royal embroiderer for 1549: "a robe of black teletta, I embroidered a bodice and sleeves with pearls; I earned from this robe fl. 40." or "I embroidered a robe of black velvet, two pearl rows at the bottom; I earned from it fl. 60."
The portrait of a mysterious lady from the Picker Art Gallery in Hamilton was undobtedly painted by some Netherlandish master and is very close to a bit caricatural style of Joos van Cleve and his son Cornelis (e.g. portraits of Henry VIII of England). The woman however wears an Italian costume from the 1540s, similar to portrait of a lady with a book of music from the Getty Center. The jewel on her necklace has also adequate symbolic meaning, ruby is a symbol of both royalty and love, sapphire a symbol of purity and the Kingdom of God and a pearl was a symbol of fidelity.
Aprat from resemblance to other portraits of Barbara, whose husband was very fond of Italian fashion, and her taylor was an Italian, this is another indicator that this is also her portrait.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a pearl beret, 1849 engraving after lost original by Flemish painter from about 1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a pearl beret, 19th century after lost original by Flemish painter from about 1549, Victoria and Albert Museum.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in Spanish costume by Flemish painter, ca. 1550, Musée Condé.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in Italian costume by Flemish painter, possibly Cornelis van Cleve, 1545-1550, Picker Art Gallery in Hamilton.
Portrait of Queen Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach the Younger
Portrait of an old woman by Lucas Cranach the Younger from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston bears strong similarity with contemporary effigies of Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland. The Queen started to wear her distinctive outfit of a widowed elder lady in about 1548, after death of Sigismund I.
As for eye color and features the comparison with portraits of Emperor Charles V, her portraits by Bernardino Licinio and her daughter, proofs that different workshops differently interprated royal effigies and as natural ultramarine (deep blue color) was an expensive pigment in the 16th century, cheaper pigments were used to make a copy (eye color).
In a letter of 31 August 1538, Bona Sforza says about two portraits of her daughter Isabella, and complain that her features in the portrait that she has are not very accurate.
Portrait of Queen Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1549, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus with a construction of a bridge in Warsaw by Tintoretto
"Sigismund Augustus built a wooden bridge over the Vistula River, 1150 feet long, which was almost unmatched in terms of both length and magnificence in the whole of Europe, causing universal admiration", states Georg Braun, in his work Theatri praecipuarum totius mundi urbium (Review of major cities around the world) published in Cologne in 1617.
In 1549, to facilitate communication with Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where Barbara resided, Sigismund Augustus decided to finance the construction of a permanent bridge in Warsaw. In 1549 he bought from Stanisław Jeżowski, a land writer from Warsaw, the hereditary privilege of transport across the Vistula River, giving him in return "two villages, a mill and a half of a second mill, 40 forest voloks and 200 florins."
The portrait of a man with a "Northern landscape" beyond showing a construction of a wooden bridge in The National Gallery of Art in Washington, created by Jacopo Tintoretto, is very similar to other effigies of Sigismund Augustus. It was purchased in 1839 in Bologna by William Buchanan.
The city of Bologna was famous for its university, architects and engineers, like Giacomo da Vignola (1507-1573), who began his career as an architect there and where in 1548 he built three locks or Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554), an outstanding architect and theoretician of architecture, born in Bologna. In 1547 Queen Bona, wanted to involve Serlio, married to her lady-in-waiting Francesca Palladia, at her court. Since Serlio had already a position in France, he offered Bona his students. In a letter to Ercole d'Este, Bona asked for a builder who could build anything and in 1549 the Queen settled in Warsaw.
From 1548 the court physician of the king was Piotr from Poznań, who received his doctorate in Bologna and in 1549, a Spaniard educated in Bologna, Pedro Ruiz de Moros (Piotr Roizjusz), became a courtier of Sigismund Augustus and a court legal advisor (iuris consultus), thanks to recommendation of his colleague from the studies in Bologna, royal secretary Marcin Kromer.
From 4 June to 24 September 1547, master carpenter Maciej, called Mathias Molendinator, with his helpers, led the construction of a wooden bridge on brick supports covered with a shingle roof, which led through Vilnia River in Vilnius from the royal palace to the royal stables.
It is uncertain if the construction was actually started in 1549 or the portrait was only one of a series of materials intended for propaganda purposes, confirming the creativity and innovation of the Jagiellonian state. It is possible that due to the problems to find a suitable engeneer to help with the costruction of the largest bridge of the 16th century Europe, that the project was postponed. Only after 19 years, on 25 June 1568, ten years after the start of the regular Polish post (Kraków - Venice), the tapping of the first pile was initiated. The bridge was opened to public on 5 April 1573, a few months after the death of its founder, accomplished by his sister Anna Jagiellon, who also built the Bridge Tower in 1582 to protect the construction.
The 500 meters long bridge was the first permanent crossing over the Vistula River in Warsaw, the longest wooden crossing in Europe at that time and a technical novelty. It was made of oak wood and iron and equipped with a suspension system. The bridge was costructed by "Erasmus Cziotko, fabrikator pontis Varszoviensis" (Erazm z Zakroczymia), who according to some researchers was an Italian and his real name was Giotto, a surname carried by a family of Florentine builders.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus with a construction of a bridge in Warsaw by Tintoretto, ca. 1549, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus by Tintoretto or workshop, 1540s, Private collection.
Portraits of Sigismund Augustus in armour and in a black hat by Tintoretto
In the beginnig of 1549 Barbara Radziwill arrived from Vilnius via royal Radom (September 1548) to Nowy Korczyn near Kraków for her coronation and ceremonial entry into the city as the new queen. Eight times a year, large grain fairs were held in the city of Nowy Korczyn. The grain purchased there was floated down the Vistula to Gdańsk in large barges, similar to galleys, as visible in the View of Warsaw from about 1625. The lords of the Kingdom arrived to greet Barbara in Korczyn and on 12 February 1549 she embarked on a journey to the capital.
The river journey from or to Korczyn would be the easiest, however the sources does not confirm it. The accounts from 1535 inform nevertheless about boats owned by Sigismund I and his son Sigismund Augustus. The statue on the ship, visible in the painting, is clearly Saint Chrisopher a patron saint of travelers, hence it is not likely a battleship.
The effigy is in Vienna and Austrian Habsburgs were Sigismund Augustus' relatives through Anna Jagellonica, two of his wives were her daughters and portraits were often commissioned to be sent to distant relatives.
The portrait which could be dated to 1550, although idealized, bears a resemblance to other effigies of the king by Tintoretto and has an inscription ANOR XXX (year 30) on the base of the column. Sigismund Augustus reached his 30th year of age on 1 August 1550 and his beloved wife was crowned on 7 December 1550.
Finally his mother was described as a lovely light blonde, "when (oddly enough) her eyelashes and eyebrows are completely black", so was the anomaly in hair color inherited from her?
The same sitter was also depicted wearing a black hat in a portrait from private collection by Tintoretto and a workshop copy of it in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) with a royal galley by Tintoretto, ca. 1550, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) in armour by circle of Tintoretto, ca. 1550, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus in a black hat by Tintoretto, 1545-1550, Private collection.
Sigismund Augustus and Barbara Radziwill as Jupiter and Io by Paris Bordone
In Ovid's "Metamorphoses" Jupiter, King of the Gods noticed Io, a mortal woman and a priestess of his wife Juno, Queen of the Gods. He lusted after her and seduced her. The painting by Paris Bordone in Gothenburg shows the moment when the god discovers that his jealous wife is approaching and he raises his green cloak to hide his mistress. The myth fits perfectly the story of romance of Sigismund Augustus and his mistress Barbara Radziwill, a Lithuanian noblewoman whom he met in 1543, when he was married to Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545), and whom he secretly married despite the disapproval of his mother, the powerful Queen Bona.
According to Vasari, Bordone created two versions of the composition. One for Cardinal Jean de Lorraine (1498-1550) in 1538, when he went to the court of Francis I of France at Fontainebleau, and the other "Jupiter and a nymph" for the King of Poland. Researchers pointed out that stylistically the canvas should be dated to the 1550s, therefore it cannot be the painting created for Cardinal de Lorraine.
The painting was allegedly brought to Sweden by Louis Masreliez (1748-1810), a French painter, hence it cannot be excluded that it was taken to France by John Casimir Vasa, great-grandson of Bona, after his abdiction in 1668, that Masreliez acquired in Italy a copy of painting prepared for the Polish king, possibly a modello or a ricordo, or that it was captured by the Swedish army during the Deluge (1655-1660) and purchased by Masreliez in Sweden.
The effigy of Io is not so "statuesque" as other effigies of the goddesses by Bordone, could be a courtesan, but could also be the royal mistress and can be compared with effigies of Barbara, while Jupiter with these of Sigismund Augustus. The painting should be then considered as a part of Jagiellonian propaganda to legitimize the royal mistress as the Queen of Poland.
Sigismund Augustus and Barbara Radziwill as Jupiter and Io by Paris Bordone, 1550s, Gothenburg Museum of Art.
Sigismund Augustus in guise of Christ as The Light of the World by Paris Bordone
The particluar taste of queen Bona for paintings in guise of the Virgin Mary and her son as Jesus, biblical figures and saints is confirmed by her effigies by Francesco Bissolo and Lucas Cranach. Such portraits were popular throughout Europe since the Middle Ages.
Examples include the effigy of Agnès Sorel, mistress of King Charles VII of France, as Madonna Lactans by Jean Fouquet from the 1450s, Giulia Farnese, mistress of Pope Alexander VI as the Virgin Mary ("la signora Giulia Farnese nel volto d'una Nostra Donna" according to Vasari) and his daughter Lucrezia Borgia as Saint Catherine by Pinturicchio from the 1490s, Mary of Burgundy in the guise of Mary Magdalene created in about 1500, Francis I of France as Saint John the Baptist by Jean Clouet from about 1518, Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal as Saint Catherine by Domingo Carvalho from about 1530, Albrecht Dürer's self-portraits as the Saviour or Leonardo's Salvator Mundi, possibly a self-portrait or effigies of his lover Salaì as Saint John the Baptist and numerous other.
Marble tondos decorating Sigismund's Chapel at the Wawel Cathedral, created by Bartolommeo Berrecci between 1519-1533 as a funerary chapel for the last members of the Jagiellonian Dynasty, shows king Sigismund I the Old as biblical king Solomon and king David (or his banker Jan Boner).
The print published in Nicolas Gueudeville's "Le grand theatre historique, ou nouvelle histoire universelle" in Leiden in 1703, after original drawing from 1548, depict king Sigismund I the Old on his deathbed giving a blessing to his sucessor Sigismund Augustus having long hair.
In February 1556, Bona departed Poland to her native Italy trough Venice with treasures she had accumulated over 38 years loaded on 12 wagons, drawn by six horses. She udoubtedly took with her some religious paintings, portraits of members of the royal family and of her beloved son Augustus. She settled in Bari near Naples, inherited from her mother, where she arrived on 13 May 1556.
Bona died just one year later on 19 November 1557, at the age of 63. She was poisoned by her courtier Gian Lorenzo Pappacoda, who falsified her last will and stole her treasures.
The paining showing Christ as The Light of the World in the the National Gallery in London (a copy in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo) bears a strong resemblance to known effigies of Sigismund Augustus. It was given to the National Gallery in 1901 by the heirs of the surgeon, who in turn was offered the painting by a member of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, formed when the Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples in 1816, in thanks for his kindness to a Sicilian lady in 1819.
According to museum description "paintings of this type were kept in houses, especially in bedrooms", so has Bona had it at her deathbed in Bari?
Sigismund Augustus in guise of Christ as The Light of the World by Paris Bordone, 1548-1550, National Gallery, London.
Portraits of Sophia Jagiellon in Spanish costume
Daughters of Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Queen of Poland, Grand Duchess of Lithuania and Duchess of Bari and Rossano by her own right were descendants of Alfonso V, King of Aragon, Sicily and Naples.
The portrait of a blond lady in Spanish costume from the 1550s which exists in a number of copies, although idealized, bears a strong resemblance to the portrait of Sophia in French/German costume in Kassel by circle of Titian and her miniature in German/Polish dress by Cranach.
At least two paintings are preserved in Poland (one in Kraków acquired by Izabela Czartoryska in Edinburgh as a portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots, the other in Warsaw from the Radziwill collection) and one of inferior quality, most probably lost during World War II, was traditionally identified as Sophia.
After marriage of Isabella Jagiellon in 1539, Sophia was the eldest daughter of Bona still unmarried. Three of Bona's younger daughters dressed identically, as evidenced by their miniatures by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger from about 1553 and inventory of dowry of the youngest Catherine includes many Spanish garments, like a black velvet coat with "53 Spanish buckles of 270 thalers worth", "buckles on (thirteen) French and Spanish robes", or "a robe of black velvet at the throat in Spanish style" with 198 buckles, etc. The fashion was udobtedly used in complex Jagiellonian politics and the portraits could be commissioned in the Spanish Netherlands and Italy.
A portrait from the private collection in Sweden, possibly taken from Poland-Lithuania during the Deluge (1655-1660), and created by the same workshop, showns Sophia in similar Spanish/French costume.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) in Spanish costume by Flemish painter, 1550-1556, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) in Spanish/French costume by Flemish painter, 1550-1556, Private collection.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon by circle of Titian
The portrait of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575), Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg from the Von Borcke Palace in Starogard, which was lost during World War II, was most probably the only signed effigy showing her features the most accurately. It bears a strong resemblance to the features of a lady by a Venetian painter from the circle of Titian in Kassel.
The portrait in Kassel is tentatively identifed as effigy of Sophia's cousin Archduchess Eleanor of Austria (1534-1594), Duchess of Mantua (daughter of Anna Jagellonica, Queen of Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary), and a wife of Guglielmo Gonzaga, due to great similarity of garments and location, the Gonzagas of Mantua frequently commissioned their effigies in nearby Venice. However the face lacks an important feature, the notorious habsburg lip, allegedly stemming from Cymburgis of Masovia, a hallmark of prestige in the 16th century and inherited by Eleanor from her father, the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. The sitter's costume and features are very similar to these visible in a miniature showing Sophia's mother Bona Sforza (in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków), who visited Venice in 1556, the year of Sophia's marriage with the 66-year-old Duke Henry V of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. It is highly possible that the painting was commissioned in Venice by Sophia's brother, king Sigismund II Augustus or her mother.
In the same collection in Kassel, there are also two other portraits from the same period by Venetian painters, which are linked to Jagiellons, a portrait of Sophia's sister Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) and a portrait of a general, which according to Iryna Lavrovskaya, could be an effigy of influential cousin of Barbara Radziwill (second wife of Sophia's brother), Nicholas "The Black" Radziwill (Heritage, N. 2, 1993. pp. 82-84).
The marriage of a 34-year-old princess with an old man was mocked in a painting, created by workshop or follower of Lucas Cranach the Elder, preserved in the National Gallery in Prague. The work was acquired in 1945 from the Nostitz picture collection in Prague (first probable record 1738, definite record 1818). The painter used earlier effigies of the Princess in the popular subject of the "grotesque marriage", dating back to antiquity when Plautus, a Roman comic poet from the 3rd century BC, cautioned elderly men against courting younger ladies. The inscription SMVST.A. on her bonnet should be therefore interpreted as a satirical anagram.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) in a black dress by circle of Titian, ca. 1553-1565, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) in black dress by circle of Titian, most probably Lambert Sustris, ca. 1553-1565, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
Ill-Matched Lovers, caricature of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) and her husband Henry V of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1489-1568) by follower of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1556, National Gallery in Prague.
Portraits of Sigismund Augustus and his third wife by Tintoretto
After Sigismund I's marriage to Bona Sforza in 1518, the presence of Italian artists in Poland-Lithuania gradually increased.
In 1547 a painter Pietro Veneziano (Petrus Venetus), most probably in Kraków, created a painting to the main altar of the Wawel Cathedral. Ten years later, on March 10, 1557 in Vilnius, King Sigismund Augustus issues a passport to the Venetian painter Giovanni del Monte to go to Italy, and according to Vasari, Paris Bordone has "sent to the King of Poland a painting which was held very beautiful, in which was Jupiter and a nymph" (Mandò al Re di Polonia un quadro che fu tenuto cosa bellissima, nel quale era Giove con una ninfa). The latter also created an allegorical portrait of royal jeweller Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio, receiving medallion with king's effigy as a proof of his nobilitation and royal patronage of Sigismund Augustus.
Contacts with the Venetian milieu of Titian have very probably further intensified when in 1553 Sigismund Augustus married his cousin Catherine of Austria, widowed Duchess of Mantua as a wife of Francesco III Gonzaga.
Poland and Lithuania at that time were considered as one on the largest exporters of pelts of various animals: "the total number of hides exported from Poland in the second half of the 16th century amounted to about 150,000" (Acta Poloniae Historica, 1968, Volumes 18 - 20, p. 203). A companion to a portrait of Sigismund in a fur coat is a portrait of his third wife Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) with a globe and a compass, with similar dimensions (109 × 91 cm / 110 × 83 cm), now in Belgrade, both from Contini Bonacossi collection. Catherine's interest in cartography is confirmed by support to cartographer Stanisław Pachołowiecki, who was in her service between 1563-1566.
In 1565 Flavio Ruggieri described the king: "He is 45 years old, of fairly good height, mediocre, great sweetness of character, more inclined to peace than war, speaks Italian by the memory of his mother, he loves horses and he has more than three thousand of them in his stable, he likes jewels of which he has more than a million red zlotys worth, he dresses simply, although he has rich robes, namely furs of great value".
Portrait of king Sigismund II Augustus wearing a black fur trimmed coat by Tintoretto, 1550s, Private collection.
Portrait of king Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) by Tintoretto, 1550s, Private collection.
Portrait of king Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) in a fur coat by Tintoretto, ca. 1565, Uffizi Gallery.
Portrait of queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) with a globe and a compass by Tintoretto or Titian, ca. 1565, National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade.
Portaits of Sigismund Augustus, Catherine of Austria and court dwarf Estanislao by Venetian painters
In 1553 Sigismund II Augustus decided to marry for the third time with a widowed Duchess of Mantua and his cousin Catherine of Austria. The wedding celebrations lasted 10 days and Catherine brought as a dowry 100,000 florins as well as 500 grzywnas of silver, 48 expensive dresses, and about 800 jewels. Somewhat distant marriage continued for a few years and Catherine became close with two yet-unmarried sisters of Sigismund, Anna and Catherine Jagiellon.
The royal court travelled frequently from Kraków through Warsaw to Vilnius. In October 1558 the queen became seriously ill. Sigismund was convinced that it was epilepsy, the same disease that tormented his first wife and Catherine's sister. For this reason, the marriage has become even more distant and the king sought to obtain annulment. It was a matter of international importance, Catherine's father Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor ruled vast territories to the west and south of Poland-Lithuania and assisted Tsar Ivan the Terrible in expanding his empire on eastern border of Sigismund's realm, while Catherine's cousin King Philip II of Spain was the most powerful man in Europe, ruler of half the known world from whom Sigismund was claiming the inheritance of his mother Bona. The queen become attached to her new homeland and her family used their influence to not allow the divorce. The arch-Catholic king of Spain undeniably received portraits of the couple.
The portrait of a lady in a dress of green damask attributed to Titian from the Spanish royal collection is very similar to Catherine's portrait by the same painter in the Voigtsberg Castle and to her portrait in Belgrade. It is recorded in the inventory of the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid of 1794 as a companion to a portrait of a soldier, now attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni, a painter trained under Moretto da Brescia and Titian: "No. 383. Another [painting] by Titian: Portrait of a Madam: a yard and a quarter long and a yard wide, companion to 402. gilt frame" (Otra [pintura] de Tiziano: Retrato de una madama: de vara y quarta de largo y una de ancho, compañera del 402. marco dorado) and "No. 402. Another [painting] by Titian: half-length portrait of a man, a yard and a half high and a yard wide, with gilt frame" (Otra [pintura] de Tiziano: retrato de medio cuerpo de un hombre, de vara y media de alto y vara de ancho, con marco dorado). The effigy of "a soldier" bears great resemblance to portraits of the king and his costume is in similar style to that visible in a miniature by Cranach the Younger in the Czartoryski Museum.
Both paintings have similar dimensions (119 x 91 cm / 117 x 92 cm) and matching compostion, just as portraits of Pietro Maria Rossi, Count of San Secondo and his wife Camilla Gonzaga by Parmigianino in the same collection (Prado Museum), with the wife's portrait painted with "cheaper", simple dark background. The portraits of Sigismund and Catherine from Contini Bonacossi collection, although very similar, differ slightly in style, one is closer to Tintoretto, the other to Titian, therefore it cannot be excluded that just as in case of Sigismund's famous Flemish tapestries his large commission for a series of portraits was realized by different cooperating workshops from the Venetian Republic.
Sigismund Augustus reunited with his wife in October 1562 at the wedding of Catherine Jagiellon in Vilnius. The king's sisters and his wife dressed similarly and similar Venetian style dress to that visible in the portrait of queen Catherine is included in the inventory of Catherine Jagiellon's dowry: "Damask (4 pieces). A long green damask robe, on it the embroidery of gold cloth with red silk, wide at the bottom, covered with patterned green velvet, trimmed with gold lace on it with green silk. The bodice and sleeves along embroidered with the same embroidery."
Sigismund Augustus had his ambassadors in Spain, Wojciech Kryski, between 1559 and 1562 and Piotr Wolski in 1561. He sent letters to the king of Spain and to his secretary Gonzalo Pérez (like on 1 January 1561, Estado, leg. 650, f. 178). He also had his informal envoys in Spain, dwarves Domingo de Polonia el Mico, who appears in the house of Don Carlos between 1559 and 1565, and Estanislao (Stanisław, d. 1579), who was at the court of Philip II between 1553 and 1562, and whom Covarrubias cited as "smooth and well proportioned in all his limbs" and other sources described as a skillful, well educated and sensible person (after Carl Justi's "Velázquez y su siglo", p. 621). Estanislao is recorded back in Poland between 1563-1571. Apart from being a skilled huntsman he was also most probably a skilled diplomat, just as Jan Krasowski, called Domino, a Polish dwarf of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France or Dorothea Ostrelska, also known as Dosieczka, female dwarf of Sigismund's sister Catherine Jagiellon, queen of Sweden.
In 1563 the king of Spain placed two portraits of Estanislao, one showing him in Polish costume of crimson damask, both by Titian, among the portraits of the royal family in his palace El Pardo in Madrid (included in the inventory of the palace of 1614 -1617, number 1060 and 1070). It is also very probable that the king of Poland had his portrait. The portrait of unknown dwarf in Kassel attributed to Anthonis Mor, although stylistically also close to Venetian school, seems to fit perfectly. In the same collection in Kassel there are also other portraits linked to Jagiellons. A pensive monkey in this painting is clearly more a symbol connected to deep knowledge and intelligence than joyfulness.
A drawing by Federico Zuccaro (Zuccari) in Cerralbo Museum in Madrid shows a monarch receiving an emissary with a cardinal and figures in Polish costumes. The effigy of the monarch is similar to portrait of King Sigismund II Augustus in coronation robes from the thesis of Gabriel Kilian Ligęza (1628) and other effigies of the king. In the National Gallery of Ireland, there is another drawing by Zuccaro, showing king's mother Bona Sforza. Between 1563 and 1565, the painter was active in Venice with the Grimani family of Santa Maria Formosa. It is highly probable that he was also employed on some large order from the king of Poland.
Portrait of king Sigismund Augustus in crimson costume by Giovanni Battista Moroni or circle of Titian, possibly Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1560, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of queen Catherine of Austria in a dress of green damask by Giovanni Battista Moroni or circle of Titian, possibly Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1560, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of court dwarf Estanislao (Stanisław, d. 1579) by Anthonis Mor or circle of Titian, ca. 1560, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Sigismund II Augustus receiving an emissary, with a cardinal and figures in Polish costumes by Federico Zuccaro, 1563-1565, Cerralbo Museum in Madrid.
Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland by Federico Zuccaro, 1563-1565, National Gallery of Ireland.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Catherine Jagiellon and Catherine of Austria as Venus by Titian
In 1558 died Mary Tudor and Philip II of Spain, ruler of the half of the known world was widowed again. He decided to marry. The future wife should be fertile and bear him many healthy sons, as his only son Don Carlos was showings signs of mental instability. At the same time the contacts of the Polish court with Spain increased. It is possible that Sigismund Augustus proposed his two unmarried sisters Anna and Catherine and sent to Spain their portraits. The match with the king of Spain, apart from great prestige, would also allow Sigismund to claim the heritage of his mother and the Neapolitan sums.
In January 1558, the councilor of the king of Spain, Alonso Sánchez took possession of the goods of the late Queen of Poland Bona in the name of the Spanish Crown and sequestered everything that was in the castle in Bari. Wojciech Kryski was sent to Madrid to appeal to Philip II about Bona's inheritance. Instructions for Kryski (January 16, 1558) and a letter from Sigismund Augustus to Philip (April 17, 1558) were dated from Vilnius.
A letter of Pietro Aretino to Alessandro Pesenti of Verona, musician at the royal court, dated 17 July 1539, is the earliest witness to Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio's presence in Poland. Pesenti had been the organist to Cardinal Ippolito d'Este before becoming a royal musician at the Polish court on 20 August 1521. He was Bona's favourite organist and Caraglio created a medal with his profile on obverse and muscial instruments on reverse (Münzkabinett in Berlin).
There were also other eminent Italian muscicians in royal capella, like Giovanni Balli, known in Poland as Dziano or Dzianoballi, who in the 1560s was paid 25 florins quaterly and many others.
Among the lute players, the favourite of the king Sigismund II Augustus was Walenty Bakwark or Greff Bakffark (1515-1576), born in Transylvania who entered his service on 12 June 1549 in Kraków. He recieved many gifts from the king and his salary increased from 150 florins in 1558 to 175 florins in 1564. In 1559 he acquired a house in Vilnius and he travelled to Gdańsk, Augsburg, Lyon, Rome and Venice. From 1552 the court organist of the king was Marcin Andreopolita of Jędrzejów and Mikołaj of Chrzanów (d. 1562), an organist and composer.
Most probably before his arrival to Poland Caraglio created numerous erotic prints, including sets of Loves of the Gods, which also contain very explicit scenes. One depicting Venus and Cupid (Di Venere et amore) is signed by him (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). In April 1552, he made a brief return trip to Italy.
On October 18, 1558 in Warsaw, Sigismund Augustus issued a privilege to Prospero Provano (or Prosper Provana, d. 1584), a Piedmontese merchant, to arrange permanent post Kraków - Venice via Vienna (Ordinatio postae Cracowia Venetias et super eandem generosus Prosper Provana praeficitur). The company was subsidized by the king and Prospero was paid 1,500 thalers a year by the royal treasury. The post was to transport luggage and people.
Two paintings by Titian from the Spanish royal collection and one from the Medici collection in Florence by workshop of Titian shows Venus, goddess of love. They were created at the same time and they are almost identical, the protagonists however are different. In Prado versions the musician is interrupted in the act of making music by the sight of a nude beauty. He directs his eyes to her womb. In Uffizi version a musician is replaced with a partridge, a symbol of sexual desire. As in Venus of Urbino, all alludes to the qualities of a bride and the purpose of the painting. A dog is a symbol of fidelity, donkeys refer to eternal love, a stag is the attribute of the huntress Diana, a virgin goddess and protector of childbirth and a peacock, sacred animal of Juno, queen of the gods, sitting on a fountain refer to fecundity. A statue of satyr on the fountain is a symbol of the sexuality and voluptuous love. A pair of embraced lovers are heading towards the setting sun.
Paintings from Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Fitzwilliam Museum are similar, but the women are married. The musician directs his eyes to breasts of the goddess, a symbol of maternity, or her head crowned with a wreath. Her womb is covered and in Berlin painting the goddess is departing (carriage in the background). The lanscape with stags and dancing satires in paintings of crowned Venus allude to fecundity.
Despite the divine beauty of two sisters of king of Poland, Anna and Catherine Jagiellon, Philip decided for more favorable match with neighbouring France and married Elizabeth of France, who was engaged with his son. The younger Catherine married Duke of Finland in 1562 and departed to Finland. The painting in Gemäldegalerie in Berlin was acquired in 1918 from private collection in Vienna and the painting in Fitzwilliam Museum was in the Imperial collection in Prague by 1621, therefore both were sent to Habsburgs.
The painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art was described in great detail in a 1724 inventory of the Pio di Savoia collection in Rome. Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, humanist and patron of the arts, was the favorite candidate of Philip II of Spain in the Conclave of 1559. Catherine of Austria, willing to save her marriage and give the heir to Sigismund Augustus, most probably sent her portait to Rome to get a blessing, just as her mother Anna Jagellonica in about 1531 (Borghese Gallery).
The effigy of Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Titian from about 1560 in the Prado Museum is very similar to other effigies of Queen Catherine and her portraits as Venus. The slashed wheel and the sword allude to the martyrdom of the saint and difficult marital situation of the Queen. Her royal status was appropriate for a foundation such as Royal Monastery of El Escorial (recorded as far as 1593). Despite her efforts she did not managed to save her marriage.
The painting of Venus in Berlin was acquired in 1918, the year when Poland regained its independance after 123 years, eliminated by neighbouring countries. Blond goddeses of European culture were rulers of the country that should not exist (in the opinion of countries that partitioned the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), something totally inimaginable and inacceptable to many people back then.
Portrait of Princess Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) as Venus with the organ player by Titian, ca. 1558, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of Princess Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) as Venus with the organ player by Titian, ca. 1558, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of Princess Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) as Venus with a partridge (Venere della pernice) by workshop of Titian, ca. 1558, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait of Princess Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) as Venus with the organ player by Titian, ca. 1562, Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
Portrait of Queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) as Venus with the lute player by Titian, 1558-1565, Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Portrait of Queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) as Venus with the lute player by Titian, 1558-1565, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) as Saint Catherine by Titian, 1558-1565, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon in red by Giovanni Battista Moroni
A young woman in the portrait of a lady, known as La Dama in Rosso (Lady in Red) by Giovanni Battista Moroni in the National Gallery in London, bears great resemblance to Catherine Jagiellon's miniature in German costume by Lucas Cranach the Younger and her portraits by Titian and his workshop.
The identification as a portrait of poetess Lucia Albani Avogadro (1534-1568) is manly based on engraved effigy of Lucia in profile, with generic resemblance, by Giovanni Fortunato Lolmo created between 1575 and 1588, therefore almost ten years after her death, and inventory of Scipione Avogadro's collection in Brescia, which describes "two portraits by Moretto [da Brescia], one of the count Faustino, standing, the other of the countess Lucia, his wife" (Due ritratti del Moretto, uno del conte Faustino in piedi, altro della contessa Lucia sua moglie).
The painting was purchased from Signor Giuseppe Baslini at Milan in 1876 with other portraits from Fenaroli Avogadro collection, most probably from their villa in Rezzato, near Brescia. Its previous history is unknown, it is threfore possible that it was acquired when their villa was extened in the 18th century or that Filippo Avogadro, who greeted Queen Bona in Treviso in 1556, wanted to have a portrait of her beautiful daughter.
The sitter is pointing to a simple fan of straw worked with silk, the main accessory as in the portrait by Titian in Dresden. The fan was regarded as a status symbol in ancient Rome and developed as a means of protecting the holy vessels from pollution caused by flies and other insects in the Christian Church (flabellum), thus becoming a symbol of chastity. In Venice and Padua a fan was carried by betrothed or married women.
Its specific octagonal shape might be a reference to renewal and transition as eight was the number of Resurrection (after George Ferguso's "Signs & Symbols in Christian Art", 1961, p. 154), can then be interpreted as readiness to change marital status. In 1560, at the age of 34, Catherine was still unmarried and did not want be betrothed to a tirant, Tsar Ivan IV, who invaded Livonia committing horrible atrocities. This portrait would be a good information that she prefers an Italian suitor. It was commissioned around the same time as portraits of Catherine's brother and his wife by Moroni, Titian or Sofonisba Anguissola (Prado Museum).
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) in red by Giovanni Battista Moroni or Sofonisba Anguissola, 1556-1560, National Gallery in London.
Portraits of Catherine Jagiellon by circle of Titian
In the 16th century fashion was an instrument of politics and princesses of Poland-Lithuania had in their coffers Spanish, French and German robes. The inventory of dowry of Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583), Duchess of Finland includes many items similar to these visible in the portraits identified as portraits of the Duchess of Urbino:
- "Necklaces with precious stones, 17 pieces (the most expensive 16,800 thalers)",
- "Pearl caps (13 pieces). From 40 thaler. to 335",
- "Buckles on (thirteen) French and Spanish robes",
- 17 velvet, long underneath garments, including one crimson with 72 French buckles, and "longitudinal pontałs [jewels and ornaments sewn onto the dress, imitating embroidery] with blocks with the same white and brown-red enamel is pair 146",
- 6 satin underneath garments, one robe of white satin embroidered with gold and silver with 76 buckles, and a robe of brown-red satin embroidered along the length with gold thread.
The famous pendant of Catherine with her monogram C with which she was buried, was not detailed in the inventory and a similar pearl snood net was depicted on the cameo of Catherine's mother Bona Sforza and on the portrait of a daughter of Ferdinand I of Austria, most probably one of the wives of Sigismund Augustus, in the National Gallery of Ireland. Numerous jewels and a bunch of roses allude to the purity and qualities of a bride. The necklace is a jewel in which three different stones are set, each with its own precise meaning: the emerald indicates chastity, the ruby indicates charity, the sapphire indicates purity and the big pearl is finally a symbol of marriage fidelity.
The monogram on French-style (?) buckles visible in the portrait, could be interpreted as interlaced CC, just as in monogram of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France. The identification as portrait of Giulia da Varano (1523-1547) is mainly based on inventory of the Ducal Palace of Pesaro from about 1624, which says about the portrait of the Duchess in ebony frames with her coat of arms and interlaced monogram G.G. of Giulia and her husband.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) by Venetian school, 1550s, Bardini Museum in Florence.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) in a pearl snood net by circle of Titian, ca. 1560, Private collection.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) as a bride by circle of Titian, before 1562, Pitti Palace in Florence.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon in white by Titian
In the first half of the 18th century, a Swedish painter Georg Engelhard Schröder, created copies of two portraits of Venetian ladies by Titian. These two portraits, in Gripsholm Castle near Stockholm, are undeniably a pair, pendants showing two members of the same family, sisters. They are the only two copies of Titian by Schröder in this collection, they have almost identical dimensions (99 x 80 cm / 100 x 81 cm), composition, the two women are similar and the paintings have even similar inventory number (NMGrh 187, NMGrh 186), a proof that they were always together. The woman holding a cross and a book is Anna Jagiellon, as in the painting by circle of Titian in Kassel, the other must be then her younger sister Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland from 1562 and later Queen of Sweden.
After 1715 the Gripsholm Castle was abandoned by the royal court and between 1720 and 1770, it was used as a county jail. In 1724 Schröder was made the court painter of Frederick I of Sweden, who highly valued him. It is very probable that the king ordered the painter to copy two old, damaged portraits of unknown ladies from Gripsholm, which were then thrown away, replaced with copies by Schröder.
The portrait of a second lady, in white dress and holding a fan, considered to be Titian's mistress, his daughter as a bride or a Venetian courtesan, is known from several copies. The best known is that in Dresden (without a pattern on sitter's dress, which a pupil of Titian most probably forgot or didin't managed to add), acquired in 1746 from the collection of the d'Este family, which were friends and allies of "a Milanese princess", Bona Sforza, Catherine's mother. The other, now lost, was copied by Peter Paul Rubens, most probably during his stay in Mantua between 1600-1608, tohether with a portrait of Isabella d'Este, also by Titian and also considered to be lost (both in Vienna) and another recorded by Anton van Dyck in his Italian sketchbook (British Museum) from the 1620s.
In case of a copy by Rubens, it's also highly probable that Catherine's son, Sigismund III Vasa, who ordered paintings and portraits from the Flemish painter, also commissioned a copy of a portrait of his mother in about 1628.
The dress, as that visible in the portraits, is described among the dresses of the Duchess of Finland in the inventory of her dowry from 1562: "Satin (6 pieces). Satin white robe; on it four embroidered rows at the bottom made of woven gold thread with silver; the bodice and sleeves are also embroidered in a similar manner; buckles on them with red enamel 76".
Even without Titian's idealization, Catherine, just as her mother, was considered a beautiful woman, which, unfortunately, is less visible in her portraits in German costume by Cranach the Younger. The Russian envoy reported to Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1560 that Catherine was beautiful, but that she was crying (after Eva Mattssons' "Furstinnan : en biografi om drottning Katarina Jagellonica", 2018), unwilling to marry a man famous of his violence and cruelty.
The painting in Dresden, and its copies, was most probably commissioned by Sigismund Augustus or Anna Jagiellon and sent to the Italian friends.
In 1563, King Eric XIV of Sweden imprisoned his brother John and his consort Catherine Jagiellon in the Gripsholm Castle. Few years later Catherine granted authority to her sister Anna to fight for the Italian inheritance of Queen Bona.
Another version of this portrait by circle of Titian, most probably from the collection of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575), Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel is also in Kassel not far from Brunswick. The three sisters Sophia, Anna and Catherine are therefore reunited in their portraits by circle of Titian in Kassel.
In the Uffizi Gallery in Florence there is also a miniature by an Italian painter, possibly Sofonisba Anguissola, showing the same blond woman in a costume similar to that visible in portraits of Catherine Stenbock, Dowager Queen of Sweden from the 1560s. It depicts Catherine Jagiellon during the time of imprisonment in Gripsholm Castle between 1563 and 1567.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in white by Titian, ca. 1562, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in white by circle of Titian, ca. 1562, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in white by Peter Paul Rubens after lost original by Titian, ca. 1600-1608 or 1628, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland holding a rose by Flemish painter after Titian, after 1562, Canterbury Museums and Galleries.
Miniature portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland by Italian painter, possibly Sofonisba Anguissola, 1563-1567, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon holding a zibellino by Tintoretto
In 1562 on the occasion of the wedding of her younger sister Catherine in Vilnius, Anna ordered for herself three gowns: "one robe of red taffeta, and two hazuka dresses of red velvet" all sewn with pearls. The sisters dressed identically, as evidenced by their miniatures by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger from about 1553. Inventory of Catherine's dowry includes many items similar to these visible on the portrait of a lady holding a zibellino by Tintoretto from about 1565:
- a golden belt set with rubies, sapphires and pearls valued at 1,700 thalers,
- "a black sable stitched together from two, his head and four feet are golden, set with precious stones" of 1,400 thalers worth,
- a chain of large round, oriental pearls of 1,000 thalers worth,
- a neacklace of round, oriental pearls of 985 thalers worth,
- velvet long, crimson robe with three rows of pearl edgings with 72 French-style enameled buckles,
- velvet crimson hazuka dress lined with sables,
- four velvet outer garments for summer,
- eleven white linen shirts with gold sleeves,
and even "one large yellow Turkish rug for the table".
In September 1565 arrived to Cracow count Clemente Pietra to announce the marriage of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany with a cousin of Sigismund Augustus and Anna, Joanna of Austria (a sister of Sigismund Augustus' first and third wife) and to ask for the hand of Anna for 16 years old Ferdinando, brother of Duke Francesco.
It is highly probable that on this occasion the king commissioned in the workshop of Tintoretto in Venice a portrait of himself, his wife and his 42 years old sister, created just as earlier effigies of the Jagiellons by medalier van Herwijck or painter Cranach the Younger, basing on drawings or miniatures sent from Poland.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) when Crown Princess of Poland-Lithuania holding a zibellino by Tintoretto, ca. 1565, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Jan Amor Tarnowski or Sigismund the Old by Tintoretto
The portrait is astonishingly similar in features, pose and and style of armour to the well known effigy of Jan Amor Tarnowski commissioned by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski in about 1781 for his gallery of effigies of Famous Poles at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The portrait, just as the rest, was undoubtedly based on some original portrait still preserved in the royal collection.
During the Great Northern War, royal residencies of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a Venetian style republic of nobles created in 1569 with support of the last male Jagiellon, Sigismund Augustus, were ransacted and burned again by different invaders in 1702 and 1707. That is why some effigy of Sigismund Augustus, survived in the royal collection in about 1768, was confused with the effigy of the progenitor of the Polish-Lithuanian dynasty - Ladislaus Jagiello in the cycle of Polish Kings in the Marble Room at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, commissioned by Poniatowski. It cannot be excluded also that a portrait of Sigismund I the Old, Sigismund Augustus' father, was confused with that of Tarnowski.
Jan Amor Tarnowski (1488-1561) was a renowned military commander, military theoretician, and statesman, who in 1518 became a knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and was accoladed by King Manuel I in Lisbon as a knight of Portugal.
The portrait bears finally some ressemblance to effigies of Jan Amor and his son on his monumental tomb in the Tarnów Cathedral, created between 1561 and 1573 by Venetian trained sculptor Giovanni Maria Mosca called Padovano, who also created tomb monuments of two wives of Sigismund Augustus.
Portrait of a man in armour holding a baton, most probably Jan Amor Tarnowski or Sigismund the Old by Jacopo Tintoretto, 1560-1575, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of a man in armour with a crimson tunic, holding a baton, most probably Jan Amor Tarnowski or Sigismund the Old by circle of Jacopo Tintoretto, 1560-1575, Private collection.
Portrait of Jan Kochanowski by Giovanni Battista Moroni
Almost all old churches in former territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth have at least one good quality tomb monument in Italian style with effigy of deceased, but portrait paintings are very rare. Wars and invasions impoverished the nation and majority of non-religious paintings that preserved in the country, were sold by the owners.
The exact date of birth of Jan Kochanowski is unknown, however according to inscription on poet's epitaph in the church in Zwoleń near Radom, he died on August 22, 1584 at the age of 54 (Obiit anno 1584 die 22 Augusti. Aetatis 54), therefore he was born in 1530. He started his education at the Artium Faculty of the Kraków Academy in 1544. Presumably in June 1549, he left the Academy and, perhaps, went to Wrocław, where he stayed until the end of 1549. Between 1551-1552 he stayed in Królewiec (Königsberg), the capital of Polish Prussia (fiefdom under the Polish crown). From Królewiec, he left for Padua in 1552, where he studied until 1555. Kochanowski was elected a counselor of the Polish nation at the University of Padua (presumably from June to August 2, 1554). He returned to Poland in 1555 and after several months in Królewiec and Radom, he left for Italy at the end of the summer of 1556, presumably to repair his health. He was back in Poland between 1557 and 1558 and in spring that year he left for Italy for the third time. At the end of 1558, Kochanowski went to France, and in May 1559, he finally returned to Poland.
In mid-1563, Jan entered the service of Deputy Chancellor Piotr Myszkowski, thanks to which he become the royal secretary of king Sigismund Augustus, before February 1564, the office he held untill his death. In 1564, he helped his friend Andrzej Patrycy Nidecki (Andreas Patricius Nidecicus), also secretary at the traveling court and chancellery of Sigismund Augustus (Kraków - Warsaw - Vilnius). Nidecki was preparing the second fundamental edition of Cicero's "Fragments" for printing. It was published in Venice in 1565 by the printer Giordano Ziletti (Andr. Patricii Striceconis Ad Tomos IIII Fragmentorvm M. Tvllii Ciceronis ex officina Stellae Iordani Zileti), who also published many other Polish-Lithuanian authors. In October 1565 another royal secretary and Kochanowski's friend, Piotr Kłoczowski (or Kłoczewski), left for Ferrara as king's envoy to attend the wedding of Alfonso II d'Este with Sigismund Augustus' cousin Archduchess Barbara of Austria. Kłoczowski, who apparently accompanied him during his first trip to Italy, offered him a new journey: "Piotr, I don't want to take you to Italy a second time. You will get there alone: it's time for me to deal with myself. If I am to become a priest, or better a courtier, If I will live at the court or in my land", wrote the poet (Xięga IV, XII.).
Jan Kochanowski, considered one of the greatest Polish poets, died in Lublin. His nephews Krzysztof (d. 1616) and Jerzy (d. 1633), founded him a marble epitaph in the family chapel in Zwoleń, created in Kraków in about 1610 by workshop of Giovanni Lucano Reitino di Lugano and transported to Zwoleń.
The portrait of a man holding a letter by Giovanni Battista Moroni in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam can be compared with poet's posthumous effigy in Zwoleń. It bears the inscription in Latin and artist's signature at the bottom of the letter: AEt. Suae. XXXV. Miii MDLXV. Giu. Bat.a Moroni (Age 35. 1565. Giovanni Battista Moroni), which match perfectly the age of Kochanowski in 1565.
Portrait of Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) aged 35 holding a letter by Giovanni Battista Moroni, 1565, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Wawrzyniec Goślicki by Giovanni Battista Moroni
On January 3, 1567 Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki (Laurentius Grimaldius Goslicius) obtained the degree of Doctor Utruisque Juris (doctor of both laws - civil and church law) at the University of Bologna.
Goślicki was born near Płock in Masovia and after studying at Kraków's Academy he left for Italy after 1562. During his studies in Padua, in 1564, he published the Latin poem De victoria Sigismundi Augusti, which he dedicated to the victory of king Sigismund II Augustus over tsar Ivan IV the Terrible in the war of 1560. After receiving his doctorate in Bologna he visited Rome, and then Naples together with his friends. On the way back, Goślicki stopped in Rome for a while. In 1568, during his stay in Venice, he published his best-known work, De optimo senatore, also dedicated to king Sigismund Augustus. The book printed by Giordano Ziletti was later translated into English with the titles of The Counselor and The Accomplished Senator. After his return to Poland in 1569, he entered the king's service as the royal secretary. He later decided to become a priest and he was elevated to the episcopal dignity in 1577. In 1586 he was made bishop of Kamieniec Podolski and according to a document issued by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese entitled Propositio cosistorialis, he was 48 in 1586, therefore he was born in 1538.
Wawrzyniec Goślicki died on October 31, 1607 in Ciążeń near Poznań as the Bishop of Poznań (from 1601) and was buried in the city's cathedral. According to his last will his tomb monument was to be modeled on the monument to his predecessor Bishop Adam Konarski, the work of Girolamo Canavesi, a sculptor from Milan, who had his workshop in Kraków. Goślicki's monument created in Kraków, most probably by workshop of Giovanni Lucano Reitino di Lugano, as Konarski's monument, was transported to Poznań after 1607.
The effigy of a young man by Giovanni Battista Moroni in Accademia Carrara in Bergamo is very similar to Goślicki's features in his statue in Poznań. According to inscription in Latin (ANNO . AETATIS . XXIX . / M . D . LXVII) the man was 29 in 1567, exactly as Goślicki when he earned his degree at Carolus Sigonius in Bologna.
Portrait of Wawrzyniec Goślicki (1538-1607) aged 29 by Giovanni Battista Moroni, 1567, Accademia Carrara in Bergamo.
Portraits of Sigismund Augustus with his maritime fleet and at the old age by Tintoretto
In 1655 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a wealthy Venetian style republic of nobles created in 1569 with support of the last male Jagiellon, Sigismund Augustus was invaded by neighbouring countries from north, south, east and west - the Deluge (1655-1660). Royal and magnate residencies in Warsaw, Kraków, Grodno and Vilnius and other locations were ransacted and burned which resulted in the loss of works by the greatest Venetian painters, like Paris Bordone, Tintoretto or Palma Giovane and a loss of memory of the royal effigies and their patronage.
The portrait of a "Venetian admiral" in armour from the 1570s, acquired by the National Museum in Warsaw in 1936 from the Popławski collection bears a great resemblance to the effigies of the king from the last years of his life.
According to "Universae historiae sui temporis libri XXX" (editio aucta 1581, p. 516), originally published in Venice in 1572, the king was about to set up an enormous fleet against Denmark, consisting of galleys with three, five and more rows on the Venetian model in order to protect "Sarmatia". In the spring of 1570 he entrusted the Maritime Commission with the construction of the first ship for the Polish-Lithuanian maritime fleet, while bringing in specialists Domenico Zaviazelo (Dominicus Sabioncellus) and Giacomo de Salvadore from Venice.
Shortly before turning 50 in 1570, the king's health rapidly declined. Antonio Maria Graziani recalls that Sigismund was unable to keep standing without a cane when greeting Venetian Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Commendone in November 1571 who was sent by Pope Pius V to join Venice, Papal States and Spain in the interest of a crusade against the Ottoman Empire.
Portrait of king Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) in armour with his maritime fleet by Tintoretto, ca. 1570, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of king Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) in crimson żupan by Tintoretto, ca. 1570, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of king Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) in a hat by Tintoretto, ca. 1572, Private collection.
Portrait of Infanta Juana de Austria with court dwarf Ana de Polonia by Sofonisba Anguissola
"We have a great joy with them (...) each day this gift becomes more pleasant to us, for which we also offer our grateful appreciation to Vostrae Serenitati" wrote emperor Charles V on May 11, 1544 to Queen Bona Sforza, who sent him two dwarfs raised at her court, Kornel and Katarzyna.
Dwarfs were present at the Polish court since the Middle Ages, however it was during the reign of Sigismund I and Bona that their presence was significantly strengthened. As servants of Osiris and their association with other Egyptian gods of fertility and creation, like Bes, Hathor, Ptah, dwarfs were also symbols of fertility, revival and abundance in Ancient Roman World and one fresco from Pompeii near Naples is a very special example of it (after "The meaning of Dwarfs in Nilotic scenes" in: "Nile into Tiber: Egypt in the Roman World", Paul G.P. Meyboom and Miguel John Versluys, 2007, p. 205). To secure the endurance of the dynasty in the times when child mortality was very high, fertility was very important to Bona, granddaughter of Alfonso II, King of Naples.
There were Spanish dwarfs at the Polish court, like Sebastian Guzman, who was paid 100 florins, a cubit of Lyonian cloth and damask and Polish monarchs sent their dwarfs to Spain, like Domingo de Polonia el Mico, who appears in the house of Don Carlos between 1559-1565. The presence of Polish dwarfs was also significant at the French court. In 1556 Sigismund Augustus sent to Catherine de Medicis, Queen of France two dwarfs, called grand Pollacre and le petit nain Pollacre and in 1579 a dwarf Majoski (or Majosky) was even studying at her cost.
A lot of female dwarfs were at the court of the Jagiellons, like a certain Maryna, an old dwarf of Queen Bona, who was paid salary by king Stephen Bathory or Jagnieszka (Agnieszka), female dwarf of Princess Sophia Jagiellon, who was her secretary. Queen Barbara Radziwill, had at her court a dwarf Okula (or Okuliński) and she received two female dwarfs from the wife of voivode of Novogrudok.
After her mother left for her native Italy, when all her sisters were married and her brother was occupied with affairs of state and his mistresses, Anna Jagiellon spent time on embroidery, raising her foster children and dwarfs.
A portrait showing a little girl hiding under protective arm of a woman by Sofonisba Anguissola in Boston, due to appearance of her ruff can be dated to the late 1560s or early 1570s. The woman is Infanta Doña Juana de Austria (Joan of Austria), widowed Princess of Portugal, sister of king Philip II of Spain, ruler of one half of the world and mother of king Sebastian of Portugal, ruler of the second half of the world (according to Treaty of Tordesillas, 1494), sister of Holy Roman Empress Maria of Austria, as well as Archduchess of Austria, princess of Burgundy, a friend of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), one of the most influential religious orders of the Catholic Reformation, and whose confessor was her cousin Francis Borgia, third Superior General of the Jesuits. She was the most influential and powerful woman in Europe.
The portrait which is said to depict Catherine Stenbock (1535-1621), Queen of Sweden from the Stenbock Palace in Kolga (Kolk) in Estonia, now in private collection, is de facto a copy or a version of Juana de Austria's portrait by Alonso Sánchez Coello from 1557 (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna), most probably created by Sofonisba in about 1560. Kolga Palace was once owned by Swedish soldier Gustaf Otto Stenbock (1614-1685), who during the invasion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was promoted to field marshal. The painting, once sent to Sigismund Augustus or his sister Anna by Juana, was therefore taken from one of the royal residences during the Deluge (1655-1660) and this unknown lady was later identified as a Queen of Sweden from the Stenbock family.
The portrait in Boston is also very similar to the portrait in the Basque Museum in Bayonne by workshop of Sofonisba or Juan Pantoja de la Cruz. It depicts Isabel de Francia (Elisabeth of Valois, 1545-1568), Queen of Spain, daughter of Catherine de Medicis and third wife of Philip II, with a little girl, which could be her French female dwarf Doña Luisa. It was a portrait of Queen Isabel that Sofonisba sent to the Pope Pius IV in 1561: "I heard from the most reverend Nuncio of your Holiness, that you desired a portrait, from my hands, of her Majesty the Queen, my mistress", according to Sofonisba's letter dated Madrid, September 16, 1561 and "We have received the portrait of the most serene Queen of Spain, our dearest daughter, that you have sent us" according to Pope's letter dated Rome, October 15, 1561.
The girl in Boston portrait is holding in her hand three roses. The association of the rose with love is too common to require elaboration, it was the flower of Venus, goddess of love in ancient Rome. Three flowers symbolize also Christian teological virtues, faith, hope and love, with love pointed as "the greatest of these" by Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 13).
She is therefore a foreigner at the Spanish court and the painting is a message: I am safe, I have a powerful protector, do not worry about me, I love you, I remember about you and I miss you. It is a message to someone very important to the girl, but also important to Juana. We can assume with a high degree of probability that it is a message to the girl's foster mother Anna Jagiellon, who to strengthen her chances to the crown after death of her brother, assumed the unprecedented but politically important Spanish title of Infanta: Anna Infans Poloniae (Anna, Infanta of Poland, e.g her letter to cardinal Stanisław Hozjusz, from Łomża, 16 November 1572).
In the 16th century Spanish portraiture even members of the same family were rarely depicted together. Suffocating court etiquette made exception only to dwarfs and court jesters, like in the portrait of infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia with a female dwarf Magdalena Ruiz by Alonso Sánchez Coello from about 1585 (Prado Museum) or in the portrait of pregnant youger sister of Anna of Austria (1573-1598), Queen of Poland - Margaret, Queen of Spain with a female dwarf Doña Sofía (her name might indicate Eastern origin) from about 1601 by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz or Bartolomé González (Kunsthistorisches Museum).
Blood connections and family ties were very important to Spanish Habsburgs, Ana de Austria (Anna of Austria, 1549-1580), fourth wife of Philip II, was his niece (her mother Maria was his sister and her father was his cousin).
Spanish sources mentions that in 1578 died Doña Ana de Polonia, court dwarf of Queen Ana de Austria (after "Ana de Austria (1549-1580) y su coleccion artistica", in: "Portuguese Studies Review", Almudena Perez de Tudela, 2007, p. 199), most probably the same mentioned in 1578 in Cuentas de Mercaderes (Merchant Accounts), M. 4, granting her a skirt and other clothing. If this girl is the same with that in the portrait of Juana, and after death of Juana in 1573 she joned the court of a foreign queen who arrived to Spain in autumn of 1570, this lovely green-eyed girl was probably someone more than an agreeable court dwarf.
Her name might indicate, apart from the country of her origin, also her family, like Doña Juana de Austria (Joan of Austria, Joan from the House of Austria, the Habsburgs), who was born in Madrid and never visited Austria, hence Doña Ana de Polonia (Anna of Poland, Anna from the House of Poland, the Jagiellons). So was this girl an illegitimate daughter of Sigismund Augustus, who after death of Barbara in 1551 was desperate to have a child or his sister Anna, a vigorous (gagliarda di cervello) spinster? Such a bold hypothesis cannot be excluded due to its nature that rather should be concealed and kept secret, and lack of sources (in Poland apart from paintings, also many archives were destroyed during wars).
The preserved sources, especially from the last years of reign of Sigismund Augustus are controversial. Imperial envoy, Johannes Cyrus, Abbot of the Premonstratensian monastery in Wrocław, in a letter form 3 March 1571 states that "The king would even marry a beggar, if she only gave him a son" and Świętosław Orzelski, Sejm deputy and Lutheran activist, in his diary that "in the same castle [Royal Castle in Warsaw], where Infanta Anna lived, Zuzanna was lying in one bed, Giżanka in the second, third at Mniszek's, the fourth in the room of the royal chamberlain Kniaźnik, fifth at Jaszowski's" about "the falcons" (Zuzanna Orłowska, Anna Zajączkowska and Barbara Giżanka among others), mistresses of the king. He also allegedly had illegitimate daughters with them. Maybe a research in Spanish archives will allow to confirm or exclude the hypothesis that Ana de Polonia was a daughter of Sigismund or of his sister Anna and was sent to distant Spain.
The painting was purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1897 from the collection of Marchese Fabrizio Paolucci di Calboli in Forli. Its earlier history is unknown. It was most probably aquired in Poland by cardinal Camillo Paolucci, born in Forli, who was a papal nuncio in Poland between 1727-1738. Also earlier provenance is possible through cardinal Alessandro Riario Sforza, a distant relative of Anna from the branch of the family who were lords of Forli and Imola, who was named papal legate in Spain in 1580, just two years after death of Ana de Polonia, and who could acquire a copy of painting made for Queen of Poland.
Portrait of Infanta Juana de Austria (Joan of Austria) from the Stenbock Palace by Sofonisba Anguissola or workshop, ca. 1560, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Isabel de Francia (Elisabeth of Valois) with a female dwarf by Sofonisba Anguissola or workshop, 1565-1568, Basque Museum in Bayonne.
Portrait of Infanta Juana de Austria (Joan of Austria) with female dwarf Ana de Polonia by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1572, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by Tintoretto and circle of Titian
"The Queen is fresh and in such good health that I would not consider it a miracle if she were to become pregnant", reported from Warsaw on 29 January 1579, Giovanni Andrea Caligari (1527-1613), papal nuncio in Poland, about 56 years old Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, overweightness and obesity were considered symbols of sexual attractiveness and well-being" (Naheed Ali's "The Obesity Reality: A Comprehensive Approach to a Growing Problem", 2012, p. 7) and Anna's mother Bona Sforza, who visited Venice in 1556, was obese in her 40s and 50s, as visible in the cameo in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 17.190.869).
The Queen was a well known benefactor of the Cracow Academy (now Jagiellonian University) and she visted it twice on 20 July 1576 and on 24 April 1584. Three days after her last visit she sent the doctors of the Academy a mug of pure gold and a few beautifully bound books. It is highly probable that she also offered her portrait. The painting attributed to Tintorretto from about 1575, from the old collection of the Academy and identifed as an effigy of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus (1454-1510), could be considered as such.
If Elizabeth I (1533-1603), hereditary Queen of England, favoured the French fashion, especially "when the Anjou marriage negotiation were at their height" in about 1579 (Janet Arnold's "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd", 2020, p. 188), the elected Queen of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic, could prefer the fashion of the Venetian Serenissima.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Jacopo Tintoretto, ca. 1575, Jagiellonian University Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) holding a cross and a book by circle of Titian, 1560-1578, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Henry of Valois by workshop of Tintoretto
After the death of Sigismund II Augustus in 1572, Catherine of Medici, Queen of France, willing to make her favourite son Henry of Valois, Duke of Anjou the king of Poland, sent her court dwarf Jan Krasowski, called Domino to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under the guise of visiting his family in his homeland, he was to make some inquiries and explore the mood in the Commonwealth. Catherine used all her power to offer the crown to her son by influencing the noble electors.
In order to be more agreeable to the Ottoman Empire and strengthen a Polish-Ottoman alliance, on 16 May 1573, Polish-Lithuanian nobles chose Henry as the first elected monarch of the Commonwealth. He was officially crowned on 21 February 1574.
Expecting that Henry will marry her and she will become a Queen, Infanta Anna Jagiellon the wealthiest woman in the country and a sister of his predecessor, ordered French lilies to be embroidered on her dresses.
Despite the fact that he arrived to Poland with a large retinue of his young male lovers, known as the mignons (French for "the darlings"), including René de Villequier, François d'O and his brother Jean, Louis de Béranger du Guast and especially his beloved Jacques de Lévis, comte de Caylus (or Quélus), and that "he even flattered the Polish lords by cleverly adopting their attire", as wrote Venetian envoy Girolamo Lippomano, he was not feeling well in the unknown country.
After death of his brother Charles IX, Catherine urged him to return to France. During the night of 18/19 June 1574, Henry secretly fled the country.
The portrait of a man in black hat by workshop of Tintoretto from private collection in Milan is almost identical with the portrait of Henry depicted against the wall hanging with his coat of arms as King of Poland in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest by Italian painter (inventory 52.602) and his portrait holding a crown in the Doge's Palace in Venice (Sala degli Stucchi) by workshop of Tintoretto.
It bears no distinction, no reference to his royal status, as in mentioned two portraits in Budapest and Venice, he is depicted as a simple nobleman. It is higly probable then that it was one of a series of state portraits commissioned by Anna in Venice before Henry's coronation, as a clear signal that he should marry her before becoming a king.
The Infanta was most probably well aware of his inclination towards men, as apart from Krasowski, there were also other Polish dwarfs at the French court. Raised at the multicultural court of the Jagiellons, where people spoke Latin, Italian, Ruthenian, Polish and German, they were perfect diplomats. In 1572 king Sigismund Augustus sent to Charles IX, four dwarfs and in October that year, Claude La Loue brought another three dwarfs from Poland as a gift from Emperor Maximilian II, father of Charles IX's wife Elisabeth of Austria (after Auguste Jal's "Dictionnaire critique de biographie et d'histoire", 1867, p. 896).
A portrait, said to be Mariana of Austria with a female dwarf wearing a wimple from a private collection in Spain, lost, is very similar to the portrait of Elisabeth of Austria in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which is attributed to Giacomo de Monte (Netherlandish Jakob de Monte, according to some sources). Painter of similar name, Giovanni del Monte, possibly Giacomo's brother, is mentioned as a court painter of Sigismund Augustus before 1557. It is therefore highly probable that the portrait of Queen of France with her dwarf was created for or at the initiative of the Polish-Lithuanian court.
Portrait of Henry of Valois, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Tintoretto, ca. 1573, Private collection.
Portrait of Elisabeth of Austria, wife of Charles IX as a widow with a female dwarf wearing a wimple by Jakob de Monte, after 1574, Private collection, lost.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by circle of Veronese
On 15 December 1575, in Wola near Warsaw, infanta Anna Jagiellon and her husband Stephen Bathory, Voivode of Transylvania were elected as monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Since the end of the 1570s Anna's court was bursting with life and she kept lively correspondence with many Italian princes, like Francesco I de Medici and his mistress Bianca Cappello, the daughter of Venetian nobleman Bartolomeo Cappello, exchanging news on politics and fashion, sending and receiving gifts (cosmetics, medicaments, crystal bowls and cups, luxury fancy goods, small pieces of furniture e.g. marble tables, silver incrusted boxes etc.) and even courtiers. "From February of 1581 to December of that year, several letters from the agent of Bianca Cappello [...] Alberto Bolognetti, described the perfect female dwarf he found for Cappello in Warsaw; the nana is described as having great "proportions" and being "very beautiful." The nana's travels through Cracow and Vienna were fully documented [...]" (Touba Ghadessi's "Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance", p. 63).
The portrait of a lady by circle of Paolo Veronese from the 1570s, traditionally identified as effigy of Catherine Cornaro (1454-1510), Queen of Cyprus, and known in at least three variants (in Vienna, Montauban and private collection), bears a strong resemblance to the miniature of Anna when a princess of Poland-Lithuania from about 1553. Also the gold cross pendant set with diamonds, visible on the portrait, is very similar to the one depicted on the print in the Hermitage Museum showing Anna (inventory ОР-45839).
The portrait of a woman from Barbini-Breganze collection in Venice, today in Stuttgart, bears a strong resemblance to the portrait of Anna by Tintoretto in the Jagiellonian University (pose and features) and to her effigy in Vienna holding a zibellino (features and garments), also by Tintoretto.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by circle of Paolo Veronese, possibly Francesco Bassano or Palma il Giovane, ca. 1580, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in a robe of pink damask over a patterned brocade dress by Parrasio Micheli, 1575-1585, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
Allegorical portrait of Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Montemezzano
In July 1572 died Sigismund II Augustus, leaving the throne vacant and all the wealth of the Jagiellon dynasty to his three sisters. Anna, the only member of the dynasty present in the Commonwealth, received only a small portion of inheritance, but still became a very rich woman. Sigismund's death changed her status from a neglected spinster to the heiress of the Jagiellon dynasty.
In June 1574 an unexpected turn of events made her one of the favorites in the second election, after Henry of Valois left Poland and headed back to France. Jan Zamoyski reconciled different camps promoting Anna to the crown. On December 15, 1575, Anna was hailed the King of Poland in the Old Town Square in Warsaw. Jan Kostka and Jan Zamoyski, representing the parliament, came to her to ask for her consent. It was then that Anna was supposed to utter the phrase that she "would rather be a queen than a king's wife". A day later, the nobility recognized her definitively as the "Piast" king and Stephen Báthory, Voivode of Transylvania, was proposed as her husband.
The painting identified as allegory of Pomona from the old collection of the Czartoryski Museum bears a great resemblance to other effigies of Anna. A woman in rich costume is being offered a basket with apples, denoted as symbol of the royal power and a symbol of the bride in ancient Greek thought, and pink roses, which represented innocence and first love - Báthory was the first husband to the 52 years old queen.
Allegorical portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Francesco Montemezzano, 1575-1585, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by workshop of Tintoretto and Francesco Montemezzano
"There is a bridge across the Vistula near Warsaw, built at a great cost of Queen Anna, sister of King Sigismund Augustus, famous all over the Crown", wrote Venetian-born Polish writer Alessandro Guagnini dei Rizzoni (Aleksander Gwagnin) in his book Sarmatiae Europeae descriptio (Description of Sarmatian Europe), printed in Kraków in 1578.
On 5 April 1573, during the Royal Election after death of king Sigismund Augustus, the longest bridge of Renaissance Europe was opened to the public. The construction cost 100,000 florins, and Anna Jagiellon, willing to become a Queen, also allocated her own funds for this purpose. It was a great achievement and major political success praised by many poets like Jan Kochanowski, Sebastian Klonowic, Andrzej Zbylitowski and Stanisław Grochowski.
The bridge, built of huge oaks and pines brought from Lithuania, was 500 meters long, 6 meters wide, it consisted of 22 spans and stood on 15 supports/towers that protected the construction. The construction, however, required constant renovations and was partially broken several times by ice floes on the Vistula River. It was severely damaged after Anna's coronation (1 May 1576) and in his letters from 15 August 1576 to the starosts, King Stephen Bathory recommended the delivery of wood for repair. Again in 1578 and the renovation was managed by Franciszek Wolski, voit of Tykocin. The wood material was floated from the San river. The works were completed in 1582 and "Anna Jagiellon, Queen of Poland, spouse, sister and daughter of grand kings, ordered the construction of this brick fortified tower", according to inscription on bronze plaque in Museum of Warsaw commemorating the fortified Bridge Gate.
Anna, as her brother, undeniably ordered some portraits to commemorate her role in construction and maintenance of the bridge. The portrait from private collection in Milan, attributed to Tintoretto or Veronese and depicting a blond woman in a crown against the view of a bridge, fit perfectly. Her facial features resemble greatly the portrait by Tintoretto in the Jagiellonian University Museum.
The painter depicted the bridge only symbolically in a small window. The recipients of the painting should know what it is about, there was no need to change the convention of Venetian portrait painting to show the whole construction.
On her gown there is a symbol of six pointed star, in use since ancient times as a reference to the Creation and in Christian theology - star of Bethlehem. The star, was symbolic of light and of the preaching of Saint Dominic, who was the first to teach the Rosary as a form of meditative prayer, and become an attribute of Virgin Mary, as Queen of Heaven and as Stella Maris. The title, Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), is one of the oldest and most widespread titles applied to Virgin Mary. It came to be seen as allegorical of Mary's role as "guiding star" on the way to Christ.
The crown of stars is visible in a painting by Tintoretto in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (acquired from Francesco Pajaro in Venice in 1841), created in about 1570 showing Madonna and Child venerated by St. Marc and St. Luke, and in a painting of Madonna of the Rosary from Sandomierz, created by Polish painter in 1599 in which old Queen Anna was depicted with other members of her family and Saint Dominic.
Thanks to Queen Anna's efforts the rosary confraternities, which mainly existed in Kraków were extended to all of Poland on 6 January 1577 and the annual feast of rosary was solemnly celebrated throughout the Commonwealth. She also donated, among other things, a few precious jewels and necklaces with which the image of Black Madonna of Częstochowa was adorned. In 1587 the Queen received the Golden Rose from Pope Sixtus V, which she offered to the collegiate church of St. John in Warsaw, lost.
The same woman in similar pose and in similar gown was depicted in painting by Francesco Montemezzano from William Coningham's collection in London, now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a symbolic view of the bridge in Warsaw by workshop of Tintoretto, 1576-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Tintoretto, 1576-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a dog by Francesco Montemezzano, ca. 1582, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine with a portrait of queen Anna Jagiellon by Venetian painter
In 1556 having ambitions of becoming a Viceroy of Naples, Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Anna's mother, agreed to lend to her distant relative king Philip II of Spain a huge sum of 430,000 ducats at 10% annual interest, so-called "Neapolitan sums". Even when paid, the interest payment was late and according to some people the loan was one of the reasons why Bona was poisoned by her trusted courtier Gian Lorenzo Pappacoda.
On November 10, 1573, and November 15, 1574 Catherine Jagiellon, Queen of Sweden, who had the right to a part of the Neapolitan sums in her dowry (50,000 ducats) agreed to renounce and cede it to her sister Anna, as the dispute deteriorated Polish-Swedish relations.
The Commonwealth had bad experiences with a "foreign" candidate, Henry of Valois, who fled the country through Venice just few monts after election, therefore the only possible succesors of over 50 years old queen were children of her sister Catherine, Sigismund born in 1566 (elected as Commonwealth's monarch in 1587) and Anna born in 1568.
The painting in Madrid is very similar in style to two portraits of Anna from the same period (in Vienna and Kassel). The lady in her 40s or 50s depicted as the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven is a clear indication that the scene has no purely religious meaning and it is very similar to other effigies of Anna, especially to the portrait by Tintoretto in Kraków.
According to the researchers the canvas should be attributed to Palma il Giovane, who created paintings for Anna's nephew and sucessor, Sigismund III Vasa (Psyche cycle and a painting for the St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, destroyed during World War II) or Domenico Tintoretto, who painted several paintings for Anna's Chancellor, Jan Zamoyski.
In the collection of the Royal Wilanów Palace in Warsaw there is a painting representing highly erotic subject of Leda and the swan by Palma il Giovane or his workshop from the last quarter of the 16th century. It is uncertain how it found its way there, so the option that it was commissioned by Anna, who, as her mother Bona, was strongly engaged in maintaining good relation with her husband Stephen Bathory, is very probable.
The mystical marriage of Saint Catherine, a symbol of spiritual grace, should be interprated then that Catherine's children still have claims to the Neapolitan sums and the crown. Its history before 1746 is unknown, therefore it cannot be excluded that the painting was sent to the Spanish Habsburgs, just as her portrait in Vienna, personally by the queen.
In November 1575, hence shortly before her election, Anna sent to Spain her envoy Stanisław Fogelweder, who was her ambassador there until 1587. She also had her informal envoys in Spain, dwarves Ana de Polonia (Anna of Poland, died 1578) and Estanislao (Stanislaus, died 1579).
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine with a portrait of queen Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) by Venetian painter, possibly Palma il Giovane or Domenico Tintoretto, 1576-1586, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Leda and the swan by Palma il Giovane or workshop, fourth quarter of the 16th century, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
The Banquet of Cleopatra with portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Stephen Bathory and Jan Zamoyski by Leandro Bassano
On 1 May 1576, then 52 years old Infanta Anna Jagiellon married ten years younger Voivode of Transylvania Stephen Bathory and was crowned as co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Soon after the wedding the king started to avoid his elderly wife. He dedicated her just three wedding nights and didn't look into her bedroom afterward. The papal nuncio in Poland, Giovanni Andrea Caligari, reported in August 1578, that the king does not trust her, that he is afraid of being poisoned by her, an art her mother, Bona, was well acquainted with, and he adds in a letter of February 1579, that she is haughty and vigorous (altera e gagliarda di cervello). One night, Anna wanted to visit Bathory, but he escaped. Many people witnessed this event, the Queen developed a fever and was subjected to phlebotomy.
King Stephen reportedly never held a great attraction for the marriage state and women in general, and he married Anna only to do a nice thing for the nation, she however was under the illusion that she would keep her husband with her and seduce him with boisterous balls and feasts. Primate Jan Tarnowski wrote in a letter to a Lithuanian magnate that "as she caught up a man, she carries her mouth high and proud".
The Queen had a grudge against Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, who according to Bartosz Paprocki "wanting to be a lord in Masovia, he sowed disagreement between the king and the queen" and "caused that the king did not live with the queen". Some "distasteful" rumors were also spread during the expedition to Polotsk in 1578, when the king slept in the same hut with Gaspar Bekes, his trusted friend (after Jerzy Besala's "Wstręt króla do królowej").
When Stephen left his wife in 1576, he did not see her, with some breaks, until 1583. She resided in Warsaw in Masovia where in a spacious and richly furnished wooden mansion in Jazdów (Ujazdów), built by her mother Queen Bona, she often held festivities and court games, he in Grodno (in todays Belarus). In January 1578 she organized in Jazdów famous wedding celebrations for Jan Zamoyski and his Calvinist second wife Kristina Radziwill, which lasted for several days.
In February 1579, the Queen prepared a court ball, awaiting Stephen's arrival. In the evening, the Warsaw Castle was illuminated, and the inhabitants were waiting for the king's arrival. Unfortunately, only the messenger with the letter arrived. The king wrote in it that due to the preparations for the war expedition, he would spend the whole year in Lithuania. The disappointed queen "ordered the lights to be turned off and the instruments to be taken out, and with great anger she retreated to her chambers", wrote the nuncio in a letter of February 26. The courtiers rumored that he wanted to divorce her.
The King and Queen reunited in June 1583 in Kraków for the opulent wedding celebrations of Zamoyski with his third wife and a king's niece, Griselda Bathory. The wedding feast was held in the chambers of Queen Anna at the Wawel Castle. The lavish tournaments and a procession of masks was illustrated by an Italian artist in a "Tournois magnifique tenu en Pologne", today in the National Library of Sweden.
Rich Venetian fabrics, like these used in chasubles founded by Anna and her husband (Cathedral Museum in Kraków) or vessels, like enamelled basin with her coat of arms and monogram (Czartoryski Museum), acquired by Anna in Venice, were undoubtedly used during the feasts. The sources confirm that allegorical paintings were brought to the Polish court from Venice for Sigismund III Vasa, Anna's sucessor, like Psyche cycle by Palma il Giovane or Diana and Caliosto by Antonio Vassilacchi.
"You subjects learned this riding from your king", snapped resentful Anna in 1583, when someone from her court set off on a journey.
The Banquet of Cleopatra by Leandro Bassano in Stockholm shows an episode described by both Pliny's's Natural History (9.58.119-121) and Plutarch's Lives (Antony 25.36.1), in which the spartan Roman warrior Antony being seduced by the sensual opulence of Cleopatra.
The Queen of Egypt takes an expensive pearl, reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, because of an association between pearls and Venus, the goddess of love, and dissolves it in her wine, which she then drinks. It is a culmination of a wager between Cleopatra and Mark Antony as to which one could provide the most expensive feast, which Cleopatra won. Lucius Munatius Plancus, a Roman senator had been asked to judge the wager.
The three protagonists are clearly Anna Jagiellon as Cleopatra, her husband Stephen Bathory as Mark Antony and his friend Jan Zamoyski as Lucius and the painting was commissioned by the Queen to one of her residences, most probably Jazdów.
It is recorded in the Swedish royal collection as far as 1739, therefore, most probably, it was taken from Poland during the Deluge (1655-1660), like the marble lions from Ujazdów Castle, or during the Great Northern War (1700-1721).
In 1578 with the support of Queen Anna the brotherhood of Saint Anne was founded in Warsaw at the Bernardine Church of Saint Anne, and approved by Pope Sixtus V with the bull Ex incumbenti in 1579. The first member and guardian of this fraternity was Jan Zamoyski, chancellor and great hetman of the Crown.
The painting by the same author, Leandro Bassano, from the Swedish royal collection, showing Saint Anne and the infant Virgin Mary was also undeniably created for Anna Jagiellon around the same time as the Banquet of Cleopatra. In 1760 this Catholic painting with Bernardine nuns was in the collection of Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, who freely converted from Calvinism to Lutheran when she moved to Sweden. It is another indication that this painting also was taken from Poland during the Deluge by Swedish or Prussian (Brandenburgian) forces.
Also other paintings by Bassano family and their workshop in Poland were created for partrons in Poland, like the Forge of Vulcan by Francesco Bassano the Younger in the National Museum in Warsaw. It was aquired in 1880 from Wojciech Kolasiński. Taking into consideration that other versions of this painting are in royal collections of "friendly" countries (Prado Museum in Madrid, inventory P005120, recorded as far as 1746 and Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, inventory 5737, recorded in Ambras collection in 1663), it is highly possible that it was commissioned or aquired by Bathory or Anna's successor Sigismund III. Another painting shows Adoration of the Magi with a man in Polish costume (almost idedntical as in the effigy of a Polish nobleman in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) as one of the Magi.
The Banquet of Cleopatra with portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Stephen Bathory and Jan Zamoyski by Leandro Bassano, 1578-1586, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Saint Anne and the infant Virgin Mary by Leandro Bassano, 1578-1586, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Forge of Vulcan by Francesco Bassano the Younger, 4th quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Adoration of the Magi with a Polish nobleman by Francesco Bassano the Younger, 4th quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of king Stephen Bathory by Venetian painters
Official portraiture showed Bathory as he should look like and as he was perceived, imagined by average and less educated subjects, i.e. a strong, powerful, masculine monarch in rich national costume, a man capable to protect the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a brutal tyrant, who used terror and cruelty as a method of controlling his country and who invaded the Commonwealth during the second royal election after Henry of Valois's sudden return to France in mid-June 1574 through Venice. The Tsar had captured Pärnu on 9 July 1575, took as many as 40 thousand captives (according to Świętosław Orzelski) and devastated much of central Livonia. Anna Jagiellon and Bathory were elected just few months later on December 15.
In private effigies or these dedicated to his European colleagues Bathory could allow himself to be depicted as educated in Padua lover of astronomy, in a cloak of a simple soldier in his army or as an old, tired man.
The portrait by Tintoretto from the Spanish royal collection, shows Bathory in a toga-like attire similar to the costume of a Venetian magistrate. It is a kopieniak a sleeveless raincoat of Turkish origin (kepenek), popular at that time in Hungary (köpenyeg). According to Stanisław Sarnicki's "Księgi hetmańskie", published in 1577-1578, kopieniak was a sort of Gabina (gabìno), a toga in ancient Rome, while according to "Encyklopedja powszechna" (Universal encyclopedia, vol. 15 from 1864, p. 446) in Poland the attire and a word were popularized by Bathory, "who used the kopieniak in hunting and during war expeditions".
After king's death some of his robes valued at 5351 zlotys were given to his courtiers. The inventory made in Grodno on 15 December 1586 includes many kopieniaks, made by his Hungarian tailor Andrasz, like the most valuable "scarlet kopieniak lined with sables with one silk button and a loop, 1548 zlotys worth", "12 navy blue half-kopieniaks lined with sables, with gold buttons" or "4 kopieniaks of different colors".
The portrait of a bearded man with hourglass and astrolabe by Francesco Bassano from Ambras Castle in Innsbruck is very similar in style and composition to the portrait of Anna Jagiellon in Vienna. Before 1 February 1582 Bathory offered to Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria many items captured during the Siege of Pskov to his large collection of armaments in Ambras, including his armor accompanied by a portrait and resume.
Among the things given in deposit to king's courtier Mr Franciszek Wesselini (Ferenc Wesseleny´i de Hadad) in the inventory of king's belongings, there were "A gold carriage chest with the coat of arms of His Highness Augustus, in which there are various small things. Golden saddle of the deceased king Sigismund Augustus. A casket with small things and crane feathers" and also "A leaky watch (water hourglass)" and "Large old Turkish carpets, which were brought by Mr. Grudziński from Hungary from Machmet Basha", most probably offered by Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
The inventory does not include any Western, black costumes, however since the king used many items of his predecessor Sigismund Augustus, he undoubtedly had access to his extensive black Italian wardrobe. Curiously the black Italian hose with protruding codpiece were at that time in Poland considered by simple people as more effeminate than dress-like żupan of colorful Venetian fabric. "The nation is effeminate [...] Franca [syphilis], musk, lettuce, with them it came, These puffed hose, stockings, mostardas, The Italian haughty nation has recently brought here" (269, 272-274), wrote in his satire "Conversation of the New Prophets, Two Rams with One Head" (Rozmowa nowych proroków, dwu baranów o jednej głowie) published in 1566/1567, Marcin Bielski.
His interest in astronomy is confirmed by his support to the sorcerer Wawrzyniec Gradowski from Gradów and with a sojourn at his court of John Dee, an English mathematician, astronomer and astrologer and Edward Kelley, an occultist and scryer in March 1583 and April 1585, who were paid 800 florins by the king. He also transformed the Jesuit gymnasium in Vilnius into an academy (1578), where astronomy, poetry and theology were taught. Leaving Transylvania for Poland in 1576, he consulted astrologers, with whom he also set the date of his wedding with Anna Jagiellon.
Therefore Bathory was maybe more effeminate in his private life then in his public appearance, he was however one of the most eminent monarchs of this part of Europe, a wise and brave king who led the Polish-Lithuanian Republic to its greatest glory and power.
After 50 his health rapidly declined. As Sigismund Augustus, Bathory most probably suffered from syphilis, treated by his Italian physicians Niccolò Buccella and Simone Simoni. "The king his grace had on his right leg two fingers below the knee, up to the ankle, a kind of rash, in which there were sometimes shallow, flowing wounds. On that leg, lower than the knee, he had an apertura [ulcer]: and when little was leaking from it, he had no appetite, the nights were restless and sleepless." The portrait in Budapest by Leandro Bassano, which is very similar to other effigies of Bathory, undeniably show him in the last year of his life.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory in kopieniak coat by Tintoretto, ca. 1576, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory with hourglass and astrolabe by Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory sitting in a chair by Leandro Bassano, ca. 1586, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Portrait of Gustav Eriksson Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1575 another inconvenient royal child was sent to be raised abroad, this time from Sweden to Poland. In August 1563 King Eric XIV of Sweden imprisoned Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in Gripsholm Castle. She was released in 1567, but during this four-year imprisonment she gave birth to a daughter and a son, future Sigismund III. Catherine was crowned queen of Sweden in spring of 1569, when Eric was deposed. In March 1575, the Swedish Council of State decided to separate the seven-year-old boy Gustav Eriksson Vasa, the only son of Eric XIV, from his mother Karin Månsdotter, as king John III feared that the deposed Eric's followers in Sweden would use Gustav to be able to carry out their reinstatement plans. At Catherine's request her sister Anna agreed to take care of him.
He was well educated, attended the best Jesuit schools in Toruń and Vilnius and Collegium Hosianum in Braniewo. He knew many languages as well as astrology, chemistry and medicine. He travelled to Rome in 1586 and to Prague to meet Emperor Rudolf II, who learned about his chemical talent. As education and travel at that time were far more expensive than nowadays, he was not living in poverty as a prisoner or even a slave in chains in a poor and barbaric country, as some people want to believe.
A small portrait of a child by Sofonisba Anguissola in profuse mannerist frame from private collection in Switzerland shows a boy wearing an elegant black velvet doublet trimmed in gold, black hose and a black cape, like an attendant of the Jesuit school. The boy's features are very similar to these known from portraits of Eric XIV, his daughter Sigrid and to the portrait of a woman from Gripsholm Castle from about 1580, which is identified as Eric's step-sister Princess Elizabeth or his wife Karin Månsdotter. His pose and costume are almost identical with these visible in portrait of king John III of Sweden, husband of Catherine Jagiellon and Gustav Eriksson's uncle, in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, a copy of original portrait by Johan Baptista van Uther from 1582. Anguissola's portrait can be threfore dated to 1582, a year when Gustav Eriksson reached his legal age of 14, and it was commissioned by his foster mother, proud of her boy starting education, most probably as one of a series for herself, her friends in Poland and abroad.
Portrait of Gustav Eriksson Vasa (1568-1607) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola
Another mysterious portrait by Anguissola from the 1580s was acquired in 1949 by the National Museum in Warsaw from private collection. It was previously attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni and it shows a man with his daughter.
The girl is holding a flower with four petals, similar to a primrose considered as a symbol of true (faithful) love, just as in "The Primrose" by John Donne (1572-1631), to white Caucasian rockcress (Arabis caucasica) or myrtle, consecrated to Venus, goddess of love and used in bridal wreaths - Pliny call it the "nuptial myrtle" (Myrtus coniugalis, Natural History, XV 122).
She wears a coral necklace, a fertility symbol in ancient Rome (after Gerald W. R. Ward's "The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art", 2008, p. 145), as in portraits of young brides by Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio and in Polish folk costumes, and a symbol of protection, meant to bring good luck, as in portraits of court dwarf Magdalena Ruiz.
The red-haired man with blue eyes holds firmly a hand of young blue-eyed blond girl, this is not her father, this is her husband.
In 1581 Anna Jagiellon sent to her friend Bianca Cappello, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, one pretty, graceful female dwarf who could dance and sing. Monsignor Alberto Bolognetti, Bishop of Massa Marittima organized a travel for her from Warsaw through Kraków and Vienna. She was accompanied by "a Polish Gentleman named Mr. Giovanni Kobilmiczhi, and I [...] lingua Cobilnisczi, who is setting off in a carriage. I believe that the girl will feel comfortable, being highly recommended to the gentleman, and provided with whatever she needs to protect her from cold" (un Gentilhuomo Polaco nominato Signore Giovanni Kobilmiczhi, et mi [...] lingua Cobilnisczi, Il quale mettendo a viaggio in carozza. Mi credo che la fanciulla si condurrà comodamente, havendola lo massime al gentilhuomo molto raccomandata, et provista di qual che suo bisogno per difenderla dal freddo), according to the letter of February 15, 1581. The man was most probably Jan Kobylnicki, a courtier of king Stephen Bathory.
Beautiful Nana (Italian for female dwarf) was probably married after her arrival to Florence, possibly even with Kobylnicki or other Pole, and it was probably the Queen who commissioned her portrait with her husband from Anguissola, who moved from Pisa near Florence to Genoa in 1581. Consequently a two-sided portrait miniature of a female dwarf and her husband in the Uffizi Gallery painted in the style of Sofonisba from the same period, should be considered as effigy of parents of beautiful Nana.
Portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait miniature of mother of Beautiful Nana by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait miniature of father of Beautiful Nana by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portraits of Griselda Bathory and Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska by Sofonisba Anguissola
To strengthen the influence of the Bathory family in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, king Stephen planned the marriage of his Calvinist niece Griselda (née Christine) with the widowed Grand Chancellor of the Crown, Jan Zamoyski, one of the most powerful men in the country.
They were married on June 12, 1583 at the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. Griselda came to Kraków with a retinue of 1,100 people, including six hundred soldiers guarding the her dowry. The wedding celebration with truly royal splendor lasted ten days.
After Bathory's death in 1586, Zamoyski helped Sigismund III Vasa gain the Polish throne, fighting in the brief civil war against the forces supporting the Habsburgs.
Griselda died four years later on 14 March 1590 in Zamość, an ideal city designed by Venetian architect Bernardo Morando. The city was not far from the second largest city of the Commonwealth, Lviv, dominated by a Royal Castle.
The portait of a young lady by Sofonisba Anguissola from the National Art Gallery in Lviv is very similar to the portrait of Anna Radziwill née Kettler from about 1586 in the National Museum in Warsaw. Anna Radziwill was a wife of a brother of first wife of Zamoyski. Their headdresses or bonnets are very much alike, as well as the dress, ruff, jewels and even the pose. The woman in Anguissola's painting is holding a zibellino, a symbol of a bride, and a small book, most probably a Protestant bible. The features of the woman's face are very similar to portraits of Griselda's uncle, cousin and brother.
A miniature in Sofonisba's style in the Uffizi Gallery (Inv. 1890, 9048, Palatina 778), shows a girl in very similar dress inspired by Spanish fashion to that in Lviv portrait. Her jewelled headdress is not Western however, it is in Eastern style and similar to Russian kokoshnik (from the Old Slavic kokosh, which means "hen" or "cockerel"). Such headdresses carried the idea of fertility and were popular in different Slavic countries. In Poland they preserved in some folk costumes (wianek, złotnica, czółko) and become dominant at the court of Queen Constance of Austria in Warsaw in the 1610s and 1620s.
The girl is therefore Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska (later Sieniawska), who in about 1587 at the age of 13 (born 13 December 1573), entered the court of Anna Jagiellon and whose miniature the Queen could send to her friend Bianca Cappello in Florence. She was the child of a Calvinist Anzelm Gostomski (d. 1588), voivode of Rawa. Her mother, Zofia Szczawińska, fourth wife of Anzelm, who raised her in Sierpc was affraid that her beautiful and wealthy daughter would be abducted by suitors. In 1590, despite her aversion to marriage, she married the Calvinist Prokop Sieniawski, then the court cupbearer, whom Queen Anna and her relatives chose for her.
Consequently also other portrait, depicting a lady with a pendant with Allegory of Abundance, and attributed to Spanish school (Alonso Sánchez Coello) could be a work of Anguissola and identifed as a court lady of Anna Jagiellon. She could be Dorota Wielopolska, lady-in-waiting of the Queen who in May 1576 married Piotr Potulicki, Castellan of Przemyśl. The queen organized for her a lavish feast and a tournament at the Wawel Castle. The painting was aquired by the National Museum in Kraków from a private collection in Gdów near Wieliczka, which was owned by the Wielopolski family.
Portrait of Griselda Bathory (1569-1590) by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1586-1587, National Art Gallery in Lviv.
Miniature portrait of Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska (1573-1624) by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1586-1587, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait of a young woman with a pendant with Allegory of Abundance, most probably Dorota Wielopolska by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1580s, National Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto
After the death of Stephen Bathory in December 1586, when 63 years old elected Queen Anna Jagiellon, could finally rule on her own, she was most probably too sick and too tired to do this. She supported the candidature of her niece Anna or her nephew Sigismund, children of her beloved sister Catherine, Queen of Sweden as candidates in next election. Sigismund was elected the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on 19 August 1587.
Raised in Protestant Sweden, where Flemish Domenicus Verwilt and Dutch Johan Baptista van Uther with their stiff realism were chief portraitists at the court of his father and his predecessor, he found "degenerated", frivolous style of the Venetians not very appealing to him, at least initially. Although, he commissioned paintings in Venice, all most probably destroyed, no portrait is mentioned in sources. He supported Martin Kober, a Silesian painter trained in Germany, as his main court portraitist. It was therefore his aunt Anna Jagiellon, who could order a series of portraits of her protégé from Tintoretto for her and for her Italian friends.
The portrait of a blond hair young man, wearing a tight black doublet in El Paso Museum of Art is very similar to other known portraits of the king, especially his effigy in Spanish costume by Jakob Troschel from about 1610 (Uffizi in Florence) and a portrait holding his hand on a sword, attributed to Philipp Holbein II, from about 1625 (Royal Castle in Warsaw).
Chronologically this portrait fit perfectly known portraiture of the king: portrait as a child aged 2 from 1568 (AETATIS SVAE 2/1568), created by Johan Baptista van Uther as gift for his aunt (Wawel), as a Duke of Finland aged 18 (AETATIS SVAE XVIIII), consequently from 1585, also created by van Uther in Sweden (Uffizi), next this portrait by Domenico Tintoretto from about 1590, when he was 24 and was already in Poland and then the miniature at the age of 30 (ANNO AETATIS XXX) from about 1596 by workshop of Martin Kober or follower (Czartoryski Museum). The painting was inscribed on the column (AETATIS…X…TORET), now mostly effaced.
His left hand looks like if was posed on a sword at his belt, however no object is present. It was probably less visible in a drawing or miniature sent to Tintoretto, hence he left his hand strangely in the air, a proof that the sitter was not in painter's atelier. Forgetting of such an important object in the 16th century male portraiture, could be also a result of a rush to accomplish some big royal commission. The Order of the Golden Fleece, basing on which some of Sigismund's portraits were identified, was granted to him in 1600.
It is highly probable that the painting showing the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the National Museum in Warsaw, created by Domenico Tintoretto around that time (after 1588) was also commissioned by Anna. It was bequeathed to the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw by Piotr Fiorentini in 1858 and later purchased by the Museum. Its earlier history is unknown, therefore Fiorentini, born in Vilnius, who later lived in Kraków and Warsaw, could have acquire it in Poland or Lithuania. Anna was engaged in embellishment of the main church of Warsaw - Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and she also built 80-meter-long corridor (covered passage) connecting the Royal Castle with the Cathedral.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1590, El Paso Museum of Art.
Baptism of Christ by Domenico Tintoretto, after 1588, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of princess Anna Vasa in Spanish costume by Domenico Tintoretto
In about 1583, after her mother's death, Anna Vasa like her aunt Sophia Jagiellon in 1570, converted to Lutheranism. Already in 1577, papal diplomacy proposed to marry her to an Austrian archduke, Matthias or Maximilian.
She arrived to Poland in Ocober 1587 to attend her brother's coronation and she stayed until 1589, when she accompanied Sigismund to meet their father John III of Sweden in Reval and then followed John to Sweden. Anna returned to Poland to attend the wedding of Sigismund with Anna of Austria in May 1592. When just few months later, on 17 November 1592, John III died, Sigismund was willing to abdicate in favor of Archduke Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry his sister Anna. This was also intended to alleviate the Habsburgs, who already lost in two royal ellections.
Archduke Ernest, the son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, together with his brother Rudolf (Emperor from 1576), was educated at the court of his uncle Philip II in Spain.
To announce this turn in country's politics, where Anna Vasa become a focal point, her aunt most probably commissioned a series of portraits of her niece.
The portait by Domenico Tintoretto from the collection of Prince Chigi in Rome, now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, shows a woman in black saya, a Spanish court dress, from the 1590s, similar to that visible in the portrait of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia by Sofonisba Anguissola in the Prado Museum from about 1597. However the white ruff collar, cuffs and her gold necklace are definitely not Spanish, they are more Central European and very similar to garments visible in portraits of Katarzyna Ostrogska from 1597 in the National Museum in Warsaw and in the portrait of Korona Welser by Abraham del Hele from 1592 in the private collection, they are not Venetian. The features of the woman's face are the same as in Anna Vasa's portrait from about 1605 and her miniatures from the 1590s identified by me (Marcin Latka). A book on the table beside her is therefore Protestant Bible, published in the small octavo format and landscape with rivers and wooded hills is how Tintoretto imagined her native Sweden.
The portrait of a man with a red beard from the same period in the National Museum in Warsaw and attributed to Tintoretto's workshop is almost identical in composition, techinique and dimensions. He is holding a similar book. It is therefore an important royal court official. The royal secretary from 1579 and a staunch Calvinist Jan Drohojowski (d. 1601) fit perfectly. From 1588 he was also a castellan of Sanok, hence one of the most powerful protestants in the country.
Drohojowski was the son of Stanisław Drohojowski, the promoter of Calvinism. His mother Ursula Gucci (d. 1554), also known as Urszula Karłowna, was also a protestant. She was a lady-in-waiting of Queen Bona and a daughter of Carlo Calvanus Gucci (d. 1551), a merchant and contractor, who arrived in Kraków in the retinue of Queen Bona and was later made Żupnik of the Ruthenian lands.
Portrait of princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) in Spanish costume by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Portrait of Jan Drohojowski, castellan of Sanok by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Anna of Austria and Anna Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1586, to strengthen her nephew's chances in royal election, Queen Anna Jagiellon proposed a marriage between Sigismund and Anna of Austria (1573-1598). The Habsburgs had strong influences in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and their claims to the throne were supported by part of the nobility. Due to the political instability and Maximilian of Austria's desire for the Polish crown, Anna's parents, preferred the match with Henry of Lorraine.
The plans resummed in 1590 when Anna's engagement with Duke of Lorraine was broken off. In April 1592, the betrothal was formally celebrated in the Imperial Court in Vienna. Despite the opposition of the nobles, Sigismund and 18 years old Anna were married by proxy in Vienna on 3 May 1592. She arrived to Poland with her mother Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria and a retinue of 431 people. The young king welcomed his wife accompanied by the "old queen" Anna Jagiellon and his sister Princess Anna Vasa in Łobzów Palace near Kraków where four tents were set up, decorated in Turkish style for the feast. The young queen received rich gifts, including "Kanak necklace with large diamonds and rubies and oriental pearls, which are called Bezars 30" from the king, "a chain of oriental pearls and a diamond necklace, and two crosses, one ruby, the other diamond" from the "old queen" and "kanak necklace with a cross of rubies and diamonds pinned on one" from Princess Anna, among others. Also "the envoy from the Lords of Venice" brought gifts valued at 12,000 florins.
Anna of Austria's Spanish connections become very important soon after her arrival, when after death of his father Sigismund left for Sweden and was willing to abdicate in favor of Archduke Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry his sister Anna Vasa. Two of Anna's effigies by Martin Kober from about 1595 were later sent to dukes of Tuscany (both Francesco I and Ferdinando I were half-Spanish by birth, through their mother Eleanor of Toledo).
Three miniatures and a portrait, all in Sofonisba Anguissola's style, can be dated to around that time. One minature from the Harrach collection in Rohrau Castle in Austria, possibly lost, identified as effigy of Anna of Austria, shows de facto Anna Vasa with an eagle pendant. The other in the Uffizi Gallery (Inv. 1890, 8920, Palatina 650) depict Anna Vasa in more northern costume. The latter miniature is accompanied by very similar miniature of a lady in Spanish cosume with a necklace with Imperial eagle (Inv. 1890, 8919, Palatina 649), it is an effigy of Anna of Austria, the young queen of Poland and relative of the Holy Roman Emperors and the King of Spain.
The portrait by Sofonisba from private collection, which shows a blond lady with a heavy gold necklace is very similar to other effigies of Queen Anna of Austria, especially her portrait in Kraków, most probably by Jan Szwankowski (Jagiellonian University Museum) and engravings by Andreas Luining (National Museum in Warsaw) and Lambert Cornelis (Czartoryski Museum in Kraków).
The miniature of a man from the collection of Dukes Infantado in Madrid, painted in Sofonisba Anguissola's style shows a man in Eastern costume. His attire is very similar to these visible in a miniature with Polish horsemen from Albert of Prussia's "Kriegsordnung" (Military ordinance), created in 1555 (Berlin State Library) and in a portrait of Sebastian Lubomirski (1546-1613), created in about 1613 (National Museum in Warsaw). The features of the man's face are similar to miniature of Sigismund III Vasa (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum) and his portrait by Martin Kober (Kunsthistorisches Museum), both created in the 1590s. In the same collection of Dukes Infantado, there is also a miniature attributed to Jakob de Monte (Giacomo de Monte) from the same period, showing king's mother-in-law Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria (1551-1608).
Portrait of Queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) in Spanish cosume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Miniature portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Miniature portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) with eagle pendant by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Rohrau Castle.
Miniature portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa in Polish costume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, collection of Dukes Infantado in Madrid.
Portraits of Sigismund Bathory at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto
After failed plans to cede the throne of the Commonwealth to Archduke Ernest, as no monarch could do this without approval from the Diet, the Holy See had proposed the marriage of Princess Anna Vasa to Sigismund Bathory, who both could rule the country during the absence of the king (Sigismund III left for Sweden in 1593).
Sigismund was the nephew of king Stephen Bathory, who on 1 May 1585 confirmed his legal age by dissolving the council of twelve noblemen who ruled Transylvania in his name and made János Ghyczy the sole regent.
After death of his uncle in 1586, he was one of the candidates to the throne of the Commonwealth. Sigismund knew Latin and Italian and in 1592 at his court in Alba Julia he had a large group of Italian musicians like Giovanni Battista Mosto, Pietro Busto, Antonio Romanini, or Girolamo Diruta among others.
In summer of 1593, he went to Kraków in disguise to start negotiations regarding his marriage with Anna Vasa. Possibly on this occasion either the Polish court or Sigismund himself ordered a series of portraits from Domenico Tintoretto. It is unknown why negotiations were eventually unsuccessful, possible reason might be his homosexuality. The elites were probably afraid of another frivolous "Valois", who will escape from the country after few months or it was Anna who refused to marry him.
Three years later however, on August 1595, Sigismund married Maria Christina of Austria, a sister of Anna of Austria (1573-1598), hence becoming brother-in-law of the king of Poland. It was regarded as a major political gain, but Sigismund refused to consummate the marriage.
In summer of 1596 he sent his confessor, Alfonso Carrillo, to Spain. The Jesuit asked Philip II for finacial aid, as well as the Order of the Golden Fleece for Sigismund. The king promised Carrillo, in addition to 80,000 ducats in aid and granting of high distinction, diplomatic aid to Poland.
On 21 March 1599 Sigismund formally abdicated receiving the Silesian duchies of Opole and Racibórz as compensation and left Transylvania for Poland in June. On 17 August 1599 Pope Clement VIII dissolved his marriage.
A young man in a ruff from the 1590s, known from a series of portraits by Domenico Tintoretto, his workshop and some Italian painter, resemble greatly Sigismund Bathory, who was 21 in 1593. One version, in Kassel, bears an inscription ANNO SALVTIS / .M.D.L.X.X.X.V. (In the year of Salvation 1585) on a letter placed on a table beside him, it is a letter from Sigismund's uncle, King Stephen of Poland confirming his rights to Transylvania and therefore his claims to King's inheritance. The other in private collection in Marburg is inscribed TODORE del SASSO / CIAMBERLANO / AETATIS SVAE XXXVI with an image of a key, therefore claiming to be Chamberlain Todore del Sasso, aged 36, however no such man is confirmed in sources, especially as a recipient of the Order of the Golden Fleece known from so many portraits, the inscription must be false. It cannot be also Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino as the effigy does not match with his features and he had his exquisit court painter Federico Barocci. Another portrait from the Swedish royal collection by Domenico's workshop is in Stockholm. It was probably sent to Sigismund III, when he was in Sweden for his coronation.
There is also another version, but by a different painter, in Mexico. It is attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni or to Domenico Tintoretto, therefore stylistically close, to a painter born in Cremona, Sofonisba Anguissola, court painter of Spanish monarchs. The effigy is very similar to previous portraits, just the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece was added. It was commissioned by Polish court or Sigismund himself in about 1596 basing on effigy from 1593.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1593, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto or workshop, ca. 1593, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto or workshop, ca. 1593, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by circle of Giovanni Battista Moroni, most probably Sofonisba Anguissola after Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1596, Museo Nacional de San Carlos in Mexico.
Portrait of Agnieszka Tęczyńska as Saint Agnes by Francesco Montemezzano
In October 1594, when she was just 16 years old, the eldest daughter of Andrzej Tęczyński, Voivode of Kraków, and Zofia nee Dembowska, daughter of Voivode of Belz, married the widower Mikołaj Firlej, Voivode of Kraków from 1589. The wedding feast with the participation of the royal couple took place in the "Painted Manor" of the Tęczyński family in Kraków, later donated to the barefoot Carmelites (1610). The groom, brought up in Calvinism, secretly converted to Catholicism during his trip to Rome in 1569. He studied in Bologna.
Agnieszka was born in the lavish Tenczyn Castle, near Kraków on January 12, 1578 as the fourth child. Both of her parents died in 1588 and most probably then she was raised in the royal court of Queen Anna Jagiellon. In 1593 she accompanied the royal couple, Sigismund III and his wife Anna of Austria, on their trip to Sweden.
For some time, Tęczyńska's confessor was the Jesuit Piotr Skarga. After her husband's death in 1601, she took up the upbringing of her children, the administration of huge assets and she became involved in philanthropic and charitable activities. Widowed, Tęczyńska fell into devotion. She died in Rogów on June 16, 1644, at the age of 67, and was buried in the crypt at the entrance to the church in Czerna, she founded.
In the preserved paintings, offered to different monasteries, she is depicted in a costume of a widowed lady or in a Benedictine habit, like in a full-length portrait in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków from about 1640, created by circle of royal court painter Peter Danckerts de Rij or in a three-quarter length portrait in the National Museum in Warsaw, created by Jan Chryzostom Proszowski in 1643. The latter portrait, very Italian in style, was most likely inspired by a portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola.
A portrait in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH) depicts a lady with a lamb, an attribute of Saint Agnes, a patron saint of girls, chastity and virgins. "During the Renaissance, women who were soon to be married often associated themselves with this saint because Agnes chose to die rather than marry a man she did not love", according to MFAH catalogue. She is holding a Catholic book, most probably a volume of Saint Thomas Aquinas' "On the truth of the Catholic faith" (Incipit liber primus de veritate catholicae fidei contra errores gentilium). A rose-bush is in this context a symbol of the Virgin Mary and of messianic promise of Christianity because of its thorns (after James Romaine, Linda Stratford, "ReVisioning: Critical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art", 2014, p. 111).
Woman's face is very similar to the effigies of Agnieszka Tęczyńska, later Firlejowa from the last decade of her life and to the portrait of her nephew, Stanisław Tęczyński in Polish costume, created by Venetian painter active in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Tommaso Dolabella.
The portrait was in von Dirksen's collection in Berlin before 1932 and stylistically is very close to portraits of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Montemezzano (died after 1602), a pupil and a follower of Paolo Veronese.
Portrait of Agnieszka Tęczyńska as Saint Agnes by Francesco Montemezzano, ca. 1592-1594, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola
In about 1550, a young Cremonese painter, Sofonisba Anguissola, created her self-portrait (private collection) in a rich dress and in a pose exactly the same as that visible in a portrait of Catherine of Austria, Duchess of Mantua and later Queen of Poland. Catherine's portrait, in Voigtsberg Castle, is attributed to Titian. Sofonisba either created this portrait, participated in its creation or saw it somewhere, as Mantua is not far from Cremona. It could be threfore Catherine, who introduced her to the Polish court, when in June 1553 she married Sigismund II Augustus. Around that time Sofonisba created her self-portrait at the easel, one of the best of her self-portraits, which she could sent to the Polish court as a sample of her talent. This portrait is now in the Łańcut Castle.
The portrait which was previously identifed as effigy of Catharine Fitzgerald, Countess of Desmond and Duchess of Dorset (d. 1625) in Knole House is very similar to effigies of Anna Jagiellon by Martin Kober and his workshop in coronation robes from the Sigismund's Chapel (1587) and in widow's clothing (1595) at the Wawel Castle. It was recently identified as portrait of Sofonisba Anguissola basing on a leaf from van Dyck's Italian Sketchbook. The inscription in Italian was evidently added later, as the year 1629 is mentioned in the text (the painter was in Italy between 1621 and 1627).
The drawing shows an old lady, similar to that from the Knole portrait. According to inscription it is an effigy of Sofonisba, whom the Flemish painter visited in Palermo: "Portrait of Lady Sofonisma painter made live in Palermo in the year 1629 on the 12th of July: her age 96 still having her memory and brain very prompt, very courteous" (Rittratto della Sigra. Sofonisma pittricia fatto dal vivo in Palermo l'anno 1629 li 12 di Julio: l'età di essa 96 havendo ancora la memoria et il serverllo prontissimo, cortesissima). However Sofonisba died on 16 November 1625 and according to sources she was born on 2 February 1532, hence she was 92 when she died. Van Dyck was in Palermo in 1624. If he could confuse the dates of Sofonisba's life, he could also confuse the portrait of Queen of Poland by her hand, created in about 1595, that she had, with her self-portrait (Keller Collection, 1610). He may also have seen the portrait elsewhere in Italy, or even in Flanders or England. The Knole portrait was most probably acquired from the English royal collection, therefore it is highly probable that Anna sent to Queen Elizabeth I her effigy, one from a series created by Anguissola.
In July 1589, English envoy Jerome Horsey, wanting to see Anna, sneaked into her palace in Warsaw: "before the windows whereof were placed pots and ranks of great carnations, gillyflowers, province roses, sweet lilies, and other sweet herbs and strange flowers, giving most fragrant, sweet smells. [...] Her majesty sat under a white silk canopy, upon a great Turkey carpet in a chair of estate, a hard-favored queen, her maids of honor and ladies attendants at supper in the same room". Queen Anna allegedly asked him, how Queen Elizabeth could "'spill the blood of the Lord's anointed, a queen more magnificent than herself, without the trial, judgment and consent of her peers, the holy father the Pope and all the Christian princes of Europe?' 'Her subjects and parliament thought it so requisite, without her royal consent, for her more safety and quiet of her realm daily endangered.' She shook her head with dislike of my answer", reported Horsey.
Anna died in Warsaw on 9 September 1596 at the age of 72. Before her death she managed to accomplish tomb monuments for herself (1584) and her husband (1595) in Kraków, created by Florentine sculptor Santi Gucci, and for her mother in Bari near Naples (1593), created by Andrea Sarti, Francesco Zaccarella and Francesco Bernucci. She was the last of the Jagiellons, a dynasty that ruled over vast territories in Central Europe since the late 14th century, when Polish nobles proposed to pagan Duke of Lithuania, Jogaila, to marry their eleven-year-old Queen Jadwiga and thus become their king.
Counter-Reformation, that she supported, and foreign invasions destroyed Polish tolerance and diversity, greedy nobles destroyed Polish democracy (Liberum veto) and invaders turned much of the country's heritage into a pile of rubble. The only portrait of the Queen in the nest of the Jagiellons - Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków was acquired from the Imperial collection in Vienna in 1936, just three years before World War II broke out. It was created by Kober in about 1595 and sent to the Habsburgs.
Self-portrait at the easel by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1554-1556, Łańcut Castle.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola, or a copy by Anton van Dyck, ca. 1595 or 1620s, Knole House.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon, a drawing by Anton van Dyck after lost painting by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1620s, British Museum.
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 transsexual man at his court, the Chancellor Ossoliński kept a transsexual 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).
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 transsexual 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).
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.
Crown of Sigismund III Vasa
Work in progress.
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.
Silver altar of Sigismund III Vasa
Work in progress.
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.
At the beginning of January 1606 arrived to Kraków Jan Buczynski, secretary of tsar False Dmitry I of Russia, 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.
Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) who owned a collection of jewels valued by some at 200,000 thalers, decided also to secretly sell to the tsar a part of it. Stanisław Niemojewski (ca. 1560-1620) of Rola coat of arms, Crown Deputy Master of the Pantry, was appointed to deliver jewels worth of 70,000 zlotys "wrapped in colourful silk" in an iron casked "painted in green". False Dmitry was killed on May 17th, 1606 and it was not as early as 1609 when the collection was returned by the new tsar Vasiliy Ivanovich Shuisky. Among jewels returned was "eagle with two diamond heads with rubies", most probably from princess' collection or pawned with Niemojewski from the State Treasury before 1599.
Such hereldic jewels, either Imperial-Austrian or Polish, were undobtedly in possesion of different queens and princesses of Poland since at least 1543, when Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545) was presented with a "diamond eagle with rubies" by emperor Charles V on the occasion of her marriage with king Sigismund II Augustus of Poland. Inventory of the jewels of Polish princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa, daughter of Sigismund III and Constance of Austria, include four pendans and two pair of earrings with eagles, unfailingly three Imperial-Austrian and two Polish: "a pendant with a white, enamelled Eagle, at which seven diamonds, three round pearls and one big hanging ", valued at 120 thalers and "a diamond eagle with a sharply cut diamond in the center, more diamonds around and three hanging pearls".
Anna Vasa, in half a princess of Poland, as a daughter of Catherine Jagiellon and sister of king Sigismund III, was as such entitled to use this emblem. After Sigismund's defeat at the Battle of Stångebro in 1598, she left Sweden to live with him in Poland where she spent the rest of her life.
The miniature portrait of a lady with eagle pendant from Harrach collection in Vienna (Harrach Palace at Freyung Street) previously identified as effigy of Anna of Austria (1573-1598), first wife of king Sigismund III, basing on strong resemblance to portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, if at all connected with Poland, should be rather identified as a portrait of king’s sister Anna Vasa, and not as his wife. The lack of protruding lip, notorious "Habsburg jaw" known from Anna of Austria’s preserved portraits and costume of the sitter, according to Northern fashion and not Spanish of the Imperial court, confirms this hypothesis.
Eagle was a symbol of supreme imperial power, epitomized magnanimity, the Ascension to heaven and regeneration by baptism and was used in jewellery all across Europe at that time. If the pendant is a heraldic symbol than the portrait should be dated to about 1592, when Sigismund was prepared to abandon the Polish throne for Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry princess Anna Vasa (this would also explain how the miniature found its way to Austria) or to 1598, when the princess needed to legitimize herself in her new homeland.
Diamond double-headed eagle of the House of Austria by Anonymous from Milan or Vienna, mid-16th century, Treasury of the Munich Residence. Most probably from dowry of princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa.
Detail of a portrait of queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) by Martin Kober, 1595, Bavarian State Painting Collections.
Miniature of princess Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583) by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1553, Czartoryski Museum.
Miniature of a lady with eagle pendant, most probably princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) by Anonymous, 1590s, Harrach collection in Rohrau Castle (?). Identification by Marcin Latka.
See the work in Polish-Lithuanian Treasures.
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