Portrait of royal courtier Sebastian Sobieski by Leandro Bassano
Around October 16, 1593, king Sigismund III Vasa departed from Gdańsk for his coronation as the hereditary king of Sweden. He was accompanied by his courtiers, including Sebastian Sobieski (ca. 1552-1614), third son of captain Jan Sobieski (ca. 1518-1564) and Katarzyna Gdeszyńska. Earlier that year, in February, Sebastian was sent by the King as his envoy to the Lublin Sejmik (regional assemby). It is the first confirmed important function of this royal courtier. "Instructions for the Lublin Sejmik given from His Majesty to Sebastian Sobieski, a royal courtier in Warsaw on February 16, 1593", is in the Czartoryski Library in Kraków (BCz 390).
Sobieski most probably studied at the Calvinist school in Bychawa near Lublin. On December 17, 1576, probably thanks to the intercession of the Crown Vice-Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, he was admitted, as a page, to the court of king Stephen Bathory. Then, like his brothers, due to growing influence of the Counter-Reformation movement at the royal court, he converted to Roman Catholicism. On May 1, 1584, he was transferred to the group of salatariati saeculares (lay beneficiaries) in which he was until the death of the king. He became a supporter of Zamoyski, supported the election of king Sigismund III and, apparently, he participated in the defense of Kraków against the attack of the troops of Archduke Maximilian II in 1587 and the Battle of Byczyna in 1588. From May 1596, he held the position of Standard-Bearer of the Crown and as such he was depicted in the "Entry of the wedding procession of Sigismund III Vasa into Kraków in 1605" (Royal Castle in Warsaw).
Portrait of a bearded man in oriental costume from private collection in France, due some similarity to the style and, possibly, dates of his life is attributed to Hans von Aachen (1552-1615), a German painter trained in Italy. In 1592, while he was still working in Munich, von Aachen was appointed a court painter of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and moved to Prague in 1596.
According to inscription in Latin in upper right corner the man was 41 years old in 1593 (ANNO 1593 / ÆTATIS 41), exacly as Hans von Aachen, but also Sebastian Sobieski, born in about 1552. The portrait is evidently not a self-portrait of imperial court painter and this wealthy nobleman was depicted in a crimson silk żupan buttoned up to with gold buttons, very similar to żupan buttons of Stanisław Piwo, deputy cup-bearer of Płock, from the second quarter of the 17th century (Skrwilno Treasure, Toruń Regional Museum). His black coat trimmed with lynx fur it is almost identical to the one shown in the portrait of Jan Opaliński (1546-1598), created in 1591 (National Museum in Poznań), or in Twelve Polish and Hungarian types by Abraham de Bruyn, created in about 1581 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). His lace collar is very similar to the one in the effigy of The Marshal (Stanisław Przyjemski with a marshal staff) from Stanisław Sarnicki's "Statutes and records of crown privileges" by Jörg Brückner in Kraków, created in 1594 (Czartoryski Library). Letters on the table are very important documents, most probably envoy instructions given by the king. The style of painting is identical with portrait of Doge Marino Grimani (1532-1605), created in about 1595 by Leandro Bassano, signed: LEANDER A PONTE BASS [ANO] EQVES F. (Princeton University Art Museum). The man bear a resemblance to effigies of Sebastian Sobieski's brother Marek Sobieski (ca. 1550-1605), voivode of Lublin (1862 woodcut after lost portrait from the Zamoyski collection) and his brother's descendant (Marek's grandson), king John III Sobieski (portrait painting from the 1670s in the Kórnik Castle).
Portrait of royal courtier Sebastian Sobieski (ca. 1552-1614) aged 41 by Leandro Bassano, 1593, Private collection.
Portraits of Anna Vasa and Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1594 a marriage project appeared during Anna Vasa's stay in Sweden. The candidate was John George of Brandenburg (1577-1624), the administrator of Strasbourg from 1592 and a grandson of the Brandenburg elector, who was to become the governor of Prussia, a feudal fief of the Crown of Poland.
Negotiations on this marriage were conducted on the Brandenburg side by the Magdeburg chancellor Wilhelm Rudolf von Meckbach and Johann von Löben who both travelled to Kraków, and on the Polish side by royal secretary Jan Skrzetuski, who travelled to Berlin, and Samuel Łaski. The date of the wedding was set for April 10, 1598 in Stockholm and Anna even received a dowry of 100,000 thalers from her brother Sigismund III Vasa, as well as jewelery, horses, furniture and 10,000 guilders as a wedding gift. Anna and her descendants were to be granted the inheritance rights to Sweden.
Death of John George, Elector of Brandenburg on 8 January 1598, death of Sigismund's wife Anna of Austria (1573-1598) on 10 February and the outbreak of the uprising in Sweden made it impossible to conclude the wedding at the planned place and date. When Sigismund's uncle depose him in Sweden, these plans did not materialize.
The portrait of a noblewoman and her husband in costumes from the late 1590s by Sofonisba Anguissola is very similar to other effigies of Anna Vasa. Her costume in Spanish style and pose resemble closely portrait of queen Anna of Austria by Martin Kober, created in 1595 (Bavarian State Painting Collections and Uffizi Gallery in Florence) and portrait of Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616) by Joseph Heintz the Elder, created in 1604 (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna). The man's costume is typical for France and Protestant countries in the late 16th century.
After return to Poland Sigismund made Anna starost of Brodnica on October 2, 1604, after death of Zofia Działyńska née Zamoyska and in December 1605 she attended Sigismund's wedding in Kraków, sitting in the bride's carriage. The negotiations with John George of Brandenburg were finally discontinued in 1609 and on June 3, 1610 he married Eva Christine von Württemberg (1590-1657), while Anna remained unmarried.
The oval portrait in private collection, very similar to Anna's miniature in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is also stylistically close to Sofonisba as well as a miniature of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa in the Bavarian State Painting Collections.
Portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) in Spanish costume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1598, Private collection.
Portraits of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) and John George of Brandenburg (1577-1624) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1598, Private collection.
Portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625), starost of Brodnica by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1605, Private collection.
Miniature of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1605, Bavarian State Painting Collections.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa in armour by Domenico Tintoretto
"The imago will be gratiosissima to the King. The King His Highness waits for paintings with great joy: a strange thing how he loves when he has something wonderful" (Imago będzie Królowi gratiosissima. Obrazów król Jmć czeka z wielką radością: dziwna rzecz jako się w nich kocha kiedy co cudnego ma), reveals in a letter dated July 12, 1588, written to Stanisław Reszka (1544-1600), who was in Rome, a Jesuit Bernard Gołyński (1546-1599) about the paintings commissioned by Sigismund III Vasa in Italy.
Sigismund was also a talented painter and goldsmith. According to historian Franciszek Siarczyński (1758-1829) in his "Picture of the Era of Sigismund III" (Obraz wieku panowania Zygmunta III), the king with the help of his court goldsmith, a Venetian Redutti (Reduta, Redura) made many church utensils, such as monstrances, chalices, lamps and candlesticks, which he gave to several churches.
In the collection of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich there is a painting which according to Edward Rastawiecki in his "Dictionary of Polish painters" (Słownik malarzów polskich, pp. 96-97) is "another work of this kind" and it was given to king's daughter Anna Catherine Constance Vasa, "on the back, the preserved inscriptions and seals confirm the origin and authenticity of this interesting souvenir". This work is however listed in Johann Nepomuck Edler von Weizenfeld's "Description of the electoral picture gallery in Schleissheim" of 1775 as the work of Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti, 1518-1594). Stylistically the painting is very close to this Venetian painter and his son Domenico (1560-1635).
The monarch with the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece is very similar to that visible in the study for a portrait of a king, most probably Sigismund III Vasa, in the collection of Francis Springell, attributed to Peter Paul Rubens, and to Sigismund's effigy in the Procession with St. Anianus by circle of Tommaso Dolabella in the Corpus Christi Church in Kraków. In the background, among the colonnades, there is a statue of the Madonna and Child, and in the clouds the figure which is interpreted as Saint Sigismund, patron saint of the monarchs. Heresy, depicted as an old woman, lies chained on the steps of the church. On the right are two Jesuits.
Saint Sigismund has also a chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece and he bears a strong resemblance to Sigismund III's father-in-law Archduke Charles II of Austria (1540-1590), son of Anna Jagellonica. His crown is bordered with ermine like the Archducal hat (coronet). Curiously also the crown of the main monarch is bordered with ermine. It might be the painter's mistake or that Sigismund III commissioned an effigy of his brother-in-law Ferdinand II (1578-1637) who was raised by the Jesuits and dealt with heresy in his country before becoming emperor in 1619.
Sigismund III received the Order of the Golden Fleece from his brother-in-law king Philip III of Spain in 1600. On this occasion he commissioned silver table service in Augsburg for 20,000 florins. The service, created by Hermann Plixen, was used for the first time during a banquet at the Castle in Warsaw on February 25, 1601. The king also commissioned other exquisite items in Augsburg, like the silver sarcophagus of Saint Stanislaus for the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, and in other locations. Through his agent in Persia, Sefer Muratowicz, he commissioned a series of kilims with his coat of arms in 1601 and in about 1611-1615 he purchased a series of 6 tapestries in François Spierincx's workshop in Delft with the Story of Diana. On October 29, 1621 Jan Brueghel the Elder wrote to E. Bianchi about sending a lot of paintings to the King (molti pitture al Re) and the "Battle of Kircholm in 1605" by Pieter Snayers, also created for Sigismund, is today in the Château de Sassenage. In Milan, in about 1600, he commissioned a crystal lavabo (ewer and basin) with his coat of arms and monogram (Treasury of the Munich Residence) and most probably the shishak helmet offered to Feodor I of Russia (Kremlin Museum), created before 1591. His portraits in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, lost during World War II, and in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw represent him in a rich, chiselled, partially gilt and polychromed blue armor in the type of mezza armatura (half armor), probably made in Milan.
Portrait of a man in a suit of armour etched with gold by Domenico Tintoretto of unknown provenance (sold in 2016 at Christie's, lot 163), has almost identical dimensions as effigy of Sigismund III's sister Anna Vasa by Domenico Tintoretto in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (115.3 x 96.1 cm / 115.5 x 96.7 cm). It is possible that they were created at the same time. The man bears a great resemblance to the effigies of Sigismund III Vasa from the early 17th century, especially his portrait painted in Prague in about 1605 by court painter of Emperor Rudolph II, Joseph Heintz the Elder (Alte Pinakothek in Munich).
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa in a suit of armour etched with gold by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592-1600, Private collection.
Allegory of suppression of heresy by Domenico Tintoretto, 1600-1619, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Sebastian Petrycy by Venetian painter
Sebastian Petrycy or Sebastianus Petricius Pilsnanus, was born in 1554 in Pilzno near Tarnów in south-eastern Poland as a son of Stanisław (died after 1590), a wine merchant. In 1583 he graduated with the degree in philosophy at the Kraków Academy and he began lecturing there. A year later, in 1584, Sebastian became a member of the Collegium Minus (College Minor) and took the chair of poetics and in 1588 he became a professor of rhetoric.
In February 1589, Petrycy was granted a leave to travel to Italy and study at a selected foreign university. He decided to study in Padua, where he received the degree of doctor of medical sciences at the beginning of March 1590.
When he returned to Kraków, he applied for the recognition of his diploma at the Faculty of Medicine, but was refused admission and left for Lviv, where he got married with already pregnant eighteen-year-old Anna (he was almost forty), the daughter of a wealthy merchant Franz Wenig, and opened his own medical practice. The death of his wife (February 28, 1596) and of his only daughter, Zuzanna, as well as the lost trial for the inheritance of his father-in-law, prompted him to return to Krakow (around 1600). He became the personal physician of the bishop of Kraków Bernard Maciejowski, who in 1603 was made cardinal by Pope Clement VIII. Between 1603-1604 he went with the cardinal to France and Lorraine and in 1606, as a physician of Jerzy Mniszek and his daughter Marina, he left for Moscow, which cost him almost a year and a half in captivity. During his court career, he worked on translations of Aristotle into Polish. He then returned to the medical profession and successfully practiced for the last 10 years of his life.
Petrycy died in 1626 in Kraków, and shortly before his death he founded a marble epitaph for himself depicting him in prayer, created by a royal court sculptor.
Portrait of a bearded man holding glasses, comes from the collection of John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick (1770-1859) at Northwick Park. It was previously attributed to Titian and Lotto Lorenzo, however stylistically is also close to Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594) and his son Domenico (1560-1635). The man's costume of crimson silk is very similar to Polish żupan, his coat is lined with fur. This effigy is very similar to portraits of Sebastian Petrycy and his son Jan Innocenty Petrycy (1592-1641), who like father was a physician, professor at the Academy and studied in Bologna. Mentioned portraits are today in the Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University and were created in the 1620s by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella (1570-1650), a Venetian artist settled in Kraków and a court painter of king Sigismund III Vasa. It is possible that Dolabella's workshop copied some family owned portraits, created in Venice. Consequently the effigy can be dated to beginning of the 17th century when Petrycy was a court physician in Kraków.
Portrait of Sebastian Petrycy (1554-1626) holding glasses by Venetian painter, possibly Domenico Tintoretto, 1600-1606, Private collection.
Portraits of Constance of Austria by Gortzius Geldorp
"Although the king was young, he was more inclined to peace than to war, and he did not even want to find employment in anything in the domain of the god Mars. I heard that one time, when the archbishop and chancellor informed him about the war, he wrote something down in a pugilares. They thought that he was anxious about the fate of the war until the king, who was a good painter, goldsmith and turner, showed them a painted little owl", recalled in his diary Albert Stanislaus Radziwill, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania about the beginnings of the reign of Sigismund III Vasa.
The King, so much inimical to idleness (tanto inimico dell'ozio), in his spare time he occupied himself with a certain artistic work, making his effigies, paintings and other items, which he offered as a gift, like "the one of which he painted with his own hand was the portrait of Saint Catherine of Siena last year" (una delle quali che fece di sua mano, fu il ritratto di S. Catherina di Siena l'anno passato), says of Sigismund III another contemporary witness, the papal nuncio Erminio Valenti (1564-1618), in a handwritten description of Poland and the royal court in 1603 (Relazione del Regno di Polonia).
In 1605 the king married his distant relative (as a granddaughter of Anna Jagellonica), the sister of his first wife and sister of Queen of Spain, Constance of Austria (1588-1631). Many eminent guests arrived to Kraków for Sigismund's wedding, the bride with her mother Archduchess Maria Anna, and her sister - Maria Christina, Princess of Transylvania, Radu Șerban, Voivode of Wallachia or his envoy, Mechti Kuli Beg, Ambassador of Persia, Afanasy Ivanovich Vlasiev, Ambassador of Russia, among others. The city was beautifully decorated on the entry of the wedding procession (mechanical Polish eagle, most probably from ephemeral decorations, preserved in the St. Mary's Church in Kraków). Also many artists came to Kraków at that time. The so-called "Stockholm Scroll", a unique, fifteen-metre long painting depicting the 1605 wedding procession, acquired during the Deluge and returned to Poland in 1974 (donated to the Royal Castle in Warsaw), is attributed to Balthasar Gebhardt, court painter of Archduke Ferdinand (1578-1637), Constance's brother.
Among the most distinguished works attributed to the king there is a gouache painting on parchment with Allegory of Faith in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. It bears the king's coat of arms, his monogram S under the crown, the date 1616 and monogram M.N.D.F.C. Below there is also a signature of king's wife Constantia Regina. Since the effigy of a woman bears resemblance to other effigies of the Queen, it was she who lend her features to the figure. Another painting traditionally linked with Sigismund is Mater Dolorosa in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich (inventory number 5082), painted on copper. It comes from the Castle Haag in Geldern in the district of Kleve, North Rhine-Westphalia and was most probably part of Anna Catherine Constance's dowry. Sigismund's painting is a copy of a work by Gortzius Geldorp depicting a female saint in adoration signed with monogram 'GG F', painted on wood. Crispijn van de Passe the Elder created a print, published in Utrecht in 1612, with similar composition, showing the penitent Mary Magdalene (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number RP-P-1906-2063), which is however more close to the Sigismund's painting then to the version by Geldorp. The woman in Geldorp's painting has more Habsburg facial features.
The same woman with protruding lower lip was depicted in two other paintings by Geldorp one signed with monogram and dated 'AN ° 1605.GG.F.' (sold in 2015 at Christie's, Amsterdam, lot 52, the other sold in 2011 at Christie's, New York, lot 140). Both paintings represent a lady as Berenice, wife of pharaoh Ptolemy III Euergetes. Berenice pledged to sacrifice her hair to the goddess Venus if her husband was safely brought home from battle during the Third Syrian War. Her hair became the constellation called Coma Berenices (Berenice's hair) and the symbol of power of marital love.
Very little is known about Gortzius Geldorp. He was born in Leuven (Louvain) in 1553 in what was then the Spanish Netherlands and learned to paint from Frans Francken I and later from Frans Pourbus the Elder. Around 1576 became court painter to the Duke of Terra Nova, Carlo d'Aragona Tagliavia (1530-1599), a Sicilian-Spanish nobleman, who in 1582 was appointed Governor of Milan and whom he accompanied on his trips. The Duke died in Madrid on September 23, 1599, and Geldorp died after 1619. It is very possible that he or his student came to Kraków in 1605.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as Berenice by Gortzius Geldorp, 1605, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as Berenice by Gortzius Geldorp, ca. 1605, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) as a Saint in adoration (Saint Constance?) by Gortzius Geldorp, ca. 1616, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Charles Radziwill by Gortzius Geldorp
In 1616, Sigismund Charles Radziwill (1591-1642), son of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) and Elżbieta Eufemia Wiśniowiecka (1569-1596) arrived at the royal court in Warsaw and obtained, in 1617, the titular dignity of Carver of the court of Queen Constance of Austria.
He studied at the Jesuit College in Nesvizh, and then in Bologna. In 1612, he joined the Order of the Knights of Malta (Knights Hospitaller) and fought with the Turks in the Mediterranean. After returning to Poland in 1614, his father founded him a Maltese commandery in Lithuania.
At the beginning of 1618, summoned by the Grand Master, he went to Malta. In January 1619, he was in Vienna where a great congregation of Knights Hospitaller was held. He was appointed by the Grand Master general commissioner, together with Charles II Gonzaga (1609-1631), Duke of Nevers. "Having received a license from His Highness the Emperor ... tomorrow, God willing, I am leaving", he wrote in a letter dated January 15, 1619 from Vienna to his brother John George Radziwill (1588-1625). In February 1619 he was in Venice, and he reported again to his brother: "I found his lordship Alexander, our brother, in good health in Venice and I hope that Our Lord will brought him quickly back and your Majesty will see him in our country".
After return to the Commonwealth in 1621 he participated in the battle of Khotyn and in 1622 he commanded the unit of the Polish-Lithuanian light cavalry (Lisowczyks) in the Imperial army. He died on November 5, 1642 in Assisi in Italy.
Before the discovery of a portrait of a man in black costume dated 1619 and signed by Gortzius Geldorp with his monogram 'GG.F.', it was generally believed that he died in 1616 in Cologne. A copy of Titian's Violante by his hand, sold in 2016 in Vienna (Dorotheum, lot 122, monogrammed upper left: 'GG.F.'), indicate that he was in Venice and in Vienna. According to inscription in Latin in upper right corner of mentioned portrait of a man in black costume the sitter was aged 28 in 1619 (AETATIS. SVAE. 28. / .1619.) exactly as Sigismund Charles Radziwill when he was in Venice and in Vienna. The costume of a man and his facial features bear a startling resemblance to effigy of Sigismund Charles Radziwill in the State Hermitage Museum (ОР-45868), created after original from about 1616. His Spanish style costume, typical for the Imperial court in Vienna, is almost identical to that visible in the portrait of Antonio Barberini, Grand Prior of Rome of the Order of Malta, created in 1625 by Ottavio Leoni. Similar outfits are also visible in portraits by Bernardo Strozzi, like in the likeness of Giovanni Battista Mora the Elder, nobleman of Vicenza near Venice, in the Walters Art Museum and in the portrait of Mikołaj Wolski (1553-1630) by Venanzio di Subiaco in the Camaldolese Monastery in Bielany, created in about 1624.
Portrait of Sigismund Charles Radziwill (1591-1642) aged 28 by Gortzius Geldorp, 1619, Private collection.
Portraits of Tomasz Zamoyski and Katarzyna Ostrogska by Domenico Tintoretto
In the years 1615-1617, "fulfilling the last will of his father", Tomasz Zamoyski (1594-1638), son of Jan Zamoyski, Grand Chancellor of the Crown (1542-1605) and Barbara Tarnowska (1566-1610), daughter of Stanisław Tarnowski (d. 1618), castellan of Sandomierz, undertook foreign peregrinations. Almost all young magnates made such educational journeys at that time.
Through Kraków in the south of Poland, he reached Gdańsk in the north, where he stayed "about six Sundays" - from around December 12, 1614 to the last days of January 1615, also visiting Malbork and Elbląg. In the last days of January 1615, after receiving letters of recommendation from king Sigismund III Vasa, young Zamoyski set off from Gdańsk accompanied by a small court with Father Wojciech Bodzęcki, professor at the Zamość Academy, and Piotr Oleśnicki, Tomasz's cousin, who studied in Paris and Padua at the expense of Jan Zamoyski.
From Lübeck he went to Amsterdam, and from there to England. He arrived in London in mid-July 1615 and spent about 5 months there. James I, captured by Tomasz's wit and kindness, often invited him to hunting and banquets. At the request of Zamoyski the king released several English Catholics from prison - including Father Fludd who was held at Gatehouse Prison. "He was held in high esteem by the King, who often had audiences with him. He often went hunting with his son Charles. The royal horses were always at the disposal of the Lord himself and his servants for fun. King James was given an expensive hat decoration with heron feathers", wrote Tomasz's servant Stanisław Żurkowski in a biography.
Wanting to get to know the country better, he went on a trip around the island, which lasted about two months. Then he travelled to France. Zamoyski probably arrived to Tours, where King Louis XIII was staying at that time, in the first days of March 1616. From Tours the he went to Orléans then to Paris. His stay in the capital of France was very busy: he learned the French language, "listened to the courts in the parliament", he was "in academies on various acts and disputes", he improved his skills in fencing and horse riding, and he learned to play the lute. He attended the audiences of King Louis XIII, held receptions for officials and officers of the French court and visited them. He befriended the princes de Guise, de Rohan, de Nevers and de Montmorency.
From France young Zamoyski came to Italy in January 1617. From an early age, he had contact with the culture of Italy as his father was educated there. He visited Naples and Rome, where he had audiences with Pope Paul V. Then he went to Loreto, Padua and Venice. Also in Italy he maintained the splendor of his retinue. He visited the studios of masters of engraving, painting and goldsmiths, he acquired luxury goods, he organized parties and gave gifts to people from the ruling class. The cost of Zamoyski's journey was amounted to enormous sum of over 20,000 zlotys, while the income from 1 village at that time fluctuated between 140 and 240 zlotys annually.
In the first days of November 1617, through Switzerland, Bavaria, Bohemia and Silesia, Zamoyski returned to Poland, where in Kościan, he was welcomed by servants from Zamość and soldiers from his private units. A few days later, he arrived in Poznań, where "he put away his foreign clothes, cut his hair and returned to Polish attire", as recalled Żurkowski in his biography. From Poznań he went to Łowicz, to pay a visit to the Archbishop of Gniezno, Wawrzyniec Gembicki in his magnificent palace, and then to Warsaw, where he stayed for about two weeks. It was not until December 20 that he arrived in Zamość, where he was solemnly welcomed. Soon after his return his political career advanced, in 1618 he became the voivode of Podolia and in 1619 the voivode of Kiev (after "Peregrynacje zagraniczne Tomasza Zamoyskiego w latach 1615-1617" by Adam Andrzej Witusik). He also decided to marry Katarzyna Ostrogska (1602-1642), granddaughter of Zofia Tarnowska (1534-1570), Princess of Ostroh on paternal side, and great-granddaughter of Duchess Anna of Masovia (1498-1557) on maternal side. 18-year-old Katarzyna and 25-year-old Tomasz were married in the Corpus Christi Church in Jarosław on March 1, 1620. As a dowry, Katarzyna received 53,333 zlotys, 6 castles, 13 cities, about 300 villages and folwarks. She was born in 1602 in the family of Alexander Prince of Ostroh, voivode of Volhynia, and his wife Anna Kostka (1575-1635), as the youngest of eight children. The family lived in the city of Jarosław. Her father died suddenly the year after her birth, leaving a rich inheritance to his three daughters who reached adulthood: Zofia, Anna Alojza and Katarzyna.
The portrait of a young man in a black coat lined with fur, attributed to Domenico Tintoretto, today in the National Gallery in London (inventory number NG173), was presented in 1839 by Henry Gally Knight (1786-1846), a British politician and writer. His right hand rests on a table placed before an open window, and on which is a silver vase containing a sprig of myrtle, consecrated to Venus, goddess of love and used in bridal wreaths. In his left hand he holds a black cap. An open window looks out over a landscape of farmland with two rustic buildings, possibly barns, with what look like thatched roofs supported on wooden trunks or poles, typical for Poland, Ukraine and large estates of the Zamoyskis near Zamość. Merchants from such distant countries as Spain, England, Finland, Armenia and Persia arrived for the annual three-week-long big fair, one of the largest in Europe, in nearby Jarosław - according to Łukasz Opaliński (1612-1662), 30,000 cattle were sold at one Jarosław fair (Polonia Defensa Contra Joan. Barclaium, 1648). The same man was also depicted in a full-length portrait, also by Domenico Tintoretto, which before World War II was in the Łańcut Castle close to Jarosław (catalogue "For Peace and Freedom. Old masters: a collection of Polish-owned works of art ...", pic. 37). He wears a fashionable French/English black costume, very similar to the one shown in the portrait of a young man, attributed to Salomon Mesdach, dated on the table: Aº 1617 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number SK-A-913). A view of a canal in Venice is visible through the window behind him, suggesting that the portrait is a souvenir of his visit to the city. The man in both portraits bear great resemblance to effigies of Tomasz Zamoyski in Polish costume, as a child aged 12, created by Peter Querradt in 1606 (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) and aged 44, created by Jan Kasiński in 1637 (Diocesan Museum in Sandomierz).
Portrait of a lady, known as Donna delle Rose, in Villa Gyllenberg in Helsinki was painted in the same style as the portrait of a man with myrtle in the National Gallery in London. This work is also attributed to Domenico Tintoretto, it has similar composition and similar dimensions (116.5 x 85.5 cm / 119.5 × 98 cm), therefore can be considered as a pendant or a portrait from a series created at the same time. The modish attire worn by this young woman bespeaks great affluence. Her costume is very similar to Venetian court dresses visible in a print published in 1609 in Giacomo Franco's "Costumes of Venetian Men and Women" (Habiti d'hvomeni et donne venetiane). The northern ruff, however, was replaced with a reticella collar from the late 1610s, like an open peacock's tail behind the head, propped up with sticks, similar to Italian and French collars of courtiers of King Sigismund III Vasa. The Procession with St. Anianus by workshop Tommaso Dolabella (Corpus Christi Church in Kraków) and Banner with Adoration of St. Francis by Jan Troschel (Leżajsk Monastery), testifies to the diversity of the court fashion in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1620s with Polish, Spanish, Italian, French and German styles represented. White rose in her hair symbolizes purity and innocence of a bride. The woman's face bear great resemblance to preserved portraits of Katarzyna Ostrogska, all created when she was a widow and offered to different monasteries (Museum of Zamość), or to the portrait of her daughter Gryzelda Wiśniowiecka (Kozłówka Palace).
Lady Zamoyska in a Venetian costume painted by Domenico Tintoretto? This was not surprising for the inhabitants of the Zamoyski estates. There were many Italians in Zamość, at the Academy, in the service of the Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, starting with the court architect, Venetian Bernardo Morando. In 1596 Boniface Vanozzi, secretary of Cardinal Enrico Gaetani in Poland, described Zamość, Renaissance ideal city build for the Chancellor, "a lover of the Italian nation" (amatore della natione italiana), from scratch: "He began to build this town in 1581 and already today it has up to 400 houses, mostly built in Italian style". Before 1604 he commissioned to the main altar of the Collegiate Church in Zamość, several paintings in the workshop of Domenico Tintoretto. Negotiations with the artist were conducted on behalf of Zamoyski by representatives of the Italian Capponi and Montelupi families and completed paintings were delivered to Poland in 1604. The largest painting depicted the Risen Christ with St. Thomas the Apostle - the patron of the temple, paintings in the side parts: St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist - the patrons of the founder, and the painting in the top of the altar - God the Father. This altar was transported to the church in Tarnogród in 1781 and only the side paintings preserved.
Tomasz, his father and his wife in Venetian costume were also depicted in two paintings in the Church of the Assumption in Kraśnik (Thanksgiving mass and Rosary procession). Both were created by Tommaso Dolabella in 1626. From 1604 Kraśnik was part of the Zamość estate and the protector of the church was Tomasz Zamoyski, voivode of Kiev. The voivode and his wife founded stalls for the church with their coat of arms and in one of the side altars there is painting of Salvator Mundi by Paris Bordone or his workshop.
Portrait of Tomasz Zamoyski (1594-1638) in French/English costume from the Łańcut Castle by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1617, present whereabouts unknown.
Portrait of Tomasz Zamoyski (1594-1638) by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1620, National Gallery in London.
Portrait of Katarzyna Ostrogska (1602-1642) in Venetian costume by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1620, Villa Gyllenberg in Helsinki.
St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist from the Zamość Collegiate by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1604, Church of the Transfiguration in Tarnogród.
Portraits of Prince John Casimir Vasa by Rembrandt
Polish-Lithuanian kings and aristocrats owned many works by Rembrandt, his workshop or followers, he frequently painted people in costumes very similar to these known from effigies of the Polish-Lithuanian nobility, he began his career in the workshop of supplier of the King of Poland and married his relative, he lived in Amsterdam, where tons of Polish grain, large quantities of fur and other products were shipped every year in the 17th century, yet he allegedly painted no Pole known by name.
Due to the lack of written sources explicitly confirming it even the "Polish rider" or the "Polish nobleman" by Rembrandt or his school are questioned as possibly not representing Polish-Lithuanian people, the same with the "Queen of Poland" by Rembrandt's pupil Ferdinand Bol.
This vast, multicultural country with incomprehensible languages, an elective monarchy, religious tolerance and the growing influence of papists and Habsburgs, represented all the evil of this planet for pious Protestants. They must have welcomed the fact that Calvinist Prince of Transylvania George II Rakoczi (1621-1660) joined other contries and invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonweath from the south during the Deluge (1655-1660). Joost Cortwiert published in 1657 in The Hague an eight-page Dutch-language pamphlet entitled "A manifesto by George Rakoczi, prince of Transylvania, containing the reasons why he is attacking the kingdom of Poland with his army" (Manifest van Georgius Ragotsky, prins van Transilvanien. Vervattende de redenen waer om hy metsyn chrijchs-macht int koninck-rijck Polen valt). Also around that time a portrait of this important ally was published, though due to the lack of a proper effigy, possibly by mistake, an earlier print by Jan van Vliet after a painting by Rembrandt was used. It was created in 1631 and represents an eastern prince, who however bear no resemblance to other effigies of George II Rakoczi (1621-1660) or his father George I (1593-1648) (compare "323 The Rákóczy identity" by Gary Schwartz). This likeness was also published as a portrait of Skanderbeg (1405-1468), Lord of Albania.
The march of Rakoczi army towards Warsaw was marked by atrocities, destruction, and looting. Simultaneously, Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski's forces organized a revenge invasion of Transylvania. After the defeat and subsequent retreat of his Cossack allies, Rakoczi capitulated to Lubomirski, promising to break his alliance with Sweden and abandon the royal city of Kraków.
Not only pople were killed, property looted, buildings destroyed, but foreign invasion triggered epidemic diseases, profound economic crisis and ethnic cleansing. People who survived the invasion were struggling to survive in destroyed country, like in Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula River, the mannerist gem of the Commonwealth, which raised into prominence after 1561 thanks to grain trade as an important river port. The city was ransacked and burned in February 1656 by the troops of the Brigand of Europe (as he was called by Stefan Czarniecki), Charles X Gustav of Sweden, who invaded the country from the north, and again by Transilvanian troops in 1657. Before 1661 the troops of Stefan Czarniecki destroyed the local synagogue and killed many Jews, who were accused by the Catholics of supporting invaders. From one of the wealthies nations in Europe, Poland-Lithuania has become one of the poorest.
The opulent magnate and royal residences were ransacked and burned. One preserved document - inventory of goods transported to Stockholm from Warsaw by March 9, 1657 lists "188 large and small paintings and portraits painted on panel and canvas" (188 St. stoora och små Skillerij och Conterfey på trää och lerfft måhlat), "One painting from the altar, painted on wood" (1 måhlat alltaretafla af trää duger intet) and "Oil paintings which were in coffered ceilings in Warsaw, from five rooms" (Schillerij som hafwer suttit under taket i Warschow till 5 Cambrer af Wattnferger) from the inventory of items taken from the Warsaw Castle in 1656 (after "Inwentarz przedmiotów wywiezionych z Warszawy ..." by Katarzyna Wagner). Venetian-style gilded frame ceilings in royal residences were filled with oil paintings, similar to these preserved in the Palace of the Kraków Bishops in Kielce, created by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella (1570-1650) in about 1642, or in the Koniecpolski Castle in Pidhirtsi (Podhorce) near Lviv in western Ukraine, also by workshop of Tommaso Dolabella and Dutch painter Jan de Baen (1633-1702), a pupil of Jacob Adriaensz Backer in Amsterdam (1640s and 1660s).
Polish shipments of grain and other products to Amsterdam virtually ceased during the invasion, but Johann Köstner, a Gdańsk merchant, pointed out in 1660 that Holland had managed with grain from elsewhere. Curiously, however, the decline in Rembrandt's career coincided with the invasion of the Commonweath. On 24 November 1655 the 14-year-old Titus, the fourth and only surviving child of Rembrandt, made his last will and testament and named his father as his sole heir, including what he had inherited from his mother. The painter, who lived beyond his means, failed to pay off the loans. In 1656 he filed for bankruptcy and his property was sold.
The monarch of the Commonweath at that time was John II Casimir Vasa, the eldest son of Sigismund III and his second wife Constance of Austria, elected by the Polish-Lithuanian Parliament to succeed his half-brother Ladislaus IV in 1648. During the Deluge he fled to Silesia taking some of the most valuable items from the royal collection. Already in 1626, during the Toruń Sejm, he was proposed by his mother's supporters and on her initiative as a candidate for the heir to the throne. Simultaneously, at the end of the 1620s, contacts between the Polish-Lithuanian royal court and the Dutch Republic intensified. Abraham van Booth secretary of the Dutch delegation that visited Poland between 1627-1628 with a mediation mission in the dispute that arose between Sigismund III Vasa and Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, created some drawings, including of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and audience before Sigismund III in the Old Senate Chamber. The ultra-Catholic camp in the Commonwealth, by which Prince John Casimir was considered the leader, lost its importance after the sudden death of the queen in 1631. Between 1632 and 1635, Ladislaus IV sought to enhance his influence by negotiating John Casimir's marriage to Queen Christina of Sweden, his distant relative.
John Casimir, a great patron of the arts like his father and brother, was probaly one of the first royal connoisseurs of Rembrandt's art. The king had in his collection a painting of "Diana bathing and Actaeon" by Rembrandt (Un tableau en hauteur, peint sur toile, qui est un bain de Diane avec Acteon) sold in 1673 in Paris to François Andrault de Buy de Langeron (item 88 of the inventory). His residence in Nieporęt near Warsaw, "a masterpiece of carpentry" according to Jean Le Laboureur who visited the palace on March 3, 1646, was richly decorated mainly with Flemish tapestries. Before 1643 Samuel von Sorgen paid over 2,520 florins to an unknown painter in Vienna, most probably Frans Luycx, "ad rationem altars to Nieporęt" and in 1651 a Dutch architect and a Mennonite Peeter Willer (or Willert) built a lock in Nieporęt on the Narew river, a "Dutch house" (a hunting manor) and a brewery, and in Warsaw a pavilion called "pleasure house" (lusthauz) for Queen's ladies at the Villa Regia Palace and a mill. Possibly after his accession to the throne around 1649 John Casimir's court painter, Daniel Schultz, created his portrait to the Marble Room at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Schultz was trained in the Netherlands and he studied in Leiden in 1643 (most likely he is mentioned as "Daniel Schultz Borussus"). The mentioned portrait from the Marble Room, very in Rembrandt's style, shows the king in a tall fur hat, a shirt and a chain very similar to the portrait of a man in profile with feathered cap and long wavy hair in private collection in Germany, monogrammed lower left 'RHL', exactly as a print by Jan van Vliet, signed in the plate 'RHL. v Rijn. jn. / 1631. / JG v. vliet fecit' (compare "323 The Rákóczy identity" by Gary Schwartz). This portrait, most probably one of a series, was undoubtedly a model to van Vliet's print. The same profile was also included in a study drawing or preliminary sketch by Rembrandt in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.
The young man with protruding lower lip resemble greatly other effigies of John Casimir (especially his marble bust by Giovanni Francesco Rossi), who was 22 years old in 1631 when the portraits were created and inherited the Habsburg (Masovian) jaw from his mother Constance of Austria. The same year Rembrandt moved from Leiden into the house of an art agent to King Sigismund III Vasa, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, in Amsterdam. Rembrandt became chief painter of the studio and in 1634 married Van Uylenburgh's relative Saskia. Also in 1631, two important Polish-Lithuanian magnates arrived to the Netherlands, Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655) to Leiden and Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) to Louvain in the Spanish Netherlands (possibly also to Leiden that year).
A sheet of figure studies with a portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa (1609-1672) by Rembrandt, 1630s, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa (1609-1672) in a fur hat by Rembrandt or follower, ca. 1631, Private collection.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa (1609-1672) in a fur hat by Jan van Vliet after Rembrandt, 1631, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Portraits of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski by Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol
In 1629, Jerzy Sebastian (1616-1667) and his older brother Aleksander Michał (1614-1677), sons of fabulously rich voivode of Ruthenia Prince Stanisław Lubomirski (1583-1649), set out to study abroad. Aleksander was 15, and Jerzy 13 years old. Jakub Piotrowicki, Catholic priest and professor of the Kraków Academy, became their guardian, they were also accompanied by steward Sebastian Kokwiński. The first destination was the Jesuit university in Ingolstadt (September 17, 1629). From there they went to Leuven/Louvain in the Spanish Netherlands in 1630, where there was also a Catholic university, very popular with the Polish nobility and magnates, and to Cologne in 1632. Then in April 1633 Jerzy Sebastian was in the Protestant Leiden to study military engineering and there he probably met Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655), a Calvinist, who was also studying there. Later he visited England, France, Spain and Italy. During these journeys, he learned the art of fortification, rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, languages, and he had the opportunity to meet foreign nobles and monarchs. He returned to Poland in 1636.
Between 1639-1641, a Flemish painter Mattheus Ingermann (Ingenraen) from Antwerp, who studied painting in Rome, worked as a court painter of Stanisław Lubomirski (Jerzy Sebastian's father), portraying his son Aleksander, which is confirmed by the preserved inventory of the Wiśnicz gallery. His "Annunciation" fom the chapel of the Wiśnicz Castle is today in the Saint Anne's Church in Warsaw-Wilanów. He also made large-format paintings for the Carmelite Church in Nowy Wiśnicz.
After Stanisław's death in 1649 his three sons Jerzy Sebastian, Aleksander Michał and the youngest Konstanty Jacek (1620-1663) managed the estates including the opulent Wiśnicz Castle. During the Deluge (1655-1660) Aleksander Michał secured some rich furnishings of the Wiśnicz estate (Castle and Monastery), taking them to Spiš. Leaving Wiśnicz on September 19, 1656, the army of the Brigand of Europe, as he was called by Stefan Czarniecki, king Charles X Gustav of Sweden, plundered the most valuable things and reportedly took away as many as 150 wagons of precious loot and 35 cannons. The "Inventory of belongings spared from Swedes and escapes made on December 1, 1661 in Wiśnicz" in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw, lists some of the preserved paintings, mainly by Italian masters like Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Guido Reni, Guercino, Domenichino, from the Flemish names are only Paul Bril and Daniel Seghers, but next to them the inventory lists plenty of Flemish and Dutch paintings, "in general, much more than Italian paintings", according to Jerzy Mycielski (1856-1928) - meeting of the Commission for the Study of Art History in Poland on February 26, 1903, moreover, the portraits of the Lubomirski family, painted in Venice by Nicolas Régnier (Niccolò Renieri) and in Gdańsk by Daniel Schulz.
In 1660 Jerzy Sebastian invited to Poland Tylman Gamerski (Tielman van Gameren, born in Utrecht), a Dutch architect and engineer, who was at that time working in Venice, reportedly as a painter of battle scenes. From 1674 Gamerski worked in the Royal Ujazdów Castle in Warsaw, devastated during the Deluge and sold to Jerzy Sebastian's son Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski (1642-1702). One of the earliest works of possibly most gifted pupil of Rembrandt, Carel Fabritius (1622-1654), the Raising of Lazarus in the National Museum in Warsaw painted in about 1643 (signed CAR.FABR.), comes from the Lubomirski estate in Ujazdów (before 1702 most probably in the St. Anne's Church in Ujazdów together with a a statue of dead Christ by Flemish sculptor Giusto Le Court).
Majority of preserved effigies of Jerzy Sebastian come from his later years and were created by Flemish artists, including a portrait by Jan de Herdt (Royal Castle in Warsaw), created in about 1664.
Portrait of a young man with a sword by Ferdinand Bol in Dayton Art Institute depict a man in rich princely costume. His heavily embroidered velvet tunic, pose and oriental sabre are very similar to effigy of King Ladislaus IV Vasa from "Het Groot Balet" (Caricature of the peace negotiations after Battle of Lützen) in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, anonymous print created after 1632. Very similar leather shoes in Polish style, together with velvet arrow case and quiver were offered by John II Casimir Vasa, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to five year old king of Sweden Charles XI in about 1660. They are also visible in famous Polish Rider (Lisowczyk) by Rembrandt or his circle, which most probably depict Marcjan Aleksander Ogiński (1632-1690), colonel of the Polish-Lithuanian light cavalry. The latter painting, today in the Frick Collection in New York City, comes from the Polish royal collection (acquired in 1791 by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski).
Bol, who was the same age as Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, both born in 1616, was brought as a child to Amsterdam. He must have entered Rembrandt's studio at an early age, probably when he was about sixteen (after Emile Michel "Rembrandt, His Life, His Work and His Time", Volume 1, p. 244). Described portrait is dated to about 1635-1640, therefore most probably when Lubomirski was no longer in the Netherlands, however, this does not exclude the possibility that it was made on the basis of drawings created earlier in the artist's atelier or sent from Poland. Jerzy Sebastian's oriental style sabre and horse tack are today in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
The same man was depicted in two paintings by Rembrandt or his circle. One entitled Young man with a plumed hat, today in the Toledo Museum of Art, was created in 1631 when Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from his native Leiden (monogrammed and dated lower left: RHL. 1631), to live in the house of the artistic agent of the King of Poland. The second, in the North Carolina Museum of Art, signed and dated '1633' in upper right corner, shows the man holding a heavy ancient sword, similar to Bronze Age swords found in Nowy Żmigród, south-eastern Poland, not far from Lubomirski estates in Łańcut and Nowy Wiśnicz, today in the Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno. He is not a simple soldier, he is a tremendously rich connoisseur, a descendant of the ancient belligerent Sarmatians (legendary ancestors of Polish nobility), trained in Leiden as a military engineer.
Portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) with a pumed hat by Rembrandt or circle, 1631, Toledo Museum of Art.
Portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) with an ancient sword by Rembrandt or circle, 1633, North Carolina Museum of Art.
Portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) with an oriental sabre by Ferdinand Bol, 1634-1640, Dayton Art Institute.
Portraits of Jan Zawadzki, Ambassador of the King of Poland by Rembrandt
"The next day, in fine weather and the most favorable wind, we came to Amsterdam. Beautiful are edifices of this city, canals crossing it, streets lined with linden trees, forests of ship masts, rich merchant warehouses. [...] The merchant market is beautiful and rich. Reformatory House, magnificent Indian Company buildings, full of the most expensive goods. On the 14th day, having sent the court and things to The Hague, we arrived alone in Leiden, on the day of Pentecost, we listened to mass in a private Catholic chapel. There we met with joy, the sons of Prince Wiśniowiecki, voivode of Ruthenia, who invited us to dinner; then we were visited from our other countrymen, that is from Gentlemen Żółkiewski, Zieliński, Kreitz and Korfa. On that day the envoy, the Council of the Bohemian Queen, informed about his arrival, who immediately invited him on the following day for an audience at three in the afternoon. [...] After 16 days of expensive stay on June 1, we left The Hague. [...] On June 22, near the village of Leith near Edinburgh, we dropped the anchor. He immediately sent an envoy to the Scottish Chancellor to announce his arrival", recalls the author of the manuscript from the collection of Count Józef Sierakowski about Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), starost of Świecie and Chamberlain of the King, envoy of His Highness Ladislaus IV, king of Poland and Sweden to the German princes, to the Queens of Sweden and Bohemia, to the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and to the King of England in 1633.
On July 19 Zawadzki arrived to London. "We visited the house of the Duke of Buckingham, killed by a murderer four years ago. [...] In this palace, the rooms are beautifully painted by Vandyck. [...] We were also at the merchant market [...] Here, by the old custom, the envoy received gifts from the King, three large basins with ewers, six large cups, four smaller ones, a censer, cups for salt and sugar. The envoy gave to the bearers 50 Jacobs (2000 fl.). From London, we set off for the Netherlands again, [...] on August 10th we came to Amsterdam".
The envoy also brought many valuable gifts: "to the Royal Undersecretary, I gave a gift of money so that he would be careful about our affairs. I gave the Master of Ceremonies a chain with diamonds, the Kitchen Master Cupbearer and other officials, expensive rings, or gifts in money". In 1636 he offered to the King of England, after a private audience, the horses, "dressed in tacks with broadswords and maces. Hussar pure breed horse with a horse tack set with turquoises, a leopard skin on it, on a bay, second tack in Arabic style - a bow, a quiver, a very beautiful tack. [...] Two soroks of sable for the Queen, with which they are very surprised, and estimate for a lot of money. He also gave the Prince, five tovaglia tablecloths, whose work is great in admiration" (after "Zbiór pamiętników o dawnej Polszcze" by Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Volume 3, p. 105-133).
During the solemn audience in 1636 before the King of England Zawadzki's servants were dressed in red velvet żupans, beige or scarlet delias, and having ostrich feathers on their hats. They were followed by fifteen other people dressed in Italian style and by Mr. Poręmbski and Mr. Wilczkowski holding golden maces, both dressed in red velvet żupans lined with lynx and sable. Then the son of Zawadzki in a robe of gold cloth, a hat with crane feathers and a diamond clasp and the envoy himself in a czamara coat lined with sable fur, ruby clasp and a chain. He was followed by servants in red delias and with three crane feathers on their caps, red, white and blue, and wearing azure delias. Ambassador's retinue numbered about 66 people.
Zawadzki was a son of Jan of Rogala coat of arms, judge of Ciechanów and Swedish Izabela Guldenstern (de Gyllenstierna). Through his mother he was related to the royal house of the Vasas. He was probably born in 1580 and at the age of 18 he entered the Jesuit college in Braniewo and after graduation he went to Louvain to continue his education. At that time, he entered the service of Count Christopher of East Frisia (1569-1636), son of Edzard II, Count of East Frisia, and the Swedish princess Catherine Vasa (1539-1610). King Sigismund III maintained close contacts with this part of the family, and a special intimacy with Count Christopher is evidenced by the correspondence they exchanged. The Count sent Zawadzki as his envoy to Sigismund III. Zawadzki's cheerful and friendly disposition guaranteed him the king's sympathy and he performed various diplomatic missions for him. Before October 1617 he was also appointed a royal secretary and between 1624 and 1625 he was a member of the retinue accompanying Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (future Ladislaus IV) on his journeys to Western Europe (after "Misja Jana Zawadzkiego na dwory Europy Północnej ..." by Marta Szymańska).
Willing to regain the Swedish throne, Ladislaus IV sent eight legations to various European countries between 1633-1634. In addition to the embassy of 1633, Jan Zawadzki was sent on a mission to England, The Hague and to Paris in 1636. Among objectives of these missions was also the King's marriage and possibly other family matters, however, these negotiations were kept secret. "After the hearing with the King of England, our envoy will go to the Queen Her Majesty and will ask her for a secret audience", instructed Zawadzki Bishop Jan Gębicki in 1636.
At the beginning of 1634, Zawadzki stayed briefly in Hamburg (8 days, during which he was plagued by fever) to discuss with Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot, 1583-1645), a Dutch humanist, diplomat and lawyer, his possible employment by the King of Poland. Aside from his memoirs, Zawadzki is credited with being the author of a memorandum dated 1634, dealing with the campaign in Prussia against the Swedes.
An etching by Rembrandt from 1634 depicting a man with a wart under the eye (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number RP-P-OB-42), despite bearing no resemblance whatsoever, is frequenly identified as his self-portrait. In the same year, the artist actually created his self-portrait in eastern costume holding an oriental sword. Both etchings are signed and dated: Rembrandt f. 1634. Rembrandt also created other version of the first mentioned etching in oval (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, RP-P-1961-990A), also signed and dated: Rembrandt f. 1634.
In the larger version of the print the man is holding a heavy ancient sword, similar to Bronze Age swords found in Nowy Żmigród, south-eastern Poland, identical to that visible in a portrait of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667) in the North Carolina Museum of Art, created by Rembrandt or a follower in 1633. Also his pose is identical, like if the man ordered similar portrait from Rembrandt in the pose of an ancient Sarmatian (legendary ancestors of Polish nobility), after which the artist created the etching. This pose is similar to that visible in a portrait of Zawadzki's friend Crown Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (future Ladislaus IV), created by workshop of Peter Paul Rubens, as one of the series, during his visit to Brussels and Antwerp in 1624 (Wawel Royal Castle). Pieter Claesz Soutman, court painter of the King of Poland, was also depicted in similar pose in his portrait by Anthony van Dyck (Louvre Museum), while Boaz in his painting in the National Gallery of Denmark (Ruth in Boaz's field, attributed), wears the outfit of a Polish magnate and also has a hand on his hip. Finally, this pose is also visible in the famous Polish rider by Rembrandt (The Frick Collection in New York).
The man wears a fur beret with a hat decoration (egreta) with feathers, similar to that visible in a portrait of a man in a fur coat and a feathered hat by Isaac de Joudreville, who worked in Rembrandt's workshop from November 1629 (sold Christie's, 7 December 2018, lot 155), from private collection in Germany. Similar hat was also depicted in an effigy of bearded Polish nobleman created in Rembrandt's style in 1644 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, RP-P-1882-A-6250) and several paintings of Polish-Lithuanian soldiers and nobles from book of friendship (album amicorum/Stammbuch) of Michael Heidenreich, created in Gdańsk in the 1600s by Anton Möller or Isaak van den Blocke (Kórnik Castle). Similar headdress can be found in many other images of Polish-Lithuanian nobles, like in the Allegory of Gdańsk trade by Isaak van den Blocke in the Red Hall of the Main Town Hall in Gdańsk, created in 1608, View of Gdańsk from the northwest (The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus) by Hans Krieg, created in about 1620 (National Museum in Gdańsk), or in a painting entitled Head of Cyrus brought to Queen Tomyris by Peter Paul Rubens, created between 1622-1623 (Museum of Fine Arts in Boston). He also wears a jerkin similar to czamara, a coat lined with fur similar to delia and a gold chain. This proud Sarmatian must therefore be Jan Zawadzki, envoy of His Highness Ladislaus IV.
In 2016 a painting attributed to follower of Rembrandt from a private collection in the USA and similar to the oval print was sold at auction (Doyle New York, Jan 27, 2016, lot 59). Stilistically this painting is very close to Peter Danckers de Rij, especially portrait of Court Chamberlain Adam Kazanowski in the Wawel Royal Castle. The painting was sold together with a portrait of a lady (lot 60), painted in similar style, however, slightly larger and with not matching composition. It it possible that effigies of these important courtiers of Ladislaus IV were sent to their friends or relatives in England or Scotland. At the beginning of the 17th century Scottish Eva Forbes, was a wet nurse of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund.
Portrait of Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), Ambassador of the King of Poland with an ancient sword by Rembrandt, 1634, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), Ambassador of the King of Poland in oval by Rembrandt, 1634, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Jan Zawadzki (d. 1645), Ambassador of the King of Poland by follower of Rembrandt, possibly Peter Danckers de Rij, 1634-1645, Private collection.
Portrait of a lady in a fur coat by follower of Rembrandt, possibly Peter Danckers de Rij, 1634-1645, Private collection.
Portrait of Polish-Lithuanian noble in a fur coat and a feathered hat by Isaac de Joudreville, 1630s, Private collection.
Portrait of Prince Alexander Charles Vasa by Rembrandt
"He is all according to your customs and the Polish spirit: he is bold, agile and quick-witted - why shouldn't you elect him", noted the words of king Sigismund III Vasa who was appealing to the nobility in 1626 in favor of his youngest son Alexander Charles Vasa (1614-1634), the French diplomat Charles Ogier, who visited Poland between 1635-1636. Unlike his brothers, Alexander was very sociable, because of this he resembled his half-brother Ladislaus. He was considered as a possible successor to Ladislaus and as the most gifted of the royal brothers. Alexander was also artistically talented: like his father, he could draw, he also learned to sing. His singing teacher was the musician and Jesuit Szymon Berent, who accompanied the prince on his trip to Italy (July 1633 - July 1634).
During the 1632 election, he supported his older brother Ladislaus, who was crowned king of Poland on 6 February 1633. Soon after Alexander set off on a trip to Spain. The prince was warmly welcomed in Rome, where Cardinal Antonio Barberini organized a major equestrian event in Piazza Navona in his name. While in Italy he resigned from visiting the royal court in Madrid. Probably one of the reasons was the rejection by king Philip IV of his endeavors to marry beautiful Anna Carafa della Stadera (1607-1644), Princess Stigliano, one of the richest heiresses of the entire Kingdom of Naples at that time. After a month and a half in Rome, the prince went to Florence, where he met his relatives from the house of Medici who had hosted Ladislaus nine years earlier. Lorenzo Medici, brother of Cosimo II, escorted him to Livorno, from where the prince was to sail to Genoa. In Milan, at the end of March 1634, he met his cousin Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand, brother of Philip IV, who was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from November 1634. The prince also visited Vienna twice, where he spent over three months in total. In May 1634, just before leaving, he stayed with his uncle in Laxenburg for several days (after Ryszard Skowron's "Budowanie prestiżu królewskiego rodu", p. 72). Alexander returned to Poland in July 1634. He went to Lviv in today's Ukraine, where he was preparing for the Turkish expedition and in October 1634 he met with Prince John Casimir. There he probably contracted smallpox from his brother and died on November 19, 1634 on his way to Warsaw.
From December 19, 1634 to January 2, 1635 king Ladislaus IV stayed in Gdańsk, where he commissioned a series of his portraits (among which were paintings in the Brühl Palace in Warsaw, lost, in the Strážnice Castle and the Royal Castle in Warsaw), created by Silesian painter Bartholomeus Strobel from Wrocław, who settled in Gdańsk in 1634. On this occasion the king also commssioned a series of maps commemorating the relief of Smolensk and surrender of Muscovite forces, who besieged the Polish garrison, in February 1634. One large map, created by Willem Hondius, a Dutch engraver from The Hague, who moved to Gdańsk in about 1636, is in the Skokloster Castle in Sweden (SKO 10693) and in the National Museum in Kraków (MNK III-ryc.-33883). Salomon Savery in Amsterdam created a print with king's effigy in Polish costume and Surrender of Mikhail Shein at Smolensk in the base after a painting by Pieter Claesz. Soutman (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, inventory number RP-P-OB-5592) and a print with the Relief of Smolensk (National Museum in Kraków, MNK III-ryc.-150 and The Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 722074.a), after a painting or a drawing by Ladislaus' court painter Adolf Boy, published by Willem Blaeu in Amsterdam in 1635. Additionally around that time a view of Kraków from the northwest by Nicolaes Visscher I after a drawing by Pieter Hendricksz. Schut was published in Amsterdam (MNK III-ryc.-29449).
It is very possible that paintings have also been commissioned in Amsterdam in 1634. Some portraits from this period depicting Ladislaus (in the National Museum in Warsaw, 186555 and in the National Museum in Poznań, MNP Mo 2184) are attributed to the court painter of Sigismund III Vasa, Pieter Claesz Soutman, who from 1628 was active in nearby Haarlem, and who created the mentioned painting of Surrender of Mikhail Shein at Smolensk, engraved by Savery.
The so-called Self-portrait with shaded eyes by Rembrandt comes from the collection of Christian Gottlob Frege (1715-1781), his son or grandson who bear the same name (according to two wax seals on the reverse). Frege was a Leipzig banker and merchant, who learned the exchange business in 1728 from a grocer in Dresden (then the informal capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as the main residence of the Saxon kings) and had trading partners in Warsaw, Wrocław and other cities. Saxon kings transferred from the royal collection in Warsaw some preserved paintings by Rembrandt or his circle, all in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, like Portrait of a man in the hat decorated with pearls (inventory number 1570), Portrait of a bearded man (1567) or Portrait of a man in a red kolpak (1568). In 1763 Dresden court appointed Frege electoral chamber councilor. In 2008 the work was acquired by the Leiden Collection in New York.
The painting was signed and dated by the artist: Rembrandt. f. / 1634 and was overpainted relatively soon after its original execution. The man's oriental costume, removed from the 1950s to the 1980s, was similar to that visible in Rembrandt's Self-portrait with raised sabre dated '1634' (etching in the Print Room of the Warsaw University Library, inventory number Inw.zb.d. 2891) wearing a fur coat, similar to royal mantle and a tall Polish/Ruthenian-style hat, a so-called kolpak or kalpak, adorned with jewels, like in the portrait of unknown nobleman from the collection of Jan Popławski (1860-1935) in the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number M.Ob.1639 MNW) or portrait of a bearded cleric by Helmich van Tweenhuysen (II) in the National Museum in Wrocław (inventory number VIII–489). The man however is much younger then in Rembrandt's Self-portrait with raised sabre. He has a slimmer nose and a bit protruding lower lip - the Habsburg (Masovian) jaw and resemble greatly Alexander Charles Vasa in his portrait in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, possibly by Peter Danckers de Rij, or his effigy as a child from about 1619 (1885 copy in the National Museum in Warsaw, Rys Pol.3269) as well as effigies of his brothers John Casimir and Charles Ferdinand Vasa.
Portrait of Prince Alexander Charles Vasa (1614-1634) by Rembrandt, 1634, The Leiden Collection (version with additions in about 1935).
Portrait of Prince Alexander Charles Vasa (1614-1634) by Rembrandt, 1634, The Leiden Collection.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa by Rembrandt
At the beginning of September 1634, young Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski (1616-1667), son of Stanisław, voivode of Ruthenia, who just finished his studies in Leiden, set off to Spain. The year 1634 was the time of intensification of contacts between Ladislaus IV and his cousin Philip IV of Spain. The king, using various methods, skillfully influenced the court in Madrid. In January, he defended the commercial interests of Jerzy Hewel (Höwel, Hövelius), a Gdańsk merchant and a Calvinist, who had his ship and goods seized in the Netherlands. Hewel was a relative of famous astronomer Johannes Hevelius, who in 1630 studied jurisprudence at Leiden. In 1634 on his ship "Fortuna" he delivered weapons to King Philip IV. At that time the king of Poland set up a naval commission and, with the help of Hewel, created a fleet (11 ships, including one galley) equipped with 200 guns and 600-700 crew.
Three months later Ladislaus asked the King of Spain: "We must wage war with the Swedes, enemies of Our Royal House after a six-year truce, we will need all sorts of talented and experienced people, such as can be found especially in the Belgian provinces of Your Ducal Highness. So for this purpose, we send someone there to first of all call the masters skilled in building trenches and bring them to us" (after Mirosław Nagielski's "Z dziejów stosunków Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodów ze Szwecją w XVII wieku", pp. 47-49).
Apart from politics, Polish-Lithuanian envoys in Spain also talked about personal matters. In 1633 the Scottish Wilhelm (William) Forbes, son of Alexander Forbes of Drumallachie (Drumlasie), sought salaries for the brothers of the Polish king. After the death of both parents, Ladislaus' younger siblings were left at the mercy of their brother, as the elective system of the Commonwealth did not provide for any due income or public functions for them. In June Philip IV promised to grant John Albert and Charles Ferdinand (his cousins) a salary for a period of two years, in 1634 he considered awarding the Order of the Golden Fleece to Prince John Casimir and in April 1636 his envoy proposed to the emperor to marry his daughter Cecilia Renata with Ladislaus IV. The mission of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski to Madrid must have been successful as in October 1634 he was grated the wealthy Spiš County in today's Slovakia, obtaining the consent of the king to change the Spiš estates from royal to private and hereditary.
On March 7, 1632, Balthasar Charles (1629-1646), the only son of King Philip IV and his first wife, Elisabeth of France, was sworn before the nobility and the Cortes of Castile as "His Majesty's Heir". His father soon began diplomatic efforts to seek a bride. Balthasar Charles' cousin Mary, Princess Royal (1631-1660), was proposed as a potential bride, but he was betrothed in 1646 to another cousin Mariana of Austria, daughter of Philip IV's sister Empress Maria Anna of Spain (1606-1646). Mariana of Austria was born on 24 December 1634 and after death of Balthasar Charles, the 14-year-old girl married her widowed 44-year-old uncle Philip IV in October 1649.
The increased contacts of the Polish-Lithuanian diplomacy in 1634 left a significant mark in Spanish literature (compare "Clorilene, her son Segismundo and other Polish Princes and Princesses in the Spanish Golden Age Theater at 1634: Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Antonio Coello, Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla with Lope de Vega in the Background" by Beata Baczyńska). It is higly possible that in 1634 Ladislaus IV considered a marriage of his only sister Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with the heir to the Spanish throne. Later her marriage to 9 years younger Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria-Tyrol (1628-1662) was considered. Philip IV undoubtedly must have received a portrait of this important bride, his cousin, whose godmother was Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633), governor of the Spanish Netherlands, and the godfather Archduke Leopold V of Austria-Tyrol (1586-1632).
Rembrandt was an eminent painter and his style infulenced generations of painters. Some 19th-century authors, when Poland did not exist on the maps of Europe, got us used to the idea that majority of the women he painted must be his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh: blonde, brown-haired, fat or slim, rich or poor. But was Saskia so exceptional that so many people were willing to pay for her effigy? On the other hand fabulously rich Princess Anna Catherina Constance Vasa, the only daughter of elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and hereditary king of Sweden Sigismund III Vasa, sister of his sucessor Ladislaus IV, cousin of the ruler of half the known world, king Philip IV of Spain, niece of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II and a cousin of his successor Ferdinand III, descendant of the kings of Poland and Sweden, dukes of Milan and kings of Naples, could be, before my discoveries, identified on a handful of effigies. Rembrandt, supposedly met Saskia at the home of her relative, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, a painter and art dealer of King of Poland. Until she married Rembrandt, she assisted her brother-in-law, the Polish theology professor Jan Makowski (Johannes Maccovius, 1588-1644). Rembrandt and Saskia were married on 2 July 1634.
The painting of Judith at the banquet of Holofernes (also known as Artemisia receiving Mausolus' ashes and Sophonisba receiving the poisoned cup) by Rembrandt in the Prado Museum in Madrid was possibly in the collection of Don Jerónimo de la Torre, secretary of state of Philip IV. Jerónimo died in Madrid in 1658, leaving his son Don Diego de la Torre as universal heir, and the work is probably tantamount to description in the appraisal of paintings of Don Diego made on September 3, 1662 by the painter Francisco Pérez Sierra: "The beautiful Judit, valued under the name of a Venetian woman, original, at four thousand reais" (La bella Judit, tasada devajo del nombre de una mujer veneciana, original, en quatro mill rreales) (after "¿Judit o Ester? El Rembrandt del Museo del Prado" by Juan María Cruz Yábar). The title of Venetian woman is most probably a reference to the woman's bleached hair. Blonde hair was valued as an association with youth and divinity and Venetian women of the 16th century created the famous 'Venetian Blondes' by exposing their hair to sunlight and applying bleaching mixtures (after "Being Beautiful: An inspiring anthology of wit and wisdom on what it means to be beautiful" by Helen Gordon, p. 81). In the inventory of the collection of King Charles III from 1772 the subject is also identifed as Judith: "A painting showing Judith to whom some maids serve a goblet and on a round table an open book, figures of more than half length, an original by Rembrandt, seven quarters long and one and a half varas high" (Un quadro que representa a Judic, a quien unas doncellas sirven una copa, y en una mesa redonda tiene un libro abierto, figuras de más de medio cuerpo, original de Rembrandt, de siete quartas de largo y vara y media de caída).
Biblical heroine Judith, exemplary in virtue and in guarding her chastity, unlike in the paintings showing Anna Catherina Constance's great-grandmother Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach, is depicted after arriving at Holofernes's camp and before killing him. The artist signed and dated the painting which is clearly visible on the chair below the Judith's hand: Rembrant. /f 1634. In about 1634 Pieter Claesz Soutman and his workshop in nearby Haarlem created two effigies of King Ladislaus IV Vasa. One, in Spanish costume, is in Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, the other was published by Claes Jansz. Visscher in Amsterdam (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek).
The same woman was also depicted in other paintings by Rembrandt. The earlierst of them shows her as Bellona, ancient Roman goddess of war. The work is signed and dated: Rembrandt f:/ 1633 and there is also inscription on the shield: BELLOON[A]. The woman is slightly younger than the Madrid version and her hair is not bleached. By 1797 this painting was in the collection of George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham in Stowe House, Buckinghamshire in England, today in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1633 Jan Zawadzki (ca. 1580-1645), a courtier of king Ladislaus IV was send on a mission to the Netherlands and England to discuss the marriage of the king with Elisabeth of the Palatinate (1618-1680), the eldest daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine (who was briefly King of Bohemia), and Elizabeth Stuart. Chancellor Jakub Zadzik, in his letter from Warsaw, dated January 15, 1633, recommended Zawadzki to the care of a councilor from Amsterdam. That same year Zadzik commissioned in nearby Delft a series of heraldic portiere tapestries with his coat of arms in the workshop of Maximiliaan van der Gucht (created between 1633-1636, Cathedral Museum at Wawel Hill and Czartoryski Museum in Kraków). After his stay in The Hague in May 1633, Zawadzki went to Scotland and obtained an audience with Charles I of England on June 26 in Edinburgh. Then he traveled around Scotland and England, during which he met Thomas Roe (after "Misja Jana Zawadzkiego na dwory Europy Północnej w 1633 roku…" by Marta Szymańska, p. 93). Undeniably, he brought some diplomatic gifts with him and portraits of the members of the royal family.
She was also depicted in a portrait wearing a pearl necklace, associated with purity, chastity and innocence. The painting, signed: Rembrandt f. 1634 and sold in Lucerne (Fischer, 5-9-1922), is today in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
Another painting by Rembrandt, in the National Gallery in London, shows her as Flora, the Roman goddess of fertility, flowers and vegetation. It was signed and dated by the artist Rem(b).a... / 1635 and before 1756 it was in the collection of Marie Joseph d'Hostun de La Baume-Tallard, duc d'Hostun, comte de Tallard in Paris. Its earlier history is unknown, therefore we cannot exclude the possibility that it was brought to Paris by John Casimir Vasa, Anna Catherina Constance's brother, after his abdication in 1668 or it was sent as a gift to Anna Catherina Constance's cousin Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Queen of France. A drawing in the British Museum (inventory number Oo,10.133), attributed to Ferdinand Bol, who worked as an apprentice in Rembrandt 's studio in Amsterdam, could be a preparatory drawing to the painting by Rembrandt. The same as in the painting representing the same woman as Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, justice and victory, in her study. A drawing signed by Ferdinand Bol (F:bol.ft.) is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (RP-T-1975-85), while the painting from the collection of James, 13th Lord Somerville in Drum House, Gilmerton, signed by Rembrandt (Rembrandt. f. / 1635), is today in The Leiden Collection in New York (RR-107). Apparently in 1635 Rembrandt and his pupils worked on some large commission, maybe conneted with another diplomatic mission of Jan Zawadzki, who was sent again to England, The Hague and also to Paris in 1636.
The same sitter, with protruding lip of the Habsburgs and Masovian dukes clearly visible and wearing a crown, was depicted in the painting by Rembrandt from 1638 (signed and dated: Rembrandt. f. 1638.) showing the Wedding feast of Samson, today in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. It was acquired by Augustus II, elected King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, before 1722. On October 18, 1641 the painter Philips Angel commented on the painting in his speech to the painters of Leiden on St. Luke's Day. In 1654, the work was probably in the estate of Cathalijntje Bastiaens (1607-1654), widow of Cornelis Cornelisz. Cras (d. 1652), mentioned as "a wedding by Rembrandt" (een bruyloft van Rembrandt). Most probably in 1777, when he was working for Izabela Czartoryska in Voŭčyn (Wołczyn, Wolssin en Lithuanie), Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine created a drawing after this composition, today in the National Museum in Warsaw. It is possible that he saw it in Dresden, however since his drawing is not identical with the painting in Dresden, it is possible that another version was also in the Czartoryski collection. Norblin was a great admirer of Rembrandt's work and frequently created paintings, drawings and etchings in his style. It is also possible that he included in his portfolio a drawing by the master or his workshop.
In this painting the biblical hero Samson poses a riddle to the guests at his wedding feast, dressed in oriental and Polish costumes. It is not Samson, however, who is in the center of the composition, but his Philistine bride, another biblical femme fatale who betrayed her husband. Therefore the painting could be a warning of what type of wife the woman should not be and it was most probably commissioned by the man in a turban, holding a flute and gazing at the viewer. It could be also a subtle allusion to politics, exaclty as Daniel and king Cyrus before Bel (Prophet Daniel exposing the fraud of the priests of Idol Baal) by Bartholomeus Strobel in the National Museum in Warsaw (M.Ob.1284), created between 1636 and 1637 and considered to be political allegory of the reign of Ladislaus IV Vasa.
She was also represented in a small painting, wearing a large ruby pendant. This picture, painted on oak wood panel, comes most probably from the old collection of the Royal Palace on the Isle in Warsaw (M.Ob.2663, Dep 473). It is attributed to an 18th century imitator of Rembrandt and could a copy of a lost original from the 1630s.
Princess Anna Catherina Constance, who died childless on October 8, 1651, aged 32, was forgotten shortly after her death. Before her marriage in 1642 the workshop of Maximilian van der Gucht in Delft, not far from Amsterdam, created a tapestry with her coat of arms and monogram A.C.C.P.P.S. (Anna Catharina Constantia Principissa Poloniae Sueciae), most likely one of the series, that she brought to Neuburg an der Donau (today in the Munich Residence). Chancellor Zadzik commissioned his tapestries in van der Gucht worshop as well as Mikołaj Wojciech Gniewosz, Bishop of Włocławek, secretary of Kings Sigismund III and Ladislaus IV (today in the Skokloster Castle in Sweden). The princess brought with her to Neuburg the most exquisite works of art created not only in Europe, but also in Persia (Safavid kilims with coat of arms of her father are in the Munich Residence and Wittelsbacher Ausglechsfonds in Munich) while her portraits were created by Rembrandt.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Bellona by Rembrandt, 1633, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Judith at the banquet of Holofernes by Rembrandt, 1634, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) wearing a pearl necklace by Rembrandt, 1634, National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
Modello or ricordo drawing for a portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Flora by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1635, British Museum.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Flora by Rembrandt, 1635, National Gallery in London.
Modello or ricordo drawing for a portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Minerva in her study by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1635, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Minerva in her study by Rembrandt, 1635, The Leiden Collection.
The Wedding feast of Samson with portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Rembrandt, 1638, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
The Wedding feast of Samson by Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine after Rembrandt or Rembrandt's pupil, 1777 (?), National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with a ruby pendant by follower of Rembrandt, 18th century (?) after original from the 1630s, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa by Peter Danckers de Rij
With the new dynasty, the Vasas, the focus of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's international politics shifted from south of Europe to the north. Sigismund III Vasa, elected monarch of the Commonwealth was born in Sweden and on February 19, 1594 he was crowned King of Sweden and Grand Duke of Finland.
Curiously, exactly around that time, Venetian painting workshops began to decline, there are no more such great painters in Venice, native to the Republic, in subsequent decades like Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, Palma Vecchio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Titian, Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano or Veronese. Domenico Fetti was born in Rome and then worked in Mantua for ten years and Bernardo Strozzi was born and initially mainly active in Genoa.
Commonwealth's monarchs began to visit more often the main economic center of the country and its main seaport - Gdańsk in the north. Sigismund III was there several times, for the first time when he arrived from Sweden in October 1587. Also his predecessor Sigismund II Augustus was a guest in the city in July 1552. On September 23, 1561 the top of the tower of the main Town Hall of Gdańsk was adorned with a gilded statue of the king with an accentuated codpiece, designed by Dutch Dirk Daniels. In 1564-1568 the Green Gate in the style of Flemish mannerism was built by architect Regnier van Amsterdam as the formal residence of Poland's monarchs.
Not only in architecture, but also in painting, Flemish and Dutch style become the most popular in the Vasa era in Poland, at least in the northern part of the country. In 1624, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, future Ladislaus IV, visted Rubens' workshop and was painted by him. Ladislaus invited to Warsaw the author of his "Art Collection" (Royal Castle in Warsaw), most probably Étienne de La Hire, and Rubens recommended Pieter Claesz Soutman, a Dutch painter born in Haarlem, who was appointed royal court painter, he, however, returned to Haarlem in 1628. All of Ladislaus' relatives and other monarchs employed at their courts Flemish and Dutch painters. Rubens painted his Spanish cousins, monarchs of France and England, Flemish painter Justus Sustermans worked for the Medici family in Florence and his aunt Maria Maddalena of Austria (1589-1631), another Flemish painter, Frans Luycx, became the leading portrait painter at the imperial court of his cousins in Vienna, Justus van Egmont, also Flemish, worked in France at the court of his cousin Queen Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Antoon van Dyck (Anthony van Dyck) in England, Karel van Mander III was active at the Danish royal court and numerous other.
Around 1636-1637, in connection with the extensive work at decorating royal residencies in preparation for the king's wedding, Ladislaus employed Peter Danckers de Rij, who was initially active in Gdańsk. Danckers de Rij was born in Amsterdam and probably returned there during the Deluge (1655-1660).
Despite her qualities and wealth, like in the case of her grandmother and her grandmother's sister Isabella Jagiellon, it was not an easy task to find a suitable match for Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651), the sister of Ladislaus, who reached adulthood around that time. Hereditary rulers of Europe were not interested to marry a sister of the elective monarch. After the death of her parents in 1631 and in 1632, Parliament granted her the counties of Brodnica, Gołub and Tuchola. The lands had previously belonged to her mother, but Anna could not exercise her rights until she came of age in 1638. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, and Gaston, Duke of Orléans (brother of King Louis XIII of France), were among candidates for her hand. Despite the agreements of 1639 and 1642 to marry her to Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria-Tyrol (1628-1662), the marriage never took place, due to the age of the groom who was 11 years old in 1639 and the disagreement over the amount of her dowry. On June 8, 1642, in Warsaw she married Philip William of Neuburg.
In the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg there are two portraits deposited by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (inventory numbers NbgKbg.L-G0006, NbgKbg.L-G0007) which according to inscriptin in German on the frame depict Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705) and his wife Infanta Margaret Theresa of Spain (1651-1673). The man's costume, however, with embridered doublet topped with beautiful lace collar, matching breeches and a lovelock, is typical for European fashion in the 1630s. His pose and facial features are identical to those visible in a portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa, brother of Ladislaus IV, in the Gripsholm Castle in Sweden and his miniature portrait in the Bavarian National Museum, both attributed to Peter Danckers de Rij. The woman from the pendant portrait, who bear no resemblance whatsoever to effigies of Infanta Margaret Theresa, must be therefore his only sister Anna Catherine Constance, as John Casimir was unmarried at that time. She was portrayed in a little outdated outfit, crimson Spanish style saya and a large ruff. Her face and pose are identical as in the portrait from the Ambras Castle in Innsbruck in Tyrol (most probably sent to Archduke Ferdinand Charles), identified as effigy of Archduchess Cecilia Renata of Austria, Queen of Poland (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, inventory number 5611). In this portrait her costume is more à la mode - in 1642 Queen Cecilia Renata asked her younger brother Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, through Estebanillo González who visited Warsaw the same year, to send her some Dutch lace and a doll dressed in fashionable French attire. Both the Queen and her sister-in-law Anna Catherine Constance, knew the fashion trends well. This woman bears no resemblance to effigies of Cecilia Renata in the Gripsholm Castle (NMGrh 299, NMGrh 1417), and in the State Historical Museum in Moscow (И I 5922), all attributed to Peter Danckers de Rij. She is holding an oriental folding fan with a pattern resembling an inscription in Arabic, hence possibly acquired in Venice, exactly like in portraits of Anna Catherine Constance's grandmother Catherine Jagiellon by Moroni and Titian.
The same woman was also depicted in a miniature painting in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan (inventory number 863), also painted in the style of Peter Danckers de Rij. Her costume is typical for Central Europe, Austria and Bavaria in the 1630s, like in the portraits of Maria Anna of Austria (1610-1665), Electress of Bavaria, sister of Cecilia Renata in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich from about 1635 or in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna from about 1643. Similar costumes are also visible in portraits of Éva Forgách, wife of Count István Csáky (1610-1639), dated '1638', in the Hungarian National Museum, Baroness Maria Laymann-Libenau, also dated '1638', in the Ptuj Ormož Regional Museum, Countess Erzsébet Thurzó, wife of István Esterházy, dated '1641', in the Forchtenstein Castle or on the silver medal with bust of Anna Leszczyńska née Radzimińska from 1614 in the National Museum in Lublin.
She was also depicted in a portrait, also very in the style of Danckers de Rij, although attributed to Govert Flinck, from the French private collection. This painting represent "Venus reclining" inspired by Venus of Urbino in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, which is a portrait of a sister of Anna Catherine Constance's grandmother Isabella Jagiellon.
Miniature portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with a dog by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Imperial Castle in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) holding a fan by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1639-1642, Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) nude by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638-1642, Private collection.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa and Cecilia Renata of Austria by Frans Luycx
"As soon as the king entered the castle and got out of the carriage, the archduke came towards the king as far as the stairs, and with him one distinguished Austrian lord Meggau, a knight of the golden fleece, who was in great favor with the Emperor's father. The archduke apologized to the king that the empress did not come downstairs, and this was because of her health while she was pregnant. Then the empress came down and stopped in the middle of the stairs, whole dressed in pearls. The king from the journey, but he was also dressed expensive, and so did the queen and princess. The king spoke to the empress in Italian, who received him pleasantly and answered him briefly in Spanish. She then embraced the queen very pleasantly, and she squeezed the princess so tightly that her pearl earrings with the princess's earrings tangled that they had to be torn off", recalled the greeting of King Ladislaus IV Vasa, his wife Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria and his sister Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa with their cousin Empress Maria Anna of Spain (1606-1646) in Vienna on September 1, 1638, Jakub Sobieski (1591-1646), voivode of Belz, in his Diary.
Ladislaus went to Austria to be treated for gout in Baden near Vienna. The king and his retinue of 1,300 people, "who need more for a month than the entire imperial court for six months", according to Sobieski, departured from Warsaw on August 5, 1638. Known for his artistic taste, during trip to the Netherlands and Italy in 1624-1625, he visited, among others, the studios of Peter Paul Rubens, Guido Reni and Guercino, Ladislaus probably visited the atelier the leading portrait painter at the imperial court, Frans Luycx, during his visit to Vienna. Much earlier, however, he had noticed the great talent of the Flemish painter, because the accounts preserved in Stockholm confirm Ladislaus' contacts with a painter named Luix as early as 1637. Most likely in 1637, when she became empress, Luycx created a series of portrait sof Maria Anna of Spain which were sent to her relatives. Two very similar are in the Visitandines Monastery in Warsaw and in the Gripsholm Castle near Stockholm (inventory number NMGrh 1221), both probably originally sent to Warsaw as a gift to the king and his sister, like the two identical paintings in Madrid (Prado Museum, inventory number P04169 and P001272).
Probably during this visit Ladislaus commissioned a series of his effigies, and portraits of his wife and sister. The 1640 settlement says about the payment by Polish agent in Vienna to "Leic, painter, for three effigies" (after Jacek Żukowski, "Obrazy z warsztatu Fransa Luycxa w kolekcji wilanowskiej"). Preserved portraits of the king by Luycx are in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Alte Pinakothek in Munich and reduced version in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw (inventory number Wil.1143). The portrait of Cecilia Renata of Austria is also in Wilanów (pendant to king's portrait, inventory number Wil.1144) and in Vienna (inscription on the back in Italian: LA REGINA CECILIA RENATA DI POLONIA 1642, inventory number 8291). Inventory of Leopold Wilhelm's collection from 1659 lists two effigies of his sister Queen of Poland by Luycx, one when Archduchess with a parrot (indianischer raab, inventory number 813), the second as a Queen with a crown and sceptre on a table (inventory number 811), both probably lost. In turn Cecilia Renata and the king of Poland also undoubtedly owned portraits of Leopold Wilhelm from this period and a miniature in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków (inventory number XII-71), painted in Luycx's style and similar to Archduke's portrait in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (inventory number GG 2754) and his full length portrait by Luycx in the Gripsholm Castle (inventory number NMGrh 1876), can be considered as such.
Miniature portrait of a woman attributed to Spanish painter in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is stylistically very similar to described miniature of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in the Czartoryski Museum. The woman bears strong resemblemnce to portraits of Archduke's sister, Cecilia Renata, especially mentioned portrait in Vienna by workshop of Frans Luycx (inventory number 8291). The Spanish style elements of her outfit, like earrings, may be the influence of the Spanish entourage of her sister-in-law, Empress Maria Anna of Spain.
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm also owned a portrait of Princess Anna Catherine Constance described in the inventory of his collection under number 812: "A life-size effigy in oil on canvas of the princess of Poland, who was married to the duke of Neuburg. In a black smooth frame, 11 feet 3 fingers high and 7 feet wide. By Francisco Leüx Original" (Ein Contrafait lebensgrosz von Öhlfarb auf Leinwaeth der Princessin ausz Pohlen, welche mit dem Herzogen von Neüburg verheürath gewest. In einer schwartz glatten Ramen, hoch 11 Spann 3 Finger unndt 7 Spann braith. Von Francisco Leüx Original).
The full length portrait by Frans Luycx in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (inventory number GG 7944) is identifed as effigy of Queen Cecilia Renata, however, like in portraits of Ladislaus IV, Empress Maria Anna or a portrait of Cecilia Renata mentioned in Archduke's inventory, there is no insignia (crown and scepter) in this portrait and the woman bears no resemblance to other effigies of the Queen. On the other hand the woman resemble greatly effigies of Princess Anna Catherine Constance, especially her portrait in a red dress at Ambras Castle. This image may therefore be tantamount to an entry in the Archduke's inventory. A reduced copy of this painting by Luycx's workshop is also in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (inventory number GG 7944).
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by workshop of Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Miniature portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (1611-1644) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Miniature portrait of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (1614-1662) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa and Cecilia Renata of Austria as Venus Verticordia by Giacinto Campana
In 1625, during his stay in Bologna, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa visited the studios of local painters, Guido Reni and Guercino. He brought to Poland from this journey, apart from works of art purchased in the Netherlands and Italy, also valuable gifts, including paintings by Italian masters from the famous gallery in Mantua, donated to him by Prince Gonzaga. When he become king he continued to purchase paintings abroad, mainly in the Netherlands, but also in Italy, throuh his secretary Virgilio Puccitelli, a castrato singer and composer. It was Puccitelli, who acquired the services of several singers in Venice for the king between September 1638 and February 1640, who brought to Warsaw "The Rape of Europa" by Guido Reni for which the king expressed his gratitiude in a letter to Reni dated March 3, 1640. "Therefore, we make You aware of all this and enclose the expression of our most obliging intentions, so that You know how much to expect from them and how much we respect your bright talent", wrote the king. This painting is today in the National Gallery in London.
In 1637 Ladislaus invited to Poland, probably from Rome, Giacinto Campana from Bologna, who worked at the Polish court until at least 1646. He was employed to decorate different royal residencies and Saint Casimir's Chapel in the Vilnius Cathedral in July 1639, as well as, together with Giovanni Battista Gisleni and Christian Melich, in stage decorations for Royal Opera in Warsaw and Vilnius.
Campana, trained first with Francesco Brizio, then with Francesco Albani, worked as an assistant to Guido Reni and painted the copy of Guido's Abduction of Helen in 1631 for Cardinal Bernardino Spada with his master's retouching (Galleria Spada in Rome). Before World War II in Bode-Museum in Berlin, there was painting of Feeding the multitude, which in the inventory of the collection of Vincenzo Giustiniani from 1638 it is attributed to Campana (Un quadro grande col miracolo di Christo della distribuzione di cinque pani, e dui pesci dipinto in tela, alta palmi 12 lar. 7 -in circa di mano del Campana senza cornice). Two paintings in Palazzo Malvezzi de' Medici in Bologna depicting the Death of Saint Joseph and Martyrdom of Saint Ursula from the Hospital of the Little Bastards (Ospedale dei Bastardini) are also attributed to him. In Poland the work which could be attributed to Campana is a portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa in a cuirass from the collection of the Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków, purchased in 2013 in Italy.
In the royal Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, there is a painting entitled Education of Cupid (inventory number Wil.1548), which most probably comes from the old collection of the palace. This painting is a copy of Titian's Venus blindfolding Cupid in National Gallery of Art in Washington (before the painting was cut), which is a portrait of Queen Catherine of Austria (1533-1572) as Venus Verticordia (Turner of Hearts). It is however not an exact copy, the painter only borrowed the composition, but the woman depicted as Venus is different. She bears great resemblance to effigies of Ladislaus IV's sister Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651). The style of this painting is very similar to the the aforementioned painting of the Death of Saint Joseph by Giacinto Campana. Very similar composition, painted in the same style, is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Like in Warsaw version the woman has her breast uncovered, but her face is also different from both mentioned paintings, the original by Titian and the copy in the Wilanów Palace. Her image with an elongated hooked nose and large lips is very similar to the portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria in Vienna (inventory number 8291) and etched effigies of the queen. This painting, depicting Cecilia Renata as Venus Verticordia, created in Warsaw, was therefore sent to the queen's relatives in Vienna. What is interesting Fortuna Virilis (or her assistant), an aspect or manifestation of the goddess Fortuna, who had the power to conceal the physical imperfections of women from the eyes of men and associated with Venus Verticordia, has the features similar to the princess and the queen respectively.
Allegory with portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Venus Verticordia (Turner of Hearts) by Giacinto Campana, 1637-1642, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
Allegory with portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (1611-1644) as Venus Verticordia (Turner of Hearts) by Giacinto Campana, 1637-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa in a cuirass holding a baton by Giacinto Campana or workshop of Guido Reni, 1637-1646, Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków.
Portraits of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter Sara by Rembrandt and workshop
"Portrait of a Portuguese Rabbi, painted by Rembrandt, in black frame" (Portret Rabina Portugalskiego, malowania Rynbranta, w ramach czarnych, No.74.), valued at 150 thalers and "A picture of similar dimensions, a Jewish woman in a beret, by Rembrandt painter, in black frame" (Obraz takieyze wielkosci, Zydowki w Birlecie, Rynbranta Malarza, wramach czarnych, No.75.), valued at 190 thalers, in the King's Bedroom of the Wilanów Palace in 1696 is probably the oldest preserved description of paintings by Rembrandt, today in the collection of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and known as The Scholar at his Writing Table and The Girl in a Picture Frame.
General Inventory of the Wilanów Palace from November 10th, 1696 also lists other works by Rembrandt, like "A large painting of an old man by Rembrandt in gilded frame and rounded top" (Obraz Rynbranta Malarza, Na ktorym Starzec wymalowany, wielki, wramach złocistych, u wierzchu okrągły, No. 210.), valued at 80 thalers, in the Upper Treasury with paintings from the Lower Gallery and Library, "A painting with Three Kings by Rembrandt in black frame" (Obraz Trzech Krolow, Rynbranta malarza, w ramach czarnych, No. 92.), valued at 100 thalers (possibly Adoration of the Magi from 1632, today in The State Hermitage Museum) and "A painting with Abraham and Hagar by Rembrandt in black frame" (Obraz Abrahama Z Agar Rynbranta malarza w ramach czarnych, No. 93.), valued at 100 thalers (possibly Abraham dismissing Hagar and Ishmael from about 1640, today in Victoria and Albert Museum), in the King's Dutch Study. The inventory lists many other Dutch paintings, including most probably The Loveletter by Johannes Vermeer: "A painting of a lady in gold dress playing lute, a girl giving her a letter, in black frame" (Obraz Damy graiącey na Lutni, w złotey Szacie, a dziewczyna list iey oddaie w ramach czarnych, No. 156.), valued at 35 thalers, and a copy (?) of The Milkmaid also by Vermeer: "A painting with a Dutch dwelling with a female cook pouring milk, in gilded copper frame" (Obrazek na ktorym Domostwo Holenderskie, a kucharka mleko zlewa, wramach miedzią złoconych, No. 180.), valued at 20 thalers, in the Upper Treasury.
Paintings of "Portuguese Rabbi" and "a Jewish woman" were always together since. In 1720 Konstanty Sobieski, son of king John III Sobieski, sold the palace to Elżbieta Sieniawska, and after her death in 1729, her daughter, Maria Zofia, offered a lifetime lease on the palace to the successor of John III, King Augustus II the Strong (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony. Maria Zofia or her daughter Izabela Lubomirska, most probably sold the paintings, but ordered a copy of "a Jewish woman", which is still in the Wilanów Palace (Wil.1656). Before 1769 the paintings were transported to Berlin and were acquired by Friedrich Paul von Kameke (1711-1769), who was married to Marie Golovkin (1718-1757), a daughter of the Russian ambassador to Prussia. Georg Friedrich Schmidt created prints after the paintings entitled in French: "The bride's father paying her dowry" (Le Pere de la fiancée reglant sa dot) and "The Jewish Bride" (La Juive Fiancée). Under those titles the works returned to Poland acquired by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski in 1777 and inventory numbers of his collection 207 and 208 were painted in the upper left corners of both paintings, still visible today. Sold again after king's death, they were transported to Vienna and in 1994 Karolina Lanckorońska offered them to the Polish people.
Workshop copy of "The Jewish Bride" appears in the inventory of Danish royal Art Cabinet (Kunstkammer) of 1737, today in the National Gallery of Denmark (inventory number KMSsp406).
Despite not having a similar composition the paintings should be considered as pendants (usually paintings of married couples or relatives), as according to tradition they depict a father and his daughter. They also have similar dimesions (105.7 x 76.4 cm / 105.5 x 76 cm), both are painted on oak wood panels, they have similar baroque black frames, most probably original or re-created after original, exaclty as in the inventory description of the Wilanów Palace. They were finally painted the same year and signed by the author (Rembrandt f. 1641 on both).
At the end of 1631, Rembrandt moved from Leiden to Amsterdam. He initially stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, who from 1628 may have been an intermediary for the sale of Rembrandt's works on the Amsterdam market. From 1631 to 1635, Rembrandt became chief painter of Uylenburgh's studio and produced a considerable number of portraits for wealthy and important Amsterdammers, such as the importer of fur Nicolaes Ruts. In 1634, he married Hendrick's relative, Saskia.
Uylenburgh, born in about 1587, came from a Mennonite family, originally from Friesland, who emigrated to Poland and settled in Kraków, where Hendrick's father worked as a royal cabinet maker. His brother Rombout became a court painter. Hendrick was also trained as a painter, however he was primarly active as an art agent to King Sigismund III Vasa. He probably never practiced the profession of painter, at least no works have survived. Around 1612 he moved to Gdańsk. Hendrick arranged large art transports to Poland on behalf of the king, including paintings from the Netherlands and luxury goods, before starting his art dealership and studio in Amsterdam in about 1625. In December 1637 Hendrick commissioned Rembrandt to portray the Polish diplomat Andrzej Rej, who was on a secret mission to the English court for King Ladislaus IV and, while passing through Amsterdam. Van Uylenburgh received 50 guilders as a commission (after "Saskia, de vrouw van Rembrandt" by Ben Broos, p. 80).
Around 1624 Hendrick married Maria van Eyck (d. 1638). The couple had three sons, including Gerrit (born in about 1625), who took over his father's business, and at least four daughters, Sara, Anna, Susanna and Lyntgen, at least one of whom was a well-known draftswoman. Sara Hendricksdr (d. 1696) must have been the oldest as she is mentioned first in the testament of her parents from 1634 and a deed of February 3, 1668 regarding inheritance of her brother Abraham. She was born in about 1626 or 1627, hence she was 14/15 years old in 1641. Her biblical name of the wife of Abraham, match perfectly the old title of the Warsaw painting "a Jewish woman" or "The Jewish Bride". The young girl surrounded by artists, was probably also introduced to painting by her father. Possibly playing in her father's studio she might have come up with an idea to be depicted in a picture frame, in the trompe l'oeil (trick the eye) style. Her father Hendrick who was about 54 years old in 1641 was therefore depicted as a scholar at his writing table, very similar to the etching by Rembrandt representing Cornelis Claesz Anslo, Mennonite Preacher from Amsterdam, created in 1641 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), in the same year as the Warsaw paintings, or effigy of Menno Simons (1496-1561), preacher and theologian, whose followers formed the Mennonite church, by Jacob Burghart, published in 1683 (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen). "Uylenburgh came from a family of Mennonites (a conservative branch of the Anabaptists), who emphasized study and personal interpretation of scripture and individual responsibility for one's own salvation" (after "Rembrandt/not Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art" by Hubertus von Sonnenburg, p. 15). This explain why he was represented as a scholar.
A significant Mennonite community was established in the mid-16th century in the Vistula river delta in Poland and near Warsaw, by 1624, in previously uninhabited areas, giving rise to the so-called Olęder colonization. On December 22, 1642 King Ladislaus IV issued the first privilege for Mennonites. It is highly possible that already in 1641 the king received a portrait of his artistic agent and his daughter, who could also find a suitable husband among Polish Mennonites.
The same old man in rich costume was also depicted in a series of paintings by Rembrandt and his workshop, sitting and holding a stick. One dated '1645' from the collection of Pierre Crozat in Paris is in Lisbon (Calouste Gulbenkian Museum), other, which was in the ducal collection in Munich is today in Amsterdam (Museum het Rembrandthuis) and another in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A version from the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein is attributed to Salomon Koninck (1609-1656), a member of van Uylenburgh's academy.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) in a picture frame by Rembrandt, 1641, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) in a picture frame by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1641, National Gallery of Denmark.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) by unknown painter after Rembrandt, mid-18th century, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) at his writing table by Rembrandt, 1641, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by Rembrandt, 1645, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1645, Museum het Rembrandthuis.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1645, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by Salomon Koninck, ca. 1645, Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.
Portraits of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi, Princess Radziwill by Rembrandt and workshop of Andreas Stech
"REMBRANDT VAN RYN. 319. A person holding a dagger in her right hand and a cord with a knob in her left hand, as if she wanted to ring. Painted on canvas. Height: elbow: 1, inch 19, width: elbow: 1, inch 12." (REMBRANDT VAN RYN. 319. Osoba trzymająca w prawej ręce sztylet, a w lewej sznur z kutasem, jakoby dzwonic chciała. Mal. na płótnie. Wys: łok: 1, cali 19, szer. łok: 1, cali 12.), it is the most accurate and the oldest known description of a painting by Rembrandt entitled "Lucretia" and created in 1666 (signed and dated: Rembrandt / f. 1666), today in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It was published in 1835 in the "Catalogue of picture gallery of famous masters from various schools collected by the late Michał Hieronim, Prince Radziwill, voivode of Vilnius now exhibited in Królikarnia near Warsaw", created by painter Antoni Blank. Radziwill assembled his collection of paintings in his palace in Nieborów near Łódź. The collection included such works of art like the Annunciation by Hans Memling, today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paintings by Venetian masters, like Titian and Tintoretto, and several other works by Rembrandt, like "Entombment of Christ" (item 26), "Portrait of an old man, in a purple cap and in a black dress, holding a rolled paper in his hand" (item 193), "Annunciation (to the Shepherds)" (item 242) and "A woman, undressed, sitting in a room, soaking her feet in a bathtub" (item 291).
Interestingly, the direct ancestor of Michał Hieronim, who lived in 1666, was also called Lucretia, and it was not a commonly used name in Poland at the time: Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694) or Lukrecja Radziwiłłowa in Polish.
Lucrezia Maria came to Poland as court lady to Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria in 1637, when she was about 16 years old. Her father was Pompeo Strozzi, who connected his career with the powerful Mantuan Gonzaga family, and mother Eleonora Guerrieri. She was probably born in Florence.
On November 23, 1642 in Warsaw in the church of St. John the Baptist, Lucrezia Maria married Prince Alexander Louis Radziwill (1594-1654), whom she met already in 1637, as he was among the Polish dignitaries who welcomed the queen in Poland. They married only five months after Alexander Louis's marriage to Katarzyna Eugenia Tyszkiewiczówna was annulled (July 4, 1642). Radziwill was older than his third wife by about 27 years, he was 48 years old, which at that time was already considered a very advanced age. Their first child Cecilia Maria, named after the queen, was born soon after the marriage. At the beginning of December 1652 they set off on a journey to Italy, where Alexander Louis's son from the first marriage, Michael Casimir, began his studies at the University of Bologna in May 1653. In the first days of September 1653, after a difficult pregnancy, Lucrezia Maria gave birth to a son, Dominic Nicolaus, but her husband died soon after in Bologna on March 23, 1654.
Alexander Louis's death caused a great troubles for Lucrezia Maria as his eldest son was very hostile towards her and he raised objections to the bequests in his father's will in favor of her. In the years 1655-57, during the Deluge (1655-1660), she stayed with her son Dominic Nicolaus in Italy. At the end of 1658 or at the beginning of 1659, she married Jan Karol Kopeć, voivode of Polotsk. The marriage was a real salvation for Lucrezia Maria, because since then, Kopeć became a party to the dispute with Michael Casimir, defending the interests of his wife and her underage children. In 1662, she married her first-born daughter Cecilia Maria to Mikołaj Hieronim Sieniawski (1645-1683), future field hetman of the crown. In gratitude for improving her son's health, Lucrezia Maria founded a Dominican monastery in Pińsk in 1666 (after "Lukrecja Maria de Strozzi (ok. 1621-1694), księżna Radziwiłłowa" by Jerzy Flisiński).
For many more years, Lucrezia directed her son's actions in private and public life. As a court lady of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga, she probably did not support a rebellion against King John II Casimir Vasa, initiated by Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, who in 1664 was accused of treason, so-called Lubomirski's rokosz (1665-1666), and she could express it through paintings. Lucretia, the epitome of female virtue and beauty, whose suicide ignited the political revolution, can be considered a perfect allegory.
The country was devastated by several wars, such as the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648-1657) and the Deluge. Gdańsk, the country's main seaport, dominated by German-speakers, which, together with Lviv, was one of only two major cities of the Commonwealth not seized by any of Poland's enemies, strengthen its position as the artistic center of the country. Painters from Gdańsk, Daniel Schultz, court painter of king John II Casimir, and Andreas Stech worked for many Polish-Lithuanian magnates. In about 1654 Schultz created a beatiful portrait of Prince Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655) in silk żupan and in about 1670 Stech or his workshop created an effigy of Prince Aleksander Janusz Zasławski-Ostrogski (1650-1682) dressed in fashionable French costume (both in the National Art Museum of Belarus in Minsk).
Portraits of two women from the Kwitajny Palace, today in the Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn, identified as members of the Radziwill family are painted in very similar style. Both women were depicted in Spanish guardainfante court dress (cartwheel farthingale or hoop skirt) from the 1660s. Radziwills as the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire had some contacts with the Imperial court of Empress Eleonora Gonzaga (1630-1686) and Empress Margaret Theresa of Spain in Vienna, who re-introducted the Spanish fashion there after her marriage to Emperor Leopold I in April 1666. Each of Lucrezia Maria's journey to Italy also had a stop in Vienna. Spanish fashion was also very popular in Italy at that time. King John II Casimir Vasa, as a cousin of Philip IV of Spain and his second wife Queen Mariana of Austria (1634-1696), undoubtedly owned several works by Spanish court painter Diego Velázquez and his workshop, sent to Warsaw by his relatives, including most probably a copy of Queen Mariana's famous portrait, today in the Prado Museum in Madrid (P001191). The older woman, whose portrait is very in the style of Andreas Stech, is sometimes identifed as Katarzyna Potocka (d. 1642), first wife of Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655), however date of her death and lack of resemblance to her known effigy in Minsk, exclude this possibility. Her dress is very similar to portrait of Maria Virginia Borghese (1642-1718), Princess Chigi in Palazzo Chigi of Ariccia, near Rome, painted by Giovanni Maria Morandi in 1659. This woman bears a striking resemblance to effigy of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi by Hirsz Leybowicz, created between 1747-1758, after a likness dating from about 1642.
The portrait of a younger lady, due to composition, can be considered a pendant, however its style is different and more close to Daniel Schultz, who from about 1660 was active primarily in Gdańsk, but still worked for the royal court in Warsaw. Her dress is similar to portrait of a lady in a Spanish dress, possibly depicting Krystyna Lubomirska (1647-1669), daughter of Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, created in about 1667, in mourning after her father's death (from the Potocki collection, today in the National Museum in Warsaw, M.Ob.758). The face of a young woman resemble greatly the effigy of Aleksander Hilary Połubiński (1627-1679) in the Warsaw University Library (inventory number Inw.zb.d. 15609), who became the Grand Marshal of Lithuania in 1669, therefore created around that year. The mentioned effigy of Połubiński is a drawing (ink and watercolor on paper) and it is probably a preparatory drawing for an etching or a portrait painting, perhaps commissioned in Gdańsk or even abroad. The woman is therefore Połubiński's daughter Anna Marianna (1658-1690), who on October 9, 1672 at the age of 14 years old married Dominic Nicolaus Radziwill, son of Lucrezia Maria (after "Archiwalia związane z kniaziami Trubeckimi ..." by Andrzej Buczyło). Her portrait could be therefore commissioned in Gdańsk together with effigy of her father and offered to the Radziwills.
The woman from mentioned painting of Lucretia by Rembrandt in the Minneapolis Institute of Art bear a great resemblance to the effigy of older woman from Kwitajny. Her guardainfante is also very similar and whole costume is almost identical to portrait of a member of the Tyszkiewicz family created in about 1793, after original from the 1660s (National Museum in Warsaw, inventory number MP 4308) or to the portrait of Empress Margaret Theresa of Spain by workshop of Frans Luycx, created in about 1666 (private collection in Sweden).
The same woman was also depicted as another "Lucretia" by Rembrandt, today in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, which before 1825 was in Paris. This painting is signed and dated left center: Rembrandt / 1664. Her dress and necklace are very similar to those visible in a portrait of Anna Tworkowska nee Radziwill from the 1660s (Royal Castle in Warsaw, inventory number ZKW 544) or in the portrait of Empress Eleonora Gonzaga by Frans Luycx from the 1650s in the Gripsholm Castle in Sweden, taken from Poland during the Deluge.
Portrait of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694), Princess Radziwill as Lucretia by Rembrandt, 1664, National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Portrait of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694), Princess Radziwill as Lucretia by Rembrandt, 1666, Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Portrait of a lady in a Spanish dress holding a fan, possibly Krystyna Lubomirska (1647-1669) by Flemish painter (?), ca. 1667, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Anna Marianna Połubińska (1658-1690) in a Spanish dress by Daniel Schultz, ca. 1670, Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn.
Portrait of Lucrezia Maria Strozzi (ca. 1621-1694), Princess Radziwill in a Spanish dress by workshop of Andreas Stech, ca. 1670, Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn.
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.
See more pictures of Bronze busts of Sigismund III Vasa and Constance of Austria on Pinterest - Artinpl and Artinplhub
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.
The second reception stairway, the Senators' Staircase, of the Wawel Castle was constructed between 1599 and 1602 by Giovanni Trevano and Ambrogio Meazzi in the north-west corner of the castle. It is the first such modern construction in Poland facilitating the communication between the floors of the residence and located in the interior space of the edifice. Marble stairs do not run steeply, as it is in the Renaissance Deputies' Staircase, but break up regularly in the middle floors with comfortable podests. Early baroque portals of the saircase with auricular elements designed by Trevano were executed in greenish Carpathian sandstone by Meazzi. The Summary of the Royal spendings by the Kraków's supevisor Franciszek Rylski of Ostoja coat of arms from 1599 and 1600 in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw (I 299), records a spending of fl. 2991 gr. 15 den. 12 "for demolition of the old stairs and construction of the new one, for Italians and different materials" and salaries of "Jan Treurer (Giovanni Trevano), mason ad r[ation]em fl. 1300 datum fl. 1250" and "Ambrosio Meaczi (Ambrogio Meazzi) to inlay the stairs and doors ad r[ation]em fl. 500 datum fl. 300".
Senators' Staircase of the Wawel Castle, constructed between 1599 and 1602 by Giovanni Trevano and Ambrogio Meazzi.
Bronze cartouche with coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth without the Vasa emblem (missing) from the Wawel Castle by Anonymous from Poland, 1604, Czartoryski Museum. One of the cartouches from the overdoor in the northern wing of the castle leading to the Senators' Staircase.
The first wooden manor on the site was constructed for Dukes of Masovia in the 15th century. It was later owned from 1516 by Anna Radziwiłł, Duchess regent of Masovia and Queen Bona Sforza after 1546 for whom an Italian style Renaissance garden was created. The new lavish wooden manor in mannerist style was built in 1570s for Anna Jagiellon. It was here that the premiere of blank-verse tragedy The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys by Jan Kochanowski took place on January 12, 1578. Sigismund III Vasa resided in the manor during the summer. Between 1602 and 1603, according to the Royal accounting books, the old manor was renovated and a new wooden house was built nearby. In 1606 the plan of the manor and garden was prepared for the king by Alessandro Albertini.
When in 1619 the king purchased the allotments belonging to Augustinian friars the construction of a new brick palace become possible. The spot for a Royal summer palace was chosen approximately 120 meters north from the original manor. According to the cornerstone found in 1972 in the foundations of the eastern wing the construction started on September 16, 1624. The structure was designed by Matteo Castelli and Constantino Tencalla and accomplished after king's death by his son Ladislaus IV Vasa. In 1655 during the so-called Deluge of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (invasion of allied forces of Sweden from north, Brandenburg from west, Transilvania from south and Muscovy from East), the castle was devastated and remained practically uninhabited till 1668 when it was given to Teodor Denhoff.
It is a rectangular building with four octagonal towers at the corners, arcaded courtyard and a loggia with a view on Vistula River. Largely destroyed several times, it was reconstructed in 1975.
Plan of the manor and garden in Ujazdów near Warsaw in 1606 by Alessandro Albertini, scale from. 1: 800, hand drawn multicolored document, 42 × 56 cm (16.5 × 22 in), signed: Il sito della villa di Jasdovia; Alessandro Albertini, 1606, Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych w Warszawie, Zb. Kart. 570 – 1.
Cornerstone of the Ujazdów Castle, sandstone, 57 × 57 × 10 cm (22.4 × 22.4 × 3.9 in), inscription in Latin: REGIAE AMOENITATI / SACRA / COELO SOLO LVCO LACV COLLE VALLE / LAETA / PALATIA AESTIVA / FELICIB[us]. FVNDAMENTIS AVSPICATVRV[m.] SAXVM / ANNO D[omi]NI MDCXXIV SEPTEMBR[e] / SIGISMVNDO III POLONIAE XXXVII / CO[n]STANCIA ANNO REGE / POSITVM / ANNO D[omi]NI 1624 DIE 7[septem]BRIS (Devoted Royal delight (...) summer palace), Muzeum Zamku i Szpitala Wojskowego na Ujazdowie.
In the beginning of the 17th century the medieval abode of the Dukes of Masovia was largely extended to house the parliament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, offices and court of the Vasas. The Italian architects Giovanni Trevano, Giacomo Rodondo, Paolo de la Corte and Mateo Castello constructed a Mannerist-early Baroque five-sided palace between 1598-1619. In 1621-1627, with the threat of Ottoman invasion, the palace was fortified with a curtain wall from the Vistula according to Italian concept of palazzo in fortezza (meaning in Italian, "a palace in a fortress"). Between 1634 and 1637 a large hall was constructed in upper parts of the southern wing to house opera hall of King Ladislaus IV and in 1637 the staircase tower was largely remodelled (Ladislaus' Tower). In 1643 the Prince-Cardinal Charles Ferdinand Vasa's Palace was erected on the northern bastion of the Castle's curtain wall and in 1644 a new gate (Saint John's Gate) and the Sigismund Column were erected by royal architect Constantino Tencalla in Baroque style.
During the so-called Deluge of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (invasion of allied forces of Sweden from north, Brandenburg from west, Transilvania from south and Muscovy from East), the castle was devastated in three occupations by foreign forces between 1655-1656 (the last was Transilvanian occupation). All valuables, including marble pavements, chimneys and window sills were shipped to Sweden, while the interiors were turned into stables and a hospital.
Exterior and interior
(1) Detail of the Plan of Warsaw in 1656 by Nicolas Pérelle after Erik Dahlbergh, printed in 1696. The fortifications of the Royal Castle in Warsaw were built in the years 1596-1627 giving the structure the more modern appearance according to principles of the Old Italian School (circle of Antonio da Sangallo). They consisted of a 162-metre-long curtain wall flanked by bastions on either side. Two shorter walls connected the bastions with the Castle. The wall rose at least 6.70 metres above the ground level. The fortifications were made of granite rocks, and due to the instability of the terrain, oak piles were also driven into the ground, the basic material for the surface construction was limestone surmounted with bricks. The remnants of the fortifications were absorbed by subsequent buildings in the 18th-century.
(2) Sigismund III Vasa on catafalque by Christian Melich, 1633, Wawel Royal Castle.
(3-4) The Ladislaus Tower of the Castle, 1637.
Tiles from the excavations in the Royal Castle's garden, 1630s:
(5) Tile with eagles from a stove,
(6) Stove tile with a lion or a griffon,
(7) Dutch tile with a soldier.
(1-2) Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa and Constance of Austria by Philipp Holbein II or workshop, ca. 1625, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
(3) Portrait of Philip III of Spain by Andrés López Polanco, ca. 1617, Skokloster Castle, possibly from the collection of Sigismund III Vasa. In 1615 Queen Constance of Austria, Sigismund's second wife, ordered the Commonwealth's ambassador in Spain to ask for the portraits of the members of the Spanish Royal family. Her elder sister Margaret of Austria, was a wife of King Philip III of Spain. Since the new Holy Roman Emperor, Matthias, resided more frequently in Vienna then in Prague from 1612, the portraits of Spanish Habsburgs would be sent to Vienna after this date, consequently it is more probable that the Philip III's portrait was captured by Swedish forces in Warsaw and not in Prague.
(4-5) Portraits of two sisters, daughters of Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria: Empress Maria Anna of Spain by Frans Luycx, ca. 1638 and Anne of Austria, Queen of France by Charles Beaubrun, ca. 1645. Both portraits were given to the Visitationist Monastery in Warsaw by John II Casimir Vasa in September 1668 and by most accounts adorned Castle walls.
(6) Portrait of Eleonora Gonzaga (1630-1686) by Frans Luycx, ca. 1651, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. A portrait of a relative to Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga and a wife of Emperor Ferdinand III, cousin of John II Casimir Vasa was sent to Warsaw and was captured by Swedes in 1655 (from the collection of Gripsholm Castle).
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© Marcin Latka