Portrait of royal courtier Jan Krzysztoporski by Bernardino Licinio
The interpretation of classical architecture by Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), known as Palladianism, revived by early 18th century British architects, become the dominant architectural style until the end of the century. The work of the architect and his effigies become highly demanded goods.
That is why an owner of a portrait of an unkown nobleman by Bernardino Licinio, possibly a painter, decided to turn it into a portrait of the famous architect. He added an inscription in Latin (ANDREAS. PALADIO. A.) and a set-square and a compass in sitter's right hand to make his "forgery" even more probable. The portrait, today in Kensington Palace, was acquired in 1762 by king George III from Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice.
Wooden attributes of a simple architect contrast sharply with opulent costume of the sitter, crimson doublet of Venetian silk, gold rings with precious stones and a coat lined with expensive Eastern fur. Also the man depicted is more Eastern type than an Italian. Such expensive, usually metal instrument, as compass is clearly exposed in the portraits of architects by Lorenzo Lotto, while in Licinio's portrait is barely visible. The little finger is a proof that the attributes were added later, as its appearance is anatomically impossible to hold a set-square and a compass.
According to original inscription (ANNOR. XXIII. M.DXLI) the sitter was 23 in 1541, exactly as Jan Krzysztoporski (1518-1585), a nobleman of Nowina coat of arms from central Poland.
Between 1537-1539 he studied in Lutheran Wittenberg, under the direction of Philip Melanchthon, recommended to him by "the father of Polish democracy" Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski. Then he went for further studies to Padua (entred as loannes Christophorinus), where on May 4, 1540, he was elected a counselor of the Polish nation. In January 1541, he welcomed in Treviso, close to Venice, the Chancellor Jan Ocieski (1501-1563) on his way to Rome. After returning to Poland, he was admitted to the royal court on 2 July 1545 and in 1551 he was made the royal secretary. He was an envoy of king Sigismund Augustus to Pope Julius III in 1551, to Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg in 1552 and to Isabella Jagiellon, Queen of Hungary in 1553.
As a follower of Calvinism, he founded a congregation of this religion in his estate in Bogdanów, near Piotrków Trybunalski. He also had a large library in his brick fortified manor in Wola Krzysztoporska, which he built, destroyed during subsequent wars.
Portrait of royal courtier Jan Krzysztoporski (1518-1585) by Bernardino Licinio, 1541, Kensington Palace.
Portraits of Jan Krzysztoporski, Jan Turobińczyk and Wandula von Schaumberg by Hans Mielich
Around 1536, a German painter Hans Mielich (also Milich, Muelich or Müelich), born in Munich, went to Regensburg, where he worked under the influence of Albrecht Altdorfer and the Danube School. He stayed there till 1540, when he returned to Munich. At that time, from 1539 to 1541, Regensburg was a place of meetings between representatives of the various Christian communities and debates between Catholics and Protestants, climaxing in the Regensburg Colloquy, also known as Diet of Regensburg (1541). Among the people vividly interested in the debates were Jan Łaski (Johannes a Lasco, 1499-1560), a Polish Calvinist reformer, later involved in translation project of the Radziwill Bible, who studied in Mainz in the winter of 1539/40, and Wandula von Schaumberg (1482-1545), the Princess-abbess of the Imperial Obermünster Abbey in Regensburg from 1536, who had a seat and vote in the Imperial Diet. In 1536 Mielich created a painting of Crucifixion of Christ with his monogram, date and coat of arms of the von Schaumberg family, today in the Landesmuseum in Hannover, most probably commissioned by Wandula.
A portrait of a wealthy old woman in a black dress, white cap and a wimple by Hans Mielich in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona, deposit of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, comes from the collection of a mysterious Count J. S. Tryszkiewicz in his French castle of Birre. No such person and castle are confirmed in sources, however Count Jan Tyszkiewicz, who died in Paris on June 9, 1901, was owner of the Birzai Castle in Lithuania and a son of renowned art collector, Michał Tyszkiewicz. Both the family as well as the castle were known differently in different languages of the multicultural nation, hence the mistake is justified. Before the Tyszkiewicz family, Birzai Castle was the main seat of the Calvinist branch of the Radziwill family. According to inscription in German, the woman in the painting was 57 in 1539 (MEINES ALTERS IM . 57 . IAR . / 1539 / HM), exactly as Wandula von Schaumberg, who like the Radziwills was the Imperial Princess.
In 1541 the artist went to Rome, probably at the instigation of Duke William IV of Bavaria. He remained in Italy till at least 1543 and after his return, on 11 July 1543 he was admitted to the Munich painters' guild. Hans was a court painter of the next Duke, Albert V of Bavaria and his wife Anna of Austria (1528-1590), daughter of Anna Jagellonica (1503-1547) and younger sister of Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545), first wife of Sigismund II Augustus. Albert and Anna were married on 4 July 1546 in Regensburg.
On his way to Rome, Mielich most probably stopped in Padua, where in 1541 Andreas Hertwig (1513-1575), a member of patrician family from Wrocław, obtained the degree of doctor of both laws at the age of 28. Hertwig commissioned his portrait, today in the National Museum in Warsaw.
On December 10, 1540 Jan Ocieski of the Jastrzębiec coat of arms (1501-1563), secretary of king Sigismund I set off on a diplomatic mission from Kraków. It is possible that he was accompanied by Jan Turobińczyk (Joannes Turobinus, 1511-1575), an expert on Cicero and Ovid, who after studies in Kraków in 1538 became the secretary of the bishop of Płock and other secretary of the king, Jakub Buczacki, and for two years he moved to the bishop's court in Pułtusk. When Buczacki died on 6 May 1541, he lost his protector and moved to Kraków, where he decided to continue his studies. Jan was later ordained a priest in about 1545, he lectured on Roman law and he was elected rector of the Kraków Academy in 1561.
A portrait of a man holding gloves in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg is very similar to the portrait of Andreas Hertwig in Warsaw. According to inscription on the back, the man depicted is also Andreas Hertwig, hence the portrait is attributed to so-called Master of the Andreas Hertwig Portrait. Facial features, however, do not match and according to original inscription in Latin the man was 30 on 8 May 1541 (M D XXXXI / D VIII MAI / AETATIS XXX), exactly as Jan Turobińczyk when the news of the death of his protector could reach him in Italy and when he could decide to change his life and return to studies.
Another similar portrait to the effigy of Andreas Hertwig in Warsaw is in private collection. The young man in a rich costume was depicted against a green background. According to inscription in Latin he was 25 on 22 November 1543 (M. D. XLIII. DE. XX. NOVEMBE / .AETATIS. XXV), exactly as Jan Krzysztoporski, who around that time was still in Italy. His facial features are similar to the portrait by Bernardino Licinio created just two years earlier, in 1541 (Kensington Palace). The difference in eye color is probably due to technique and style of painting. Rings on his finger are almost identical on both paintings and coat of arms on the signet ring visible on the portrait from 1543 is very similar to Nowina coat of arms as shown in the 15th century Armorial de l'Europe et de la Toison d'or (Bibliothèque nationale de France). The letters on the signet can be read as IK (Ioannes Krzysztoporski).
At the beginning of the 17th century, the court painter of the Polish-Lithuanian Vasas was Christian Melich, who, according to some sources, came from Antwerp. This, however, does not exclude the possibility that he was a relative of Hans Mielich. He created one of the oldest views of Warsaw, now in Munich, most probably from the dowry of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa.
Portrait of Princess-abbess Wandula von Schaumberg (1482-1545) aged 57, from the Radziwill Castle in Birzai by Hans Mielich, 1539, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.
Portrait of Jan Turobińczyk (1511-1575) aged 30 by Hans Mielich, 1541, Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Jan Krzysztoporski (1518-1585) aged 25 by Hans Mielich, 1543, Private collection.
Portraits of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny by Hans Besser and workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger
Streets, houses, temples, public baths and other edifices of Antient Greece and Rome were full of statues, frescoes and mosacis showing naked gods and rulers. Surely in such temperatures in the south of Europe, where Bona Sforza was raised, it was easier to undress than to get dressed. More to the north the situation was quite opposite, to protect from cold, people dressed up and rarely could see any nudity, thus become more prudish in this regard. Renaissance redisovered the nude statues and paintings of the ancient and today some televison programs reinvented the concept that is good to see a potential partner naked before any engagement, at least for some people.
In 1549 Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) commissioned a bronze statue of himself as a naked ancient god and the detachable armour, so the statue could be dressed. The sculpture created in Milan by Italian sculptors Leone and Pompeo Leoni was presented to the Emperor in Brussels in 1556 and later transported to Madrid, today in the Prado Museum (inventory number E000273).
In 1535 Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny, a daughter of Count Charles I of Ligny and Charlotte d'Estouteville, married Bernhard III, Margrave of Baden-Baden. Françoise was a Countess of Brienne and Ligny and heiress of the County of Roussy. She was about 15 years old and the groom 61 at the time of their marriage. Almost a year after the wedding she bore her husband a son Philibert, born on 22 January 1536. Bernhard died on 29 June 1536 and their second son Christopher was born on 26 February 1537, posthumously.
Next years were filled with disputes over the custody of the children, which was claimed by their uncle Ernest, Margrave of Baden-Durlach who favored Lutheranism and Duke William IV of Bavaria, husband of Bernhard's niece Marie Jakobaea of Baden-Sponheim, a staunch Catholic. In agreement with Françoise, her eldest son Philibert spent part of his youth at the court of Duke William IV in Munich.
Françoise remarried on 19 April 1543 to Count Adolf IV of Nassau-Idstein (1518-1556), who was more of her age, and she bore him three children.
In 1549 Hans Besser, court painter of Frederick II, Elector Palatine created a series of portraits of Françoise's eldest sons Philibert and Christopher (in Munich, from the collections of the Dukes of Bavaria and in Vienna, from the Habsburg collection). In 1531 Frederick of Palatine was a candidate to the hand of Princess Hedwig Jagiellon, he must have received her portrait, most probably in the popular "guise" of Venus and Cupid.
A painting showing Venus and Cupid in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich from about 1540 is painted in the form typical for Cranach's Venuses. Its style, however, is not typical for Cranach and his workshop, hence this painting is also attributed to a Cranach's copist from the early 17th century Heinrich Bollandt. The painting was acquired in 1812 from Bayreuth Palace. In 1541, a grandson of Sophia Jagiellon, sister of king Sigismund I of Poland, Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach received Bayreuth. He assisted Emperor Charles V in his war with France in 1543 but soon deserted Charles, and joined the league which proposed to overthrow the Emperor by an alliance with French king Henry II. He spent the last years of his life in Pforzheim with the family of his sister Kunigunde, who was married to Charles II of Baden, nephew of Bernhard III. Albert Alcibiades was unmarried, so the match with a widowed Margravine of Baden, and a French noble, would be perfect for him.
Slightly different and somewhat smaller repetition of the motif in Munich was sold in Brussels on November 7, 2000.
Similar painting, from the Rastatt Palace, was cut into pieces before 1772 and preserved fragments are now in the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (Venus with a tiara and Cupid with an arrow). The Rastatt Palace was built between 1700 and 1707 by an Italian architect for Margrave Louis William of Baden-Baden, a direct descendant of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny.
The same woman as in the above mentioned paintings was also depicted in a series of portraits by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger. Most probaly all depicted her as Salome and some of them were cut later, so that the upper part could be sold as a portrait and the lower part as Saint John the Baptist. Basing on the woman's outfit they should be dated to late 1530s or early 1540s, however one of these portraits from the old collection of the Friedenstein Palace in Gotha, where there is an effigy of Hedwig Jagiellon as the Virgin, is dated 1549. A copy of the latter painting from the collection of the Dukes of Brunswick is in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum. The portrait now in the State Gallery in Johannisburg Palace in Aschaffenburg, comes from the art collection of Hermann Goering and other, sold in 2012, was in the collection of Prince Serge Koudacheff in St. Petersburg, before 1902. Another, signed with monogram HVK, was before 1930 in the inventory of Veste Coburg. There is also a version as Judith with the head of Holofernes in the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam and several paintings where the woman was depicted in the satirical scene of the ill-matched couple, some of which are attributed to another 17th century copist of Cranach, Christian Richter. Facial features in all these effigies greatly resemble portraits of sons of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny by Hans Besser and stylistically some of these works are very close to portraits by this court painter.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden as Venus and Cupid by Hans Besser or workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1540, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden as Venus with a tiara by Hans Besser or workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1540, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1535-1549, Johannisburg Palace in Aschaffenburg.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1535-1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden by monogramist HVK, 1535-1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden as Salome by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1549, Friedenstein Palace in Gotha.
Ill-Matched Couple, caricature of Françoise de Luxembourg-Ligny (d. 1566), Margravine of Baden-Baden and her husband by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger or Christian Richter, 1535-1566 or early 17th century, Private collection.
Portraits of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters by Lucas Cranach the Elder, his son and workshop
In 1543 three daughters of Barnim IX, Duke of Pomerania-Szczecin and his wife Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Maria (1527-1554), Dorothea (1528-1558) and Anna (1531-1592), reached the legal age of marriage (12). That same year on May 6, 1543, Barnim's young cousin, king Sigismund Augustus of Poland married Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545).
Three of Sigismund Augustus' sisters Sophia, Anna and Catherine were also unmarried and Barnim's uncle Sigismund I hoped to find a suitable husband for each of them. Due to the kinship of the ruling families of Poland-Lithuania and Pomerania, they undoubtedly exchanged some effigies.
Almost a year later on July 16, 1544 Maria, the eldest daughter of Barnim, married Count Otto IV of Holstein-Schaumburg-Pineberg (1517-1576). Dorothea had to wait ten years more to marry Count John I of Mansfeld-Hinterort (d. 1567) on July 8, 1554 and Anna married three times, first to Prince Charles I of Anhalt-Zerbst (1534-1561) in 1557, then to Burgrave Henry VI of Plauen (1536-1572) in 1566 and then to Count Jobst II of Barby-Mühlingen (1544-1609) in 1576.
A small painting of Hercules and Omphale by Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop in the National Museum in Warsaw is very similar to the painting from the Mielżyński collection in Poznań, showing the family of Sigismund I in 1537. Dimensions (48.7 x 74.8 cm / 48 x 73 cm), the composition, even the poses and costumes are very similar. This painting was most probably transferred during the World War II to the Nazi German Art Repository in Kamenz (Kamieniec Ząbkowicki), possibly from the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts in Wrocław. Around 1543 the ruler of nearby Legnica was Frederick II, like Barnim a strong supporter of the Reformation and his distant relative. Both dukes had close ties with nearby Poland-Lithuania. Frederick's younger son George, future George II of Legnica-Brzeg, was unmarried at that time. It cannot be excluded that the ruling family of Legnica received this fashionable portrait of Barnim's family in guise of mythological heroes. The work match perfectly the ruling house of Pomerania-Szczecin in about 1543 and face features of Hercules and Omphale are very similar to other portraits of Barnim IX and his wife.
The above described painting is a reduced version of a larger composition which was in the Stemmler collection in Cologne, now in private collection. It is very similar to the portrait of Barnim's family as Hercules and Omphale from 1532 in Berlin (lost). The effigy of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin with a duck above her, a symbol of marital fidelity and intelligence, is almost identical with the effigy of her mother Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg from the earlier painting.
The whole composition is based on a preparatory drawing that preserved in the Museum of Prints and Drawings in Berlin (Kupferstichkabinett, inventory number 13712), signed with a monogram L.G., most probably created by Cranach's pupil who was sent to Szczecin or Barnim's court painter.
All of Barnim's daughters, including the youngest Sibylla, born in 1541, were depicted in a large painting created by Cornelius Krommeny in 1598 and showing the Family tree of the House of Pomerania, today in the National Museum in Szczecin.
A portrait of a young lady as Salome in the bridal crown on her head in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, is almost identical with the effigy of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin in both of mentioned paintings of Hercules and Omphale. This portrait was recorded in 1770 in the Bratislava Castle, the formal seat of the kings of Hungary, and later transferred to the imperial collections in Vienna. The same woman was depicted as Lucretia in the painting by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, which was before 1929 in private collection in Amsterdam, today in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich and as Venus with Cupid as the honey thief from the collection of the Princes of Liechtenstein in Vienna, today in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.
A portrait of a lady as Judith in green dress in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, purchased in 1879 from the collection of Mr. Cox in London, match perfectly the effigy of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin in described paintings. Her pose and outfit is very similar to that of Dorothea's mother in both paintings of Hercules and Omphale. Two representations of Lucretia attributed to Lucas Cranach the Younger, one from the Galerie Attems in Gorizia, today in the Eggenberg Palace in Graz and the other purchased in 1934 by the Kunstmuseum Basel, are also very similar to the effigy of Dorothea.
Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist in the bridal crown, which was formerly in the collection of the King of Württemberg, now in the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery in Greenville is identical with the effigy of the youngest daughter of Barnim in the Warsaw's painting. The painter evidently used the same template drawing to create both miniatures. Another very similar Salome, attributed to Cranach the Younger, comes from the collection of the Ambras Castle built by Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529-1595), the second son of Anna Jagellonica and Emperor Ferdinand I. It was offered in 1930 by Gustaf Werner to the Gothenburg Museum of Art. The painter added a fantastic landscape in the background. Finally there is a painting of Venus and Cupid as the honey thief from the same period in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, also atrributed to Cranach the Younger. Venus' face is identical with the portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin in the painting from Stemmler collection. The painting comes from the residence of the Catholic Bishops of Freising, where it was known as Saint Juliana. It cannot be excluded that it was originally in the Polish-Lithuanian royal collection and was transferred to nearby Neuburg an der Donau with the collection of Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa or brought by some other eminent Polish-Lithuanian lady.
In the National Museum in Warsaw there is also a painting showing a moralistic subject of the ill-matched couple by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder or his son from the third quarter of the 16th century. It was aquired by the Museum in 1865 from the collection of Henryk Bahré. The woman has slipped her hand inside the old man's purse, which leaves no doubt as to the basis of this relationship. Her face and costume is based on the same set of template drawings which were used to create portraits of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin. The painting is of a high quality, therefore the patron who commissioned it was wealthy. While Georgia of Pomerania (1531-1573), daughter of George I, brother of Barnim, married in 1563 a Polish nobleman and a Lutheran, Stanisław Latalski (1535-1598), starost of Inowrocław and Człuchów, her cousin Anna opted for titular and hereditary German princes in her subsequent marriages. It is therefore possible that this painting was commissioned by the royal court or a magnate from Poland-Lithuania.
Preparatory drawing for a portrait of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters as Hercules and Omphale by Monogrammist L.G. or workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543, Museum of Prints and Drawings in Berlin.
Portrait of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters as Hercules and Omphale by Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, ca. 1543, Private collection.
Portrait of Barnim IX of Pomerania-Szczecin, his wife and his three daughters as Hercules and Omphale by Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, ca. 1543, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin (1527-1554) as Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1539-1543, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Portrait of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin (1527-1554) as Lucretia by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Maria of Pomerania-Szczecin (1527-1554) as Venus with Cupid as the honey thief by Lucas Cranach the Elder or his son, ca. 1543, Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.
Portrait of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin (1528-1558) as Judith with the head of Holofernes by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543-1550, National Gallery of Ireland.
Portrait of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin (1528-1558) as Lucretia by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Eggenberg Palace in Graz.
Portrait of Dorothea of Pomerania-Szczecin (1528-1558) as Lucretia by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Kunstmuseum Basel.
Portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) as Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1543, Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery in Greenville.
Portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) as Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Gothenburg Museum of Art.
Portrait of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) as Venus and Cupid as the honey thief by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1543-1550, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
Ill-matched couple, caricature of Anna of Pomerania-Szczecin (1531-1592) by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder or his son, third quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill, Elizabeth of Austria and Sigismund Augustus as Flora, Juno and Jupiter by Paris Bordone
Ovid in Fasti V relates the story of Juno, queen of the gods, who annoyed with her husband Jupiter for producing Minerva from his own head by the stroke of Vulcan's axe, complained to Flora, goddess of fertility and blossoming plants. Flora, gave her secretly a flower, by only touching which women immediately became mothers. It was by this means that Juno gave birth to the god Mars. The Renaissance represented Flora under two aspects, Flora Primavera, embodiment of genuine marital love, and Flora Meretrix, prostitute and courtesan whom Hercules won for a night in a wager.
Because Hercules' mother was mortal, Jupiter put him to the breast of his wife, knowing that Hercules would acquire immortality through her milk and according to the myth the droplets of milk crystallized to form the Milky Way. As Juno Lucina (Juno the light-bringer) she watched over pregnancy, childbirth, and mothers and as Juno Regina (Juno the Queen) she was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire.
In the painting by Paris Bordone in the Hermitage Museum, Flora receives flowers and herbs from Cupid, the god of desire and erotic love and son of Mars and Venus. Cupid is also crowning the head of Juno with a wreath. The queen of the gods is taking the herbs from the hand of Flora, hoping she was unnoticed by her husband Jupiter Dolichenus, the "oriental" king of the gods holding an axe, who stands behind her.
The message of the painting is clear, thanks to the mistress the queen is fertile. The protagonists are therfore "oriental" king Sigismund Augustus as Jupiter, his first wife queen Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of King of the Romans as Juno, and Sigismund Augustus' mistress Barbara Radziwill as Flora.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill, Elizabeth of Austria and Sigismund Augustus as Flora, Juno and Jupiter by Paris Bordone, 1543-1551, The State Hermitage Museum.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a blue dress, known as La Bella by Titian
In May 1543 22-year-old king Sigismund Augustus married his 16-year-old cousin Elizabeth of Austria. During the entry into Kraków for her coronation, the lords and knights of the Kingdom were dressed in all sorts of costumes including Italian, French and Venetian. The young Queen died just two years later failing to produce an heir to the throne. Sigismund Augustus commissioned for her a magnificent marble tomb monument from Paduan sculptor trainded in Venice, Giovanni Maria Mosca called Padovano. The king was hoping that his mistress, Barbara Radziwill, whom he intended to marry, would give him a child.
Portrait of a lady in a blue dress by Titian, known as La Bella is very similar to effigies of Barbara Radziwill, especially her portrait in Washington. The gold buckles on her dress in the form of decorative bows, although painted less diligently, are almost identical. Her garments are epitome of the 16th century luxury - a dress of Venetian velvet dyed with costly indigo blue, embroidered with gold thread and lined with sables, of which Poland-Lithuania was one of the leading exporters at that time. She holds her thick gold chain and pointing at weasel pelt, a zibellino, also known as flea-fur or fur tippet, on her hand, a popular accessory for brides as a talisman for fertility.
Contemporary bestiaries indicate that the female weasel conceived through the ear and gave birth through the mouth. "This 'miraculous' method of conception was thought to parallel the Annunciation of Christ, who was conceived when God's angel whispered into the ear of the Virgin Mary" (after "Sexy weasels in Renaissance art" by Chelsea Nichols). Inclusion of the zibellino represents the hope that the woman would be blessed with good fertility and bore many healthy children to her husband. This symbolism excludes the possibility that the portrait represents a Venetian courtesan ("woman wearing the blue dress"), secretly painted by Titian for Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, who was already married and had three daughters and two sons, in about 1535.
As early as 1545 Pope Paul III wanted to marry his granddaughter Vittoria Farnese to widowed Sigismund Augustus, whom however wed in secret his mistress sometime between 1545 and 1547 (according to some sources they were married since 25 November 1545). Vittoria finally married on 29 June 1547, Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino (son of Francesco Maria), who at this time was in the service of the Republic of Venice. It is highly probable that the Duke or Vittoria received a portrait of the royal mistress, which was later transferred to Florence.
A copy of the portrait by Titan's workshop, most probably by Lambert Sustris, painted with cheaper pigments without highly expensive ultramarine, is a proof that as in case of portraits of Empress Isabella of Portugal the sitter was not in the painter's atelier and the portrait was one of a series. There were also mistakes and inadequacies, her gold buckles were repleaced with simple red ribbons. Comparison with portraits of Empress Isabella confirms that Titian loved proportions and classical beauty. Just by making the eyes slightly bigger and more visible and harmonizing their features, he achieved what his clients expected of him, to be beautiful in their portraits, close to the gods from their Greek and Roman statues, it was renaissance.
The miniature by unknown miniaturist Krause, probably an amateur, from the late 18th or early 19th century in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, indicate that a version of the painting was also in Poland, possibly in the collection of king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski.
From 1545 the young king Sigismund Augustus spared no money for his mistress. Jewish and Florentine merchants Abraham Czech, Symon Lippi and Kasper Gucci (or Guzzi) were delivering to the royal court enormous quantities of expensive fabrics and furs. Between 1544-1546, the young king emloyed many new jewelers at his court in Kraków and Vilnius, like Antonio Gatti from Venice, Vincenzo Palumbo (Vincentius Palumba), Bartolo Battista, Italian Christophorus, Giovanni Evangelista from Florence, Hannus (Hans) Gunthe, German Erazm Prettner and Hannus Czigan, Franciszek and Stanisław Merlicz, Stanisław Wojt - Gostyński, Marcin Sibenburg from Transilvania, etc. Not to mention Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio, who in about 1550 created a cameo with Barbara's divinely beautiful profile. In just one year, 1545, the king bought as many as 15 gold rings with precious stones from Vilnius and Kraków goldsmiths.
According to sources Barbara was a beauty, hence the title in Italian, La Bella, is fully deserved. "The composition of her body and face made her so beautiful that people out of jealousy disparaged her innocence", she was "gloriously wonderful, like a second Helen [Helen of Troy]" as was written in a panegyric, she had white alabaster skin, "sweet eyes, gentleness of speech, slowness of movements".
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a blue dress, known as La Bella by Titian, 1545-1547, Pitti Palace in Florence.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill, known as La Bella by workshop of Titian, most probably by Lambert Sustris, 1545-1547, Private collection.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in French costume
On 15 June 1545 died Elizabeth of Austria, first wife of Sigismund II Augustus, who continued his affair with his mistress Barbara Radziwill, whom he met in 1543. Already in September 1546 rumors were circulating in Kraków that Sigismund was going to marry "a private woman of the worst opinion". To prevent this and to strengthen the pro-Turkish alliance (the eldest daughter of Bona, Isabella Jagiellon, was established by Sultan Suleiman as a regent of Hungary on behalf of her infant son), it was decided to marry Sigismund to Anna d'Este (1531-1607), daughter of the Duke of Ferrara and related to the French ruling house.
The miniature of a lady in Italian costume, said to be Bona Sforza d'Aragona from the 1540s, which was in the Czartoryski collection, cannot depict Bona as the woman is much younger and features are different, it is very similar though to effigies of Barbara Radziwill. The features of this lady, on the other hand, are very similar to these visible in a portrait of a lady holding a chalice and a book in the National Museum in Warsaw, once in the collection of art dealer Victor Modrzewski in Amsterdam, therefore most probably originating from some magnate collection in Poland.
The latter painting is attributed to circle of Master of the Female Half-Lengths, a Flemish or French court master painter who frequently depicted ladies in guise of their patron saints and who also worked for other European courts (e.g. portrait of Isabella of Portugal in Lisbon). The woman is dressed according to French fashion, very similar to the outfit in the portrait of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France from about 1547 in the Uffizi (Inv. 1890: inv. 2448). She is holding a prayer book and a chalice, an attribute of Saint Barbara, who was considered to provide protection against sudden and violent death (the scene on the chalice shows a man killing other man) and patron saint of pregnant women (together with Saint Margaret of Antioch).
Both paintings are most probably workshop copies from a larger commission of state portraits, but the resemblance is still visible.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in French costume by circle of Master of the Female Half-Lengths, ca. 1546-1547, National Museum in Warsaw.
Miniature of Barbara Radziwill by circle of Jan van Calcar, ca. 1546-1547, Czartoryski Museum (?), published in Aleksander Przeździecki's "Jagiellonki polskie" (1868).
Miniature of Bona Sforza d'Aragona by Jan van Calcar, ca. 1546, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portraits of pregnant Barbara Radziwill
In a letter of 26 November 1547, Stanisław Andrejewicz Dowojno (d. 1566) reported to king Sigismund Augustus about miscarriage of Barbara Radziwill, whom he wed secretly sometime in 1547. Having a large number of mistresses before, during and after being married, the king remained childless. At some time the parliament was willing to legitimize and acknowledge as his successor any male heir who might be born to him.
The portrait of a lady with a servant by Jan van Calcar from the collection of Prince Leon Sapieha, sold in 1904 in Paris, was said to depict pregnant Barbara Radziwill (possibly lost during World War II). It shows a woman in red dress in Italian style with emerald pendant on her chest accompanied by a midwife. The bill of a royal embroiderer, who charged the treasury for "a robe of red velvet" that he embroidered in 1549 for Queen Barbara with pearls and gold thread for 100 florins, confirms that similar dresses were in her possesion.
The portrait by Calcar is very similar in comosition to the portrait known as effigy of Sidonia von Borcke (Sidonia the Sorceress) (1548-1620) and attributed to workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder. This portrait was before World War II in the Von Borcke Palace in Starogard (destroyed), owned by a wealthy Pomeranian family of Slavic origin, along the effigy of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575) and her husband. The sitter costume is in German style and similar to costume of Sigismund Augustus' relative Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1502-1568) (as a wife of Barnim XI of Pomerania) from about 1545 or a portrait of Agnes von Hayn from 1543, both by Cranach or his workshop, hence it cannot be Sidonia, who was born in 1548.
The woman in the painting is holding a chalice, an allusion to her patron, Saint Barbara, as in a triptych by Cranach from 1506 in Dresden (the hand is almost identical). Both paintings, by Calcar and by workshop of Cranach, were undoubtedly then a part of Jagiellonian propaganda to legitimize the royal mistress as the Queen of Poland.
Portrait of pregnant Barbara Radziwill with a midwife by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1546-1547, Von Borcke Palace in Starogard, most probably destroyed during World War II.
Portrait of pregnant Barbara Radziwill with a midwife by Jan van Calcar or circle, 1546-1547, collection of Prince Leon Sapieha, sold in 1904 in Paris, possibly lost during World War II.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill by Moretto da Brescia or Jan van Calcar
The portrait of unkown lady in white by Moretto da Brescia, a painter from the Republic of Venice who may have apprenticed with Titian, can be compared with a portrait by Jan Stephan van Calcar, a pupil of Titian, from the Sapieha collection in Paris. The latter painting, most probably lost during World War II, was said to depict pregnant second wife of Sigismund Augustus, Barbara Radziwill. Both face features as well as costume style and details are very much alike. The sitter's dress in Moretto's painting is also very similar to that visible in a miniature of a lady with a pearl necklace, wich can be identified as effigy of Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Queen of Poland, from the second half of the 1540s.
The bill of a royal embroiderer of Sigismund Augustus, who charged the treasury for "a robe of white tabinet" that he embroidered in 1549 for Queen Barbara "with a wide row of goldcloth and green velvet" for 15 florins, confirms that similar dresses were in her possesion. The Queen's taylor was an Italian Francesco, who was admitted to her service in Vilnius on 2 May 1548 with annual salary of gr. 30 fl. 30. In May 1543 during entry to Kraków for coronation of Elizabeth of Austria, the lords and knights of the Kingdom were dressed in all sorts of costumes, including Italian, French and Spanish, while the young king Sigismund Augustus was dressed in German style, probably as a courtesy for Elizabeth. The inventory of dowry of Sigismund Augustus' sister Catherine Jagiellon from 1562 includes 13 French and Spanish robes.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill (1520/23-1551) in white by Moretto da Brescia or Jan van Calcar, ca. 1546-1548, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Portraits of Sigismund II Augustus by Jan van Calcar or Moretto da Brescia
Sometime in 1547, in spite of his mother's disapproval and nobility's animosity, Sigismund Augustus, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania secretly wed his mistress Barbara Radziwill, a Lithuanian noblewoman whom he met in 1543.
The portrait attributed to Jan van Calcar shows a young man (Sigismund Augustus was 26 in 1546) against ancient buildings similar to a reconstruction of the Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus in Rome published in 1575 (the king born on 1 August was named after the first Roman Emperor Gaius Octavius Augustus) and the king's castrum doloris in Rome in 1572 or obelisk visible in the portrait of royal jeweller Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio from about 1553.
The presumed author Jan van Calcar, a pupil of Titian in Venice, moved to Naples in about 1543, where he died before 1550. Sigismund's mother Bona Sforza was a granddaughter of Alfonso II, King of Naples and from 1524 she was a Duchess of nearby Bari and Rossano.
According to the accounts of Sigismund Augustus by a courtier Stanisław Wlossek from 1545 to 1548, the king had "robes lined with lynx, short Italian", robes of black velvet and stockings of "black ermestno silk", black suede shoes, etc. The register of his clothes from 1572 includes Italian, German and Persian robes valued at 5351 zlotys.
The portrait could be a pendant to a portrait of Barbara Radziwill in similar dimensions attributed to Moretto da Brescia, which could also be attributed to Calcar, just as previously the portrait of the man described here was attributed to Moretto da Brescia, and inversely.
The man is holding in his right hand a red carnation flower, a symbol of passion, love, affection and betrothal.
The same sitter is also depicted in the portrait in Vienna, signed by Calcar (. eapolis f. / Stephanus / Calcarius), and in the painting attributed to Francesco Salviati, who stayed for a brief time in Venice, in the Mint Museum.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) by Jan van Calcar or Moretto da Brescia, ca. 1546-1548, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) with gloves by Jan van Calcar, 1540s, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) with gloves, attributed to Francesco Salviati, 1540s, Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte.
Portraits of Barbara Radziwill and Sigismund Augustus by circle of Titian
In the 18th century, with the growing popularity of the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, the portrait of an unknown lady, so-called Carleton Portrait in Chatsworth House, was identified as her effigy due to great similarity with a print by Hieronymus Cock from about 1556 and history of the Chatsworth House. Numerous prints and copies of this portrait were made. Today, however, researchers reject this identification.
The style of the painting is close to the circle of Titian and Venetian portrait painting as well as composition with a chair (Savonarola chair), a window and rich fabrics, Venetian velvet and gold cloth. The costume however, a mixture of French, Italian, Spanish and German patterns from the 1540s is not typical for Venice. Also the sitter is not a typical, a bit plump "Venetian beauty".
In 1572 the royal embroiderer charged the royal treasury for dresses he embroidered for Queen Barbara in 1549 including one, the most expensive, for which he charged 100 florins: "I embroidered a robe of red velvet, bodice, sleeves and three rows at the bottom with pearls and gold". Similar puffed sleeves at the shoulders are visible in portraits of Barbara by Moretto da Brescia (Washington), Jan van Calcar (Paris, lost) and by circle of Lucas Cranach the Younger (Kraków).
In February 1548 a long battle begun to recognize Barbara as Sigismund Augustus' wife and crown her as Queen of Poland. Almost since her wedding in 1547 Barbara's health began to decline. Sigismund Augustus personally tended to his sick wife. He also possibly seek a help from the only possible ally - Edward VI of England, a boy king, who like Sigismund was crowned at the age of 10 and a son of Henry VIII, who broke with the Catholic Church to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. In 1545 to cure his first wife Elizabeth of Austria from epilepsy, Sigismund wanted to obtain a coronation ring of the English king, that supposedly was to be an effective antidote.
In 1549 arrived to London Jan Łaski (John à Lasco), a Polish Calvinist reformer, secretary of king Sigismund I and a friend of the Radziwlls (Barbara's brother converted to Calvinism in 1564) to became Superintendent of the Strangers' Church. He undoubtedly mediate with the king of England in personal affairs of Sigismund Augustus and possilby brought to England a portrait of his wife.
The octagonal tower in the portrait is very similar to the main landmark of the 16th century Vilnius, the medieval Cathedral Bell Tower, rebuilt in Renaissance style during the reign of Sigismund Augustus after 1544 (and later due to fires and invasions) and close to Barbara's residence, Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
The woman is holding two roses, white and red - "white roses became symbols of purity, red roses of redeeming blood, and both colors, together with the green of their leaves, also represented the three cardinal virtues faith, hope, and love" (after Colum Hourihane's "The Routledge Companion to Medieval Iconography", 2016, p. 459).
The portrait of a man sitting by a window with "a Northern town beyond" is very similar to other effigies of Sigismund Augustus, while the landscape behind him is almost identical with that visible in the Carleton portrait. It is almost like if the king was sitting in the same chair in the room at the Vilnius Castle beside his beloved wife.
The portrait of a general by Titian in Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel is identifed by Iryna Lavrovskaya as the effigy of influential cousin of Barbara Radziwill, Nicholas "The Black" Radziwill (Heritage, N. 2, 1993. pp. 82-84).
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill (1520/23-1551) by circle of Titian, ca. 1549, Chatsworth House.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) by circle of Titian, ca. 1547-1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Nicholas "The Black" Radziwill (1515-1565) by Titian, 1550-1552, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portraits of Barbara Radziwill by Flemish painters
The effigy, previously identified as Anne de Pisseleu, Duchesse d'Etampes (modern scholars today reject this identification), is very similar in facial features and costume style to the Carleton Portrait at Chatsworth and to the portrait of Barbara Radziwill by Moretto da Brescia in Washington. It is known only through 19th century copies, as original from about 1550 (or 1549) from the French royal collection, most probably by a Flemish painter, is considered to be lost.
Anne de Pisseleu, was a chief mistress of Francis I, king of France and a staunch Calvinist, who counseled Francis on toleration for Huguenots. Even after her deposition, following Francis' death in March 1547, she was one of the most influential and wealthy Protestants in France. It cannot be excluded, that Sigismund Augustus and the Radziwills approached her with their cause - coronation of Barbara as a queen and her recognition internationally, and that the copy of effigy of Barbara offered to her was after the French Revolution mistaken for her portrait.
Around the year of 1548 or 1549, Sigismund Augustus commissioned in the Spanish Netherlands (Flanders) the first set of new tapestries for his residences (known as Jagiellonian tapestries or Wawel Arrasses). It is highly probable that as earlier his father in 1536, he also ordered some paintings there.
Also the details of sitter's garments find its confirmation in the bill of the royal embroiderer who charged the royal treasury for garments he embroidered for Queen Barbara in 1549: "I embroidered a red velvet beret with pearls; I earned from it fl. 6".
The portrait of a lady in Spanish-like costume, said to be Anne Boleyn from the Musée Condé and created in about 1550, is astonishingly similar to the series of portraits of Sigismund Augustus' eldest unmarried sister at that time, Sophia Jagiellon. It's almost like a pendant to Sophia's portrait, the costume is very similar and the portraits were undoubtedly created in the same workshop. It's largely idealized, like some portraits of Margaret of Parma after original by Antonio Moro, nevertheless the resemblance to Barbara's appearance is strong. Through his mother, Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Barbara's husband had claims to Kingdom of Naples and Duchy of Milan, both part of the Spanish Empire.
Likewise the previous portrait, black robes are also included in the same bill of the royal embroiderer for 1549: "a robe of black teletta, I embroidered a bodice and sleeves with pearls; I earned from this robe fl. 40." or "I embroidered a robe of black velvet, two pearl rows at the bottom; I earned from it fl. 60."
The portrait of a mysterious lady from the Picker Art Gallery in Hamilton was undobtedly painted by some Netherlandish master and is very close to a bit caricatural style of Joos van Cleve and his son Cornelis (e.g. portraits of Henry VIII of England). The woman however wears an Italian costume from the 1540s, similar to portrait of a lady with a book of music from the Getty Center. The jewel on her necklace has also adequate symbolic meaning, ruby is a symbol of both royalty and love, sapphire a symbol of purity and the Kingdom of God and a pearl was a symbol of fidelity.
Aprat from resemblance to other portraits of Barbara, whose husband was very fond of Italian fashion, and her taylor was an Italian, this is another indicator that this is also her portrait.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a pearl beret, 1849 engraving after lost original by Flemish painter from about 1549, Private collection.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in a pearl beret, 19th century after lost original by Flemish painter from about 1549, Victoria and Albert Museum.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in Spanish costume by Flemish painter, ca. 1550, Musée Condé.
Portrait of Barbara Radziwill in Italian costume by Flemish painter, possibly Cornelis van Cleve, 1545-1550, Picker Art Gallery in Hamilton.
Portrait of Queen Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach the Younger
Portrait of an old woman by Lucas Cranach the Younger from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston bears strong similarity with contemporary effigies of Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland. The Queen started to wear her distinctive outfit of a widowed elder lady in about 1548, after death of Sigismund I.
As for eye color and features the comparison with portraits of Emperor Charles V, her portraits by Bernardino Licinio and her daughter, proofs that different workshops differently interprated royal effigies and as natural ultramarine (deep blue color) was an expensive pigment in the 16th century, cheaper pigments were used to make a copy (eye color).
In a letter of 31 August 1538, Bona Sforza says about two portraits of her daughter Isabella, and complain that her features in the portrait that she has are not very accurate.
Portrait of Queen Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1549, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus with a construction of a bridge in Warsaw by Tintoretto
"Sigismund Augustus built a wooden bridge over the Vistula River, 1150 feet long, which was almost unmatched in terms of both length and magnificence in the whole of Europe, causing universal admiration", states Georg Braun, in his work Theatri praecipuarum totius mundi urbium (Review of major cities around the world) published in Cologne in 1617.
In 1549, to facilitate communication with Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where Barbara resided, Sigismund Augustus decided to finance the construction of a permanent bridge in Warsaw. In 1549 he bought from Stanisław Jeżowski, a land writer from Warsaw, the hereditary privilege of transport across the Vistula River, giving him in return "two villages, a mill and a half of a second mill, 40 forest voloks and 200 florins."
The portrait of a man with a "Northern landscape" beyond showing a construction of a wooden bridge in The National Gallery of Art in Washington, created by Jacopo Tintoretto, is very similar to other effigies of Sigismund Augustus. It was purchased in 1839 in Bologna by William Buchanan.
The city of Bologna was famous for its university, architects and engineers, like Giacomo da Vignola (1507-1573), who began his career as an architect there and where in 1548 he built three locks or Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554), an outstanding architect and theoretician of architecture, born in Bologna. In 1547 Queen Bona, wanted to involve Serlio, married to her lady-in-waiting Francesca Palladia, at her court. Since Serlio had already a position in France, he offered Bona his students. In a letter to Ercole d'Este, Bona asked for a builder who could build anything and in 1549 the Queen settled in Warsaw.
From 1548 the court physician of the king was Piotr from Poznań, who received his doctorate in Bologna and in 1549, a Spaniard educated in Bologna, Pedro Ruiz de Moros (Piotr Roizjusz), became a courtier of Sigismund Augustus and a court legal advisor (iuris consultus), thanks to recommendation of his colleague from the studies in Bologna, royal secretary Marcin Kromer.
From 4 June to 24 September 1547, master carpenter Maciej, called Mathias Molendinator, with his helpers, led the construction of a wooden bridge on brick supports covered with a shingle roof, which led through Vilnia River in Vilnius from the royal palace to the royal stables.
It is uncertain if the construction was actually started in 1549 or the portrait was only one of a series of materials intended for propaganda purposes, confirming the creativity and innovation of the Jagiellonian state. It is possible that due to the problems to find a suitable engeneer to help with the costruction of the largest bridge of the 16th century Europe, that the project was postponed. Only after 19 years, on 25 June 1568, ten years after the start of the regular Polish post (Kraków - Venice), the tapping of the first pile was initiated. The bridge was opened to public on 5 April 1573, a few months after the death of its founder, accomplished by his sister Anna Jagiellon, who also built the Bridge Tower in 1582 to protect the construction.
The 500 meters long bridge was the first permanent crossing over the Vistula River in Warsaw, the longest wooden crossing in Europe at that time and a technical novelty. It was made of oak wood and iron and equipped with a suspension system. The bridge was costructed by "Erasmus Cziotko, fabrikator pontis Varszoviensis" (Erazm z Zakroczymia), who according to some researchers was an Italian and his real name was Giotto, a surname carried by a family of Florentine builders.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus with a construction of a bridge in Warsaw by Tintoretto, ca. 1549, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus by Tintoretto or workshop, 1540s, Private collection.
Portraits of Sigismund Augustus in armour and in a black hat by Tintoretto
In the beginnig of 1549 Barbara Radziwill arrived from Vilnius via royal Radom (September 1548) to Nowy Korczyn near Kraków for her coronation and ceremonial entry into the city as the new queen. Eight times a year, large grain fairs were held in the city of Nowy Korczyn. The grain purchased there was floated down the Vistula to Gdańsk in large barges, similar to galleys, as visible in the View of Warsaw from about 1625. The lords of the Kingdom arrived to greet Barbara in Korczyn and on 12 February 1549 she embarked on a journey to the capital.
The river journey from or to Korczyn would be the easiest, however the sources does not confirm it. The accounts from 1535 inform nevertheless about boats owned by Sigismund I and his son Sigismund Augustus. The statue on the ship, visible in the painting, is clearly Saint Chrisopher a patron saint of travelers, hence it is not likely a battleship.
The effigy is in Vienna and Austrian Habsburgs were Sigismund Augustus' relatives through Anna Jagellonica, two of his wives were her daughters and portraits were often commissioned to be sent to distant relatives.
The portrait which could be dated to 1550, although idealized, bears a resemblance to other effigies of the king by Tintoretto and has an inscription ANOR XXX (year 30) on the base of the column. Sigismund Augustus reached his 30th year of age on 1 August 1550 and his beloved wife was crowned on 7 December 1550.
Finally his mother was described as a lovely light blonde, "when (oddly enough) her eyelashes and eyebrows are completely black", so was the anomaly in hair color inherited from her?
The same sitter was also depicted wearing a black hat in a portrait from private collection by Tintoretto and a workshop copy of it in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) with a royal galley by Tintoretto, ca. 1550, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) in armour by circle of Tintoretto, ca. 1550, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus in a black hat by Tintoretto, 1545-1550, Private collection.
Sigismund Augustus and Barbara Radziwill as Jupiter and Io by Paris Bordone
In Ovid's "Metamorphoses" Jupiter, King of the Gods noticed Io, a mortal woman and a priestess of his wife Juno, Queen of the Gods. He lusted after her and seduced her. The painting by Paris Bordone in Gothenburg shows the moment when the god discovers that his jealous wife is approaching and he raises his green cloak to hide his mistress. The myth fits perfectly the story of romance of Sigismund Augustus and his mistress Barbara Radziwill, a Lithuanian noblewoman whom he met in 1543, when he was married to Elizabeth of Austria (1526-1545), and whom he secretly married despite the disapproval of his mother, the powerful Queen Bona.
According to Vasari, Bordone created two versions of the composition. One for Cardinal Jean de Lorraine (1498-1550) in 1538, when he went to the court of Francis I of France at Fontainebleau, and the other "Jupiter and a nymph" for the King of Poland. Researchers pointed out that stylistically the canvas should be dated to the 1550s, therefore it cannot be the painting created for Cardinal de Lorraine.
The painting was allegedly brought to Sweden by Louis Masreliez (1748-1810), a French painter, hence it cannot be excluded that it was taken to France by John Casimir Vasa, great-grandson of Bona, after his abdiction in 1668, that Masreliez acquired in Italy a copy of painting prepared for the Polish king, possibly a modello or a ricordo, or that it was captured by the Swedish army during the Deluge (1655-1660) and purchased by Masreliez in Sweden.
The effigy of Io is not so "statuesque" as other effigies of the goddesses by Bordone, could be a courtesan, but could also be the royal mistress and can be compared with effigies of Barbara, while Jupiter with these of Sigismund Augustus. The painting should be then considered as a part of Jagiellonian propaganda to legitimize the royal mistress as the Queen of Poland.
Sigismund Augustus and Barbara Radziwill as Jupiter and Io by Paris Bordone, 1550s, Gothenburg Museum of Art.
Sigismund Augustus in guise of Christ as The Light of the World by Paris Bordone
The particluar taste of queen Bona for paintings in guise of the Virgin Mary and her son as Jesus, biblical figures and saints is confirmed by her effigies by Francesco Bissolo and Lucas Cranach. Such portraits were popular throughout Europe since the Middle Ages.
Examples include the effigy of Agnès Sorel, mistress of King Charles VII of France, as Madonna Lactans by Jean Fouquet from the 1450s, Giulia Farnese, mistress of Pope Alexander VI as the Virgin Mary ("la signora Giulia Farnese nel volto d'una Nostra Donna" according to Vasari) and his daughter Lucrezia Borgia as Saint Catherine by Pinturicchio from the 1490s, Mary of Burgundy in the guise of Mary Magdalene created in about 1500, Francis I of France as Saint John the Baptist by Jean Clouet from about 1518, Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal as Saint Catherine by Domingo Carvalho from about 1530, Albrecht Dürer's self-portraits as the Saviour or Leonardo's Salvator Mundi, possibly a self-portrait or effigies of his lover Salaì as Saint John the Baptist and numerous other.
Marble tondos decorating Sigismund's Chapel at the Wawel Cathedral, created by Bartolommeo Berrecci between 1519-1533 as a funerary chapel for the last members of the Jagiellonian Dynasty, shows king Sigismund I the Old as biblical king Solomon and king David (or his banker Jan Boner).
The print published in Nicolas Gueudeville's "Le grand theatre historique, ou nouvelle histoire universelle" in Leiden in 1703, after original drawing from 1548, depict king Sigismund I the Old on his deathbed giving a blessing to his sucessor Sigismund Augustus having long hair.
In February 1556, Bona departed Poland to her native Italy trough Venice with treasures she had accumulated over 38 years loaded on 12 wagons, drawn by six horses. She udoubtedly took with her some religious paintings, portraits of members of the royal family and of her beloved son Augustus. She settled in Bari near Naples, inherited from her mother, where she arrived on 13 May 1556.
Bona died just one year later on 19 November 1557, at the age of 63. She was poisoned by her courtier Gian Lorenzo Pappacoda, who falsified her last will and stole her treasures.
The paining showing Christ as The Light of the World in the the National Gallery in London (a copy in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo) bears a strong resemblance to known effigies of Sigismund Augustus. It was given to the National Gallery in 1901 by the heirs of the surgeon, who in turn was offered the painting by a member of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, formed when the Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples in 1816, in thanks for his kindness to a Sicilian lady in 1819.
According to museum description "paintings of this type were kept in houses, especially in bedrooms", so has Bona had it at her deathbed in Bari?
Sigismund Augustus in guise of Christ as The Light of the World by Paris Bordone, 1548-1550, National Gallery, London.
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