Portrait of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa by Giovanni Antonio Galli
After World War II, which was the culmination of horrific invasions and partitions of Poland by its neighbors, very few effigies of Polish-Lithuanian Vasas were preserved in the former territories of the Commonwealth. What is very meaningful is that many of them were acquired abroad in the 19th century by aristocrats wishing to preserve the memory of the most tolerant country in Renaissance Europe. One of these paintings is a full-length portrait of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, future King Ladislaus IV, painted by an Italian painter during his peregrination in the Italian peninsula in 1624-1625, now at Kórnik Castle near Poznań (oil on canvas, 234 x 116 cm, inventory number MK 03369).
It was purchased in 1850 in Paris by Count Tytus Działyński (1796-1861). According to the inscription at the bottom, the effigy was commissioned by the Gundulić family (known in Italian as Gondola), patricians from Dubrovnik (Republic of Ragusa), who settled in Ancona in the Papal States. It was intended as a souvenir of the prince's stay at their house on December 13 and 14, 1624. Ivan Gundulič (1589-1638), a relative of the hosts, an outstanding Croatian poet and patrician from Dubrovnik, probably met the Polish-Lithuanian prince there and dedicated the poem "Osman" to him. He was probably also the author of the inscription on the portrait (VLADISLAO SIGISMUNDI POLONORum REGIS FILIO / SCYTHAR, TVRCARVMQ: TIVMPHATORI INVICTo / GVNDVLA FAMILIA HOSPITI SVO / VT CVIVS HVMANSmam MAEST SEVELIN HIS ÆDIBVs ASPEXIt / SEMPER IN IMAGINE SVSPICIAT.). In the 19th century, the image hung in Casa Gunduli in Ancona (after "„Królewska” galeria obrazów ..." by Barbara Dolczewska, p. 250).
The balding prince, who later frequently wore wigs, was depicted in a fashionable black Spanish-Italian costume with the Order of the Golden Fleece hanging on his chest and a rapier at his side. During his peregrination, Ladislaus Sigismund was considered a connoisseur, which is confirmed by the fact that Duke William V of Bavaria asked the prince to evaluate the copy of the painting of Saint Veronica, made according to the Roman original. Already in 1612, Queen Constance praised her stepson's artistic interests in a letter to Duke William. Ladislaus Sigismund's letter of September 18, 1624, sent from Brussels to Urszula Meyerin, and indirectly to his father, contains an important mention of his collector's awareness: "I bought several original paintings. There are many real masterpieces [capolavori] here". In Milan he admired the "crystal crafts". He probably visited van Dyck's studio in Genoa and looked at the paintings in the local Neri palace and the frescoes by Agostino Carracci in the summer palace in Parma. He admired the works of Domenico Ghirlandaio in Florence and visited Guido Reni's studio in Bologna (after "Świat polskich Wazów: eseje", p. 311-312).
The prince's aunt, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, in a conversation with the Mantua envoy, Ferrante Agnelli Soardo, said that he "likes to be well received, appreciates music, likes paintings" (according to a letter of Soardo to Ferdinand I Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, Florence, February 4, 1625). In a letter sent on February 26, 1625 from Bologna, Ladislaus Sigismund mentions hiring a "good organist" (possibly Angelo Simonelli) and a "eunuch" (possibly famous castrato Baldassare Ferri) into the royal service, also expressing hope for employing a skilled alto player. In Naples, he could admire the representative attire of the viceroy Antonio Álvarez de Toledo y Beaumont, 5th Duke of Alba, who had "a diamond jewel on him and a cynturyn [belt - cinturón, citrine?] in his hat, which was estimated at several hundred thousand" and that at the age of seventy (septuagenario) he dyed his hair and beard (after "Obraz dworów Europejskich ..." by Stefan Pac, p. 134). In the late afternoon of January 12, 1625, he listened to "Adriana [Basile-Baroni] singing with her son and daughters".
In Venice, which in his opinion "is probably the truest wonder of the world" (letter to Urszula Meyerin, March 5, 1625), he visited the house of a merchant selling diamonds. On March 7, he went to Murano "to listen to a nun who was famous here for her wonderful voice". Two days later he appeared incognito "at the Council of Venice" and on March 20, 1625, from Palmanova, the prince sent a letter of thanks to the Republic of Venice for a lavish reception.
He brought numerous gifts to the country - sculptures, caskets, jewels and "paintings by old, famous masters", received from the Duke of Mantua, Carlo Magalotti, Cardinal Francesco Barberini and a painting in a precious frame from Pope Urban VIII. He also made numerous purchases and, like in Venice, they were exempt from customs duties and additional fees (after "Listy Władysława Wazy ..." by Jacek Żukowski, p. 63, 66, 71, 73, 76, 78).
Italians also received many gifts and effigies of the prince and members of the royal family. In the Durazzo-Pallavicini Palace in Genoa there is a good workshop copy of Ladislaus Sigismund's portrait by Rubens. Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte (1549-1627), patron of Caravaggio, had in his Roman Palazzo Madama "a portrait of the Prince, son of the King of Poland in a black frame" (un ritratto del Principe figlio del Re di Polonia con cornice nere) and Cardinal Francesco Peretti di Montalto (1597-1655), had in 1655 "a painting with a portrait of the Prince of Bologna [Poland] in Polish dress, holding a jewel [most likely bulava mace] in his hand" (quadro uno con ritratto del Principe di Bologna [Polonia] in habito Polacco, che tiene in mano un gioielo). These were probably copies of portrait of Ladislaus Sigismund in Polish costume by Rubens, as the Flemish painter most likely created two versions of his effigy, one commissioned by the Infanta "with a hat on his head" (con el sombrero en la caveza), and the other - alla polacca, i.e. in Polish costume. Two such copies, identified by me in 2012, were offered to the Medicis (Pitti Palace in Florence, Inv. 1890, 5178 and 5673). They were believed to be images of King Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki, and one of them even has an inscription in Italian: MICHELE VIESNOVISKI RE DI / POLONIA.
While Poles often preferred Italian, French, or Flemish fashion, foreign aristocrats wanted Polish-style clothing. The Grand Duchess of Tuscany received such outfits from her sister Queen Constance of Austria in 1622. In 1631, Archduke Leopold V (1586-1632) also wanted Polish clothes for his three-year-old son Ferdinand Charles (1628-1662), which were made and sent by the queen. Leopold liked the clothes and wanted to pay for them, but Constance said that a portrait of "young dear Pollack" (deß jungen lieben Pollacken conterfet) would be sufficient (according to Urszula Meyerin's letter to the Archduke, April 4, 1631).
The portraits of the young Dukes of Tuscany in Polish clothing existed in several versions and copies, some of which were undoubtedly also sent to Poland-Lithuania. This is why the portrait of a prince, made in a style close to Justus Sustermans and resembling the effigies of the sons of Ladislaus Sigismund's aunt, Maria Magdalena of Austria, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, is considered the effigy of one of Ladislaus Sigismond's brothers (Academy of Saint Luke in Rome, inventory number 298).
The effigy of the young Vasa in his sumptuous costume was undoubtedly also created in several copies for the prince, his family and his friends. Unfortunately, this is the only version known to date, which also indicates the extent of the destruction of art in Poland. Similar to other exquisite effigies created during his journey, this one is also finely painted. The closest is the Penitent Mary Magdalene from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (37.651), dated circa 1625-1635. This canvas is attributed to a painter active in Rome Giovanni Antonio Galli, called lo Spadarino (1585-1652), member of the Caravaggisti (followers of Caravaggio). Another work painted in the same way can be found in Ancona, where the portrait of the prince was initially kept. It is also attributed to Spadarino and shows a full-length effigy of Saint Thomas of Villanova giving alms. The painting, now at the Pinacoteca Civica di Ancona (oil on canvas, 192 x 112 cm, inv. 51), is dated to about 1618-1620 (in 1618 the Spanish saint was beatified by Pope Paul V). It comes from the sacristy of the medieval Sant'Agostino church in Ancona, mentioned by Marcello Oretti, who visited Ancona in 1777. Two pendant effigies of Ladislaus and his second wife Marie Louise Gonzaga, created in the style of Spadarino or his workshop, were sold in Rome in 2022.
No signed portraits by Spadarino are known, so perhaps all were destroyed in Poland-Lithuania or are awaiting discovery.
Portrait of Crown Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa (1595-1648) in Spanish-Italian costume by Giovanni Antonio Galli, called lo Spadarino, ca. 1624-1625, Kórnik Castle.
Portrait of Archduchess Cecilia Renata of Austria by Justus Sustermans
"It was reported here that the Polish prince had left the kingdom to marry the daughter of the emperor [Ferdinand II] or the king of Spain [Philip III], which caused great suspicions in the [Turkish] empire", wrote the English ambassador in Istanbul in a letter to London about the journey of Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa between 1624-1625. He also added that Queen Constance of Austria, his stepmother, tried to create a faction supporting her oldest son of John Casimir Vasa in his bid for the throne. English ambassador in distant Istanbul had good informants, because at the meeting of the Consejo de Estado in Madrid on November 1624, the letter of Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, written in Brussels, was discussed. The Infanta asked King Philip IV for permission to marry the Polish prince with infanta Maria Anna of Spain (1606-1646), the king's sister and cousin of Ladislaus Sigismund as the daughter of his mother's sister. One of the participants of this council commented as follows: "Marriage with a Polish prince is very good, but with a German prince it is more advantageous". Concerning the marriage with the emperor's daughters, there was the lack of consent of Pope Urban VIII to a possible dispensation for the marriage of the prince with a close relative Archduchess Maria Anna (1610-1665) or Cecilia Renata (1611-1644), who eventually became his first wife (after "Świat polskich Wazów: eseje", p. 48, 280-281, 311).
In order to prove to his son that the daughters of his uncle Emperor Ferdinand II were not affected by disabilities, unlike their mother Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616), Sigismund III Vasa had them specially portrayed, as reported Bishop Giovanni Battista Lancellotti, papal nuncio in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in a letter dated March 17, 1627 to Cardinal Francesco Barberini (Scuoprì meco di nuovo SM l'intento suo desiderio d'accasarlo con una delle figliuole dell'imperadore per altro aborrite da SA asserendo ella questa esser derivata in quelle da certa natural indispositione della loro madre e mi disse SM d'haverne fatto venir qua i ritratti per certezza del contrario) (after "Das Leben am Hof ..." by Walter Leitsch, p. 2378). It is not known whether these effigies were good or faithful, perhaps as in the case of the portraits of Sigismund's aunt Anna Jagiellon or his two wives they were nude paintings, however, later in a letter written in Warsaw on October 31, 1644, Ladislaus requested from Cardinal Mazarini reliable portraits of candidates for his second wife.
During his stay in Vienna on June 23, 1624, the prince had the opportunity to meet the emperor's two daughters. He also admired the emperor's artistic collections, including "a set of portraits of many emperors and other notable figures of the House of Austria". In Salzburg he saw "various paintings", in Munich the Antiquarium and in Augsburg the paintings of the Fugger family. Philipp Hainhofer, connoisseur and art agent from Augsburg, recounts in his diary that the prince gave him "unusual trinket made of yellow amber". In Nuremberg, Ladislas Sigismund admired "the famous paintings by Dürer" and the ceiling paintings by Rubens.
In the 1620s, two daughters of Emperor Ferdinand II were frequently depicted and their effigies were sent to various friendly courts in Europe, including that of Poland-Lithuania (all probably destroyed or lost during the wars). Most of them are close in style to the works of the Flemish painter Justus Sustermans, court painter of the Medici family, who between 1623 and 1624 worked in Vienna on commission from the emperor. In a painting from the Esterházy collection at Forchtenstein Castle, probably made by the Sustermans workshop, Maria Anna and Cecilia Renata are depicted together. The two sisters kneel together behind their mother Maria Anna of Bavaria and their stepmother Eleonora Gonzaga (1598-1655) in a votive painting of Emperor Ferdinand II by Matthias Mayer, painted in 1631 for St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. A few years later, around 1640, a painter close to Frans Luycx created similar effigies of the imperial family kneeling before Virgin in the Dominican church in Vienna, when Cecilia Renata, was already queen of Poland and her sister Maria Anna, electress of Bavaria (their likenesses were inspired by other portraits sent to Vienna).
Among the portraits of Maria Anna made by Sustermans and his studio is a painting from Neuburg Castle (Alte Pinakothek in Munich, inventory number 2792). This is a copy of a painting from the Medici collection, now kept at the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi (inv. 1890 / 4275), which is considered to represent Princess Eleonora de' Medici (1591-1617), daughter of Ferdinando I de' Medici, as well as another similar portrait of Maria Anna's sister Cecilia Renata in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (inv. 1890/2297), however, both are "clearly identified as Emperor Ferdinand's daughters in the 1624 inventory of the Villa del Poggio Imperiale and as Emperor Ferdinand's sisters in the 1654-1655 inventory" (after "The Grand Duke's Portraitist ..." by Lisa Goldenberg Stoppato, p. 35). A copy of the mentioned effigy of Cecilia Renata from the Uffizi (inv. 1890 / 2297), is also in Munich (inv. 6958), but the model's face is damaged. It is believed to represent Archduchess Margaret of Austria and also comes from Neuburg Castle.
The two archduchesses were also depicted in two similar portraits from the Wallenstein gallery, today at Hrádek u Nechanic Castle (after "The Wallenstein portrait gallery in the Cheb Museum", p. 71). In these effigies, Maria Anna (inv. 3318 / 3802) and Cecilia Renata (inv. 3320 / 3804) look very similar and wear identical Spanish costumes. One of them was also represented in a painting at the Royal Castle of Racconigi, which was the official residence of the Carignano line of the House of Savoy, attributed to the Flemish painter (oil on canvas, 64 x 49 cm, R 5576). The woman was formerly identified as Princess of the House of Savoy and now as Margaret of Austria (1584-1611), Queen of Spain and Portugal. Her face more closely resembles the effigy of Cecilia Renata from the Uffizi (inv. 1890 / 2297) and Hrádek u Nechanic (inv. 3320 / 3804). A very similar effigy of the Queen of Poland was reproduced in an anonymous etching made before 1700 (Leipzig University Library, 8/61) with an inscription in German: Cecilia Renata ErtzHerzogin zu Osterreich / Uladislas Königs in Pohlen Gemahlin.
Comparison with later effigies of the two sisters - portraits of Maria Anna, Electress of Bavaria by the circle of Joachim von Sandrart, created around 1643, from Dachau Castle (Alte Pinakothek in Munich, 3093) and from the Medici collection, identified by me (Pitti Palace in Florence, inv. 1890 / 5261) and Cecilia Renata by Peter Danckerts de Rij also painted in 1643, at Gripsholm Castle, most likely looted during the Deluge (signed: Peter. Danckers fecit A:o 1643, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, NMGrh 299) and reduced version from the Marble Room at the Royal Castle in Warsaw (State Historical Museum in Moscow, И I 5922 / 74493), indicates that it is a portrait of the future Queen of Poland because the electress has a pointed nose.
The style of this painting is particularly close to the portraits of Cecilia Renata's relatives at the Pitti Palace in Florence - her father Emperor Ferdinand II (Palatina 209), her stepmother Eleonora Gonzaga (Palatina 203) and her uncle Archduke Charles of Austria (1590-1624), prince-bishop of Wrocław as Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights (Palatina 293). All these paintings were made by Justus Sustermans around 1623. Since this effigy is a version of a portrait at Hrádek u Nechanic, showing her around 1626-1627, it could be made on the occasion of the preparation of the likenesses for Sigismund III. The color of the dresses of the two archduchesses (white and red, used as the national colors of Poland-Lithuania in the so-called "Stockholm Roll" from about 1605, Royal Castle in Warsaw, ZKW/1528/1-39) in paintings in Hrádek u Nechanic and in a portrait in Racconigi could also indicate that one of them was considered a future queen of Poland in 1627.
Portrait of Archduchess Cecilia Renata of Austria (1611-1644), future Queen of Poland by Justus Sustermans, ca. 1626-1627, Royal Castle of Racconigi.
Portrait of Archduke Charles of Austria (1590-1624), Prince-Bishop of Wrocław by Justus Sustermans, ca. 1623, Pitti Palace in Florence.
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).
Some members of the Lubomirski family also owned paintings by Rembrandt or his circle. Before 1790 in the collection of Count Lubomirski in Lviv there was a Portrait of a young man (oil on canvas 71 x 59.7 cm), attributed to Barent Fabritius and later to Samuel van Hoogstraten (after "Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years ..." by Jay Richard Judson, Egbert Haverkamp Begemann, p. 74). The catalog of paintings from the collection of Countess Eleonora Teresa Jadwiga Lubomirska née Husarzewska (1866-1940), exhibited in Lviv in 1909 ("Katalog ilustrowany wystawy mistrzów dawnych ..." by Mieczysław Treter, item 52, p. 18), is the oldest surely documented provenance of the painting by Rembrandt or follower, today kept at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2023.4). According to the catalog, the painting was signed and dated lower left: f. R. H. 1628 (year not visible today). It is considered one of the earliest of his self-portraits. The painting was probably evacuated from Poland during World War II (1939-1945) by its owners. The Countess also owned "Hagar's exile in the wilderness" by School of Rembrandt (oil on canvas, 75 x 52 cm, item 56, p. 19).
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 (oil on canvas, 205.7 x 130.8 cm, 1962.18), depict a man in rich princely costume. His heavily embroidered velvet tunic, pose and oriental sabre are very similar to effigy of King Ladislaus IV Vasa from "Het Groot Balet" (Caricature of the peace negotiations after Battle of Lützen) in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, anonymous print created after 1632. Very similar leather shoes in Polish style, together with velvet arrow case and quiver were offered by John II Casimir Vasa, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to five year old king of Sweden Charles XI in about 1660. They are also visible in famous Polish Rider (Lisowczyk) by Rembrandt or his circle, which most probably depict Marcjan Aleksander Ogiński (1632-1690), colonel of the Polish-Lithuanian light cavalry. The latter painting, today in the Frick Collection in New York City, comes from the Polish royal collection (acquired in 1791 by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski). Ogiński was portraited by Bol at the time of his studies in the Netherlands. This effigy bearing the inscription MO / STR (bottom right), identified as "Marcjan Ogiński / Starost of Trakai", and showing him in a fur hat is in a private collection (after "O amerykańskich polonikach Rembrandta ..." by Zdzisław Żygulski, p. 49).
Bol, who was the same age as Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, both born in 1616, was brought as a child to Amsterdam. He must have entered Rembrandt's studio at an early age, probably when he was about sixteen (after Emile Michel "Rembrandt, His Life, His Work and His Time", Volume 1, p. 244). Described portrait is dated to about 1635-1640, therefore most probably when Lubomirski was no longer in the Netherlands, however, this does not exclude the possibility that it was made on the basis of drawings created earlier in the artist's atelier or sent from Poland. Jerzy Sebastian's oriental style sabre and horse tack are today in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
The same man was depicted in two paintings by Rembrandt or his circle. One entitled Young man with a plumed hat, today in the Toledo Museum of Art (oil on panel, 81.3 x 66 cm, 1926.64), 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 (oil on canvas, 118.1 x 96.5 cm, GL.60.17.68), 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 Anna Kiszczanka by Rembrandt and Giacinto Campana
"May I have, honorable lady, according to your dignity, / A golden gift for your name day / And foreign countries subtle works" (Żebym miał, zacna pani, według twej godności / Na twoje imieniny upominek złoty / I krajów cudzoziemskich subtelne roboty), expressed his wishes on St. Anne's Day in 1633 in a poem dedicated to Anna Kiszczanka (1593-1644), Princess Radziwill, court poet Daniel Naborowski (after "Anna Kiszczanka Radziwiłłowa ..." by Mariola Jarczykowa, p. 95-97, 102-103).
It was written in a gloomy atmosphere of war with Moscow, when during the royal election after the death of Sigismund III Vasa, the Russian army, supported by Sweden, attacked the eastern border and besieged Smolensk. Naborowski praised Princess Anna's piety, which was confirmed in a letter from the Calvinist minister Baltazar Krośniewicz from Birzai (August 29, 1617). In 1631, with her husband Christopher Radziwill (1585-1640), she founded "a large brick church in the square of Kedainiai" and a Calvinist school. Moreover, they founded "a second brick church and a cemetery for evangelical funerals on the mountain near our manor house, on the square they call Januszów. There, in Januszów, we are building a hospital for the poor, the elderly, the infirm, the disabled and the sick" (after "Upamiętnienie Radziwiłłów ..." by Aliaksandr Prudnikau, p. 92-93).
Kiszczanka's strong anti-Catholic sentiment best illustrates the document of June 8, 1644. This is an extract from the tribunal files containing the protest of Mikołaj Karol Białozor, the parish priest of Kedainiai, against Anna, for not allowing the Corpus Christi procession in Kedainiai. She arrived in town on the eve of the celebration, i.e. on May 25, 1644, and imposed penalties on all those who would go in the procession the next day. On the holiday itself, she ordered the bridge to be blocked, which prevented the procession from passing (after "Katolikom nabożeństwa zabroniła ...", Habemus Documentum, AGAD 1/354/0/10/707).
Anna was the daughter of Stanislaus Kiszka and Elizabeth Sapieha and the heiress to huge estates, including Kedainiai. She married Christopher in 1606, when she was only 13 years old. Of their six children, two survived to adulthood, Janusz (1612-1655) and Catherine (1614-1674).
Her son, Janusz, graduated from the Calvinist gymnasium in Slutsk and went to study abroad at the age of 16. He continued his studies in Leipzig, Altdorf and Leiden. In 1632, as Commonwealth ambassador, he visited France and England. A year later, in 1633, after having hired 1,000 infantrymen and 200 dragoons in the Netherlands, he returned to Poland-Lithuania and participated in the Smolensk war. In the summer of 1628, Boguslaus Radziwill (1620-1669), who lived in Germany with his mother, after her second marriage was entrusted to the care of his uncle and aunt and moved to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Boguslaus was educated, like earlier Janusz, by Protestant pastor Paweł Demitrowicz, who had previously been the rector of Calvinist schools in Vilnius and Slutsk. Shortly after becoming a courtier of King Ladislaus IV Vasa, he also went to study in the Netherlands in 1637, like his cousin Janusz. Among the best painted effigies of the two cousins are portraits created by Dutch painters - the portrait of Janusz by David Bailly (1584-1657), painted around 1632 in Leiden (National Museum in Wrocław, VIII-578) and the portrait of Boguslaus, attributed to Willem van Honthorst (1594-1666), painted around 1665 as his costume indicates (private collection), perhaps on the occasion of his marriage to his Catholic relative Anna Maria Radziwill (1640-1667).
Due to connections of the Protestant branch of the Radziwill family in Europe, in 1633, during the Smolensk war, the bedridden Prince John Casimir Vasa proposed to marry Anna's daughter Catherine. Her father, however, undoubtedly involved in the two Protestant unions desired by the king - John Casimir was to marry Queen Christina of Sweden and Ladislaus wanted to marry her mother Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, politely refused. Catherine Radziwill lived with her sick mother - Princess Anna wrote to her husband from Birzai on October 9, 1628 that she had ulcers on her left ear. She drank thermal water and finally went to recover in 1632 in Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, according to a letter from Dolatycze near Novogrudok to Janusz, dated July 9. In Kapyl, on the advice of doctors, the princess "took steam in the bathtub" (after "Zdrowie Władysława IV" by Rumbold z Połocka, p. 171-172).
To commemorate their son and his cousin Anna and Christopher founded two towns named after them - Januszpol near Kedainiai and Bogusławpol near Minsk, which were to become important craft and trade centers. Due to the decline of the Protestant lineage of the Radziwill family after the Deluge, Januszpol and Bogusławpol lost their names. On August 17, 1643, the widow Anna Kiszczanka issued the privilege for Januszpol, also known as Januszów and Janopol, confirming that the majority of its inhabitants were foreigners, invited to settle in the new town by her husband. According to the document, "I was greeted by the famous inhabitants of my town, Januszów, people of foreign nations, recruited by various letters of his majesty the prince, voivode of Vilnius, grand hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, my husband". Responding to the request of the people of Januszpol, Anna ordered her governor of Kedainiai, Andrzej Przystanowski, sword-bearer of Samogitia, to measure the squares and distribute them to people "coming from foreign nations". The new residents were freed for 10 years from all monetary and customs charges to the princely treasury. The settlers of Januszpol and Kedainiai were mostly evangelical refugees from Scotland, England, the Netherlands and Germany. In a letter dated January 12, 1612 from Hamburg, Daniel Naborowski informed his patron Christopher Radziwill about the recruitment of Englishmen in the Netherlands (after "Korespondencja i literatura okolicznościowa ..." by Mariola Jarczykowa, p. 114). The architecture of Kedainiai before 1655, as shown in virtual reconstructions created for the Kedainiai Museum, resembles towns in the Netherlands, England and Germany more than towns founded by Catholic patrons, such as Zamość settled with Italians, Armenians, Jews and Greeks.
The register of Anna Kiszczanka's expenses from 1641 for her estate in Zabłudów near Białystok indicates that most of her expenses went for personal purposes, food, renovation of manor rooms and the purchase of luxury goods, most of which were imported goods purchased in Gdańsk and Toruń. Expenses related to charitable or educational activities constituted a margin of income from Zabłudów estates (after "Rozchody i wydatki księżnej Anny Kiszczanki" by Antoni Mironowicz, p. 274).
No painted effigy of Princess Anna is known, but there must have been many, probably by Dutch painters or by a royal court painter. Inventory of paintings from the collection of Anna's great-granddaughter (Boguslaus' daughter and Janusz's granddaughter) Louise Charlotte Radziwill (1667-1695), drawn up in 1671, lists two effigies of Anna Kiszczanka - item 78/8 and 106/5 (after "Inwentarz galerii obrazów Radziwiłłów z XVII w." by Teresa Sulerzyska). The painters are not mentioned, but this collection undoubtedly included the paintings of the best European Old Masters. Some titles indicate that some of the paintings were created in the Netherlands, such as "A young Dutch woman" (314/23), "A Dutchman with a glass and a pipe" (337/13), "A Dutchman plays an instrument and laughs" (343/19), "A Dutchman plays the viol and sings" (345/21), "A Dutchman plays the pipe" (346/22), "Dutch art, drinking peasants" (429/17), "A Dutch painting" (446/6), "A Dutchman courtes a lady and she takes money from his pouch" (492/12), "A Dutch lady with a watering can" (696/9), "A Dutch lady is reading a book and a watering can is next to her" (730/43) and trompe-l'œil painting "A Dutchman painted on panel but on canvas" (797/13). Alongside portraits of Polish-Lithuanian monarchs, monarchs of France, electors of Brandenburg and Saxony, foreign and Polish-Lithuanian nobles like Leszczyński or Lubomirski, the inventory includes numerous effigies of members of the Radziwill family from both branches Catholic (Nesvizh-Olyka) and Calvinist (Birzai-Dubingiai).
An effigy created around the time of Anna Kiszczanka's lifetime is confirmed. This is a drawing kept in the Hermitage Museum (ОР-45863), a study for an engraving from a series of effigies of family members (possibly created between 1646 and 1653). It is inscribed in Polish: Anna Kiszczanka Żona and shows her in a rich 1620s Spanish-style saya and a typical Polish-Lithuanian fur hat and coat. The series was probably not printed because of the Deluge, which also significantly affected and impoverished the Radziwill family. We can assume that the studies were created to be sent to a renowned engraver in Gdańsk, such as the Dutch Willem Hondius, or the Netherlands.
This effigy (or very similar) was published more than a century later, in 1758, in the cycle Icones familiæ ducalis Radivilianæ, where Anna's face was slightly modified. The same goes for the image of Anna's son Janusz, which may have been modeled on his portrait by Daniel Schultz, now housed in the National Art Museum of Belarus.
During the Deluge (1655-1660), invaders plundered almost everything that the inhabitants could not evacuate or protect in some way. Over the following centuries, the Radziwills had to evacuate their collections several times. Such activities as well as post-war chaos contributed to incorrect identifications of models in preserved effigies, which is why there are obvious errors in Icones familiæ ducalis Radivilianæ, such as the portrait of Anna Kiszczyna née Radziwill (1525-1600) in which the model resembles effigies from the end of the 17th century or early 18th century and not from the 16th century or another Anna Kiszczanka, who according to the inscription lived in the first quarter of the 16th century (born in 1513 and died in 1533) and the effigy depicts a lady in costume similar to the mentioned effigy of a wife of Christopher Radziwill, thus created in the first quarter of the 17th century.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there is a portrait of a woman by Rembrandt, which comes from the Radziwill collection in their Nesvizh Castle (oil on wood, 67.9 x 50.2 cm, inventory number 14.40.625). Later in the collection of Cyprian Lachnicki (1824-1906) in Warsaw, the painting was sold in Paris on June 15, 1867 ("Catalogue de la collection de tableaux de M. Lachnicki", Hôtel Drouot, no. 24). In the Paris sale, it appeared after the portrait of Rembrandt, now at the National Museum in Warsaw (M.Ob.296, earlier 734).
The work was signed and dated by the painter (lower left): Rembrandt f· / 1633·, although it is also considered the work of Rembrandt (face) and his collaborators (costume). The sitter's costume is typical of Dutch fashion of this era and can be seen in many portraits by different painters. Rembrandt's portrait of Aechje Claesdr. in the National Gallery in London (NG775) is very similar, both in terms of composition and the sitter's attire. Aechje was the widow of Rotterdam brewer Jan Pesser and one of the leading figures in the Remonstrant community of Rotterdam. The Remonstrants were Protestant, but their beliefs were slightly different from the Calvinist orthodoxy that dominated religion in Holland at the time. This painting was also signed and dated (Rembrandt.ft / 1634) and also indicates her age (Æ. SVE. 83).
An effigy similar to that in New York was also reproduced in the Icones familiæ ducalis Radivilianæ. The woman's ruff indicates that it was painted around the same time as Rembrandt's painting, but according to the inscription it shows Anna Fiedkonis née Radziwill (d. 1492). What is very interesting is that in Lithuania a copy of Nesvizh's painting has been preserved, today at the National Museum of Art in Vilnius (oil on canvas, 72 x 51 cm, LNDM T 4153). It was obviously painted by another painter, so it is not associated with Rembrandt but, mainly because of the woman's costume, with the 17th century Dutch school.
Although the woman wears the attire of a Protestant woman from the Netherlands, the style of this painting is more Italian than Dutch and can be compared to Giacinto Campana's Saint Mary Magdalene at the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw (Wil.1732), attributed by me. Campana arrived in Warsaw in 1637 and in 1639 he worked in Vilnius so that he could copy a picture by Rembrandt or another painter from the Radziwill collection. The woman in both paintings resembles Anna Kiszczanka, Princess Radziwill from all the mentioned effigies, as well as the portraits of her son Janusz by Bailly, by Bartholomeus Strobel (National Art Museum of Belarus) and engraving by Hondius (Czartoryski Museum). The Nesvizh (New York) portrait or a series was therefore ordered from Rembrandt's workshop in 1633 on the occasion of Anna's name day.
The Vilnius portrait has a pendant depicting another woman of similar age and costume (oil on canvas, 71.5 x 50 cm, LNDM T 3990). The two were depicted together because they were sisters or otherwise related. Assuming the first woman is Anna Kiszczanka, the other should be identified as her sister-in-law Christina Kiszczyna née Drutska-Sokolinska (d. 1640). Like her father, Michael Drutsky-Sokolinsky (d. 1621), voivode of Polotsk and Smolensk, she was most likely also a Calvinist. Christina's husband, Janusz Kiszka (ca. 1586-1654), Field Hetman of Lithuania and voivode of Polotsk, raised in Calvinism, converted to Catholicism around 1606. In 1624-1626 he studied in Padua, where on March 4, 1625 he met the Crown Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa and accompanied him to Venice. Papal nuncio Honorato Visconti gave the following description of the voivode of Polotsk and Field Hetman of Lithuania (report to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, July 15, 1636 from Warsaw): "he is also a better soldier than senator. Catholic but only in name, impulsive, not very pious, he still has many heretical superstitions, in which his father remained" (after "Relacye nuncyuszów apostolskich" by Erazm Rykaczewski, Volume 2, p. 252).
Janusz Kiszka married Christina, the widow of Sebastian Gnoiński, in 1608 or 1609. She enjoyed the great trust of her husband, as evidenced by the fact that during his stay abroad for several years, on April 20, 1624, he entrusted her with the management of all estates. Returning to the country in 1627, preoccupied with military service, he left his property under her full management until May 16, 1633. In 1629, Kiszczyna concluded a contract with Abraham Jonaszewicz, a burgher from Gdańsk, for the sale of the Czaśniki estate with the Smolany farm. Gdańsk merchants wanted to organize the export of forestry and agricultural products on a large scale, bypassing the Vitebsk chamber customs (after "Próba utworzenia gdańskiej faktorii handlowej ..." by Jarosław Zawadzki, p. 43, 46).
Christina died in 1640 and in connection with her funeral, a mourning booklet entitled "Mourning Shadows After Bright Rays" (Cienie żałobne po jasnych promieniach) by Melchior Stanislav Savitsky was published in Vilnius.
Another version or original of this portrait is now in the Kremer collection in Amsterdam (oil on panel, 45 x 35.5 cm). It comes from the collection of the Kielmansegg family in Vienna and was cut, perhaps from an oval shape. This painting is attributed to Rembrandt's follower Jacob Adriaensz Backer and dates from around 1634.
In a portrait of a family as donors by a Kraków painter, painted around 1620 (National Museum in Kraków), the sitters wear Italian (the man and boy next to him) and Dutch costumes (the other members of the family). The painting style is inspired by the Italian school, while the family kneeling before the resurrected Christ looks more like Dutch, Silesian or Gdańsk paintings. Although the nobility of Poland-Lithuania had favored different fashions since at least the second quarter of the 16th century, specific garments had important connotations and were expressions of political opinions and sympathies. In a painting created in 1665, in the Corpus Christi Church in Poznań, Queen Jadwiga (Hedwig of Anjou, 1373-1399) was depicted in a typical Spanish costume from the 1620s. This effigy was probably inspired by the portrait of Queen Constance of Austria (1588-1631) or other unpreserved effigies of Jadwiga commissioned by Catholics sympathetic to the Spanish Empire and the Habsburgs.
It was natural that when the Catholics and Habsburgs asserted their position at the royal court in Warsaw and their supporters manifested it through Spanish, Italian or Flemish fashion, the Calvinist aristocrats were represented in the Dutch costumes.
The portrait of Queen Bona Sforza d'Aragona (1494-1557) kept at the National Museum in Lublin (oil on canvas, 60.5 x 51 cm, S/Mal/609/ML), painted in a style comparable to the two paintings in Vilnius, shows the queen in the convention of bourgeois portraits of the 17th century, emphasized by all authors. Its style is more Italian, however, the costume is clearly Nordic and the painting is attributed to the Dutch school. Similar ones can be seen in numerous portraits made around 1640 and attributed to the Dutch school (such as portrait of Dorothea Berck, private collection), Willem van Honthorst (Museum of Fine Arts in Lille), circle of Bartholomeus van der Helst (private collection), several portraits attributed to the Flemish school (dated 1641 and 1646, private collection) or a portrait of a French lady, perhaps Huguenot, signed by the unknown painter Panuier and painted in 1641 (private collection). Unlike the royal court, her dress is modest and her hair is not dyed Venetian blonde.
The inscription with a crown - REGINA BONA, appears to be original, therefore the painting was most likely created to remind some people that the Commonwealth was from the beginning a tolerant country with different people, customs and religions.
Portrait of Anna Kiszczanka (1593-1644), Princess Radziwill by Rembrandt, 1633, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Christina Kiszczyna née Drutska-Sokolinska (d. 1640) by Jacob Adriaensz Backer, ca. 1634, Kremer collection in Amsterdam.
Portrait of Anna Kiszczanka (1593-1644), Princess Radziwill by Giacinto Campana, ca. 1639, National Museum of Art in Vilnius.
Portrait of Christina Kiszczyna née Drutska-Sokolinska (d. 1640) by Giacinto Campana, ca. 1639, National Museum of Art in Vilnius.
Portrait of Queen Bona Sforza d'Aragona (1494-1557) by Giacinto Campana or circle, ca. 1640, National Museum in Lublin.
Saint Mary Magdalene by Giacinto Campana, 1640s, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
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 (oil on canvas, 143 x 154.7 cm, P002132) was possibly in the collection of Don Jerónimo de la Torre, secretary of state of Philip IV. Jerónimo died in Madrid in 1658, leaving his son Don Diego de la Torre as universal heir, and the work is probably tantamount to description in the appraisal of paintings of Don Diego made on September 3, 1662 by the painter Francisco Pérez Sierra: "The beautiful Judit, valued under the name of a Venetian woman, original, at four thousand reais" (La bella Judit, tasada devajo del nombre de una mujer veneciana, original, en quatro mill rreales) (after "¿Judit o Ester? El Rembrandt del Museo del Prado" by Juan María Cruz Yábar). The title of Venetian woman is most probably a reference to the woman's bleached hair. Blonde hair was valued as an association with youth and divinity and Venetian women of the 16th century created the famous 'Venetian Blondes' by exposing their hair to sunlight and applying bleaching mixtures (after "Being Beautiful: An inspiring anthology of wit and wisdom on what it means to be beautiful" by Helen Gordon, p. 81). In the inventory of the collection of King Charles III from 1772 the subject is also identified as Judith: "A painting showing Judith to whom some maids serve a goblet and on a round table an open book, figures of more than half length, an original by Rembrandt, seven quarters long and one and a half varas high" (Un quadro que representa a Judic, a quien unas doncellas sirven una copa, y en una mesa redonda tiene un libro abierto, figuras de más de medio cuerpo, original de Rembrandt, de siete quartas de largo y vara y media de caída).
Biblical heroine Judith, exemplary in virtue and in guarding her chastity, unlike in the paintings showing Anna Catherina Constance's great-grandmother Bona Sforza by Lucas Cranach, is depicted after arriving at Holofernes's camp and before killing him. The artist signed and dated the painting which is clearly visible on the chair below the Judith's hand: Rembrant. /f 1634. In about 1634 Pieter Claesz Soutman and his workshop in nearby Haarlem created two effigies of King Ladislaus IV Vasa. One, in Spanish costume, is in Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, the other was published by Claes Jansz. Visscher in Amsterdam (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek).
The same woman was also depicted in other paintings by Rembrandt. The earlierst of them shows her as Bellona, ancient Roman goddess of war. The work is signed and dated: Rembrandt f:/ 1633 and there is also inscription on the shield: BELLOON[A]. The woman is slightly younger than the Madrid version and her hair is not bleached. By 1797 this painting was in the collection of George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham in Stowe House, Buckinghamshire in England, today in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (oil on canvas, 127 x 97.5 cm, 32.100.23). 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 (oil on canvas, 62.5 x 55.6 cm, 8622).
Another painting by Rembrandt, in the National Gallery in London (oil on canvas, 123.5 x 97.5 cm, NG4930), 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 (oil on canvas, 138 x 116.5 cm, 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 (oil on canvas, 125.6 x 174.7 cm, 1560). 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 (oil on panel, 21.5 x 17 cm, M.Ob.2663 MNW, Dep 473). It is attributed to an 18th century imitator of Rembrandt and could a copy of a lost original from the 1630s. A very similar painting in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (oil on panel, 11.5 x 9 cm, B86.0906), is attributed to follower of Rembrandt and dated to the first half of the 1630s (1630-1635). It comes from the collection of French banker and art collector Ernest May (1845-1925) in Strasbourg and Paris.
Princess Anna Catherina Constance, who died childless on October 8, 1651, aged 32, was forgotten shortly after her death. Before her marriage in 1642 the workshop of Maximilian van der Gucht in Delft, not far from Amsterdam, created a tapestry with her coat of arms and monogram A.C.C.P.P.S. (Anna Catharina Constantia Principissa Poloniae Sueciae), most likely one of the series, that she brought to Neuburg an der Donau (today in the Munich Residence). Chancellor Zadzik commissioned his tapestries in van der Gucht worshop as well as Mikołaj Wojciech Gniewosz, Bishop of Włocławek, secretary of Kings Sigismund III and Ladislaus IV (today in the Skokloster Castle in Sweden). The princess brought with her to Neuburg the most exquisite works of art created not only in Europe, but also in Persia (Safavid kilims with coat of arms of her father are in the Munich Residence and Wittelsbacher Ausglechsfonds in Munich) while her portraits were created by Rembrandt.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Bellona by Rembrandt, 1633, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Judith at the banquet of Holofernes by Rembrandt, 1634, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) wearing a pearl necklace by Rembrandt, 1634, National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
Modello or ricordo drawing for a portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Flora by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1635, British Museum.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Flora by Rembrandt, 1635, National Gallery in London.
Modello or ricordo drawing for a portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Minerva in her study by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1635, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) as Minerva in her study by Rembrandt, 1635, The Leiden Collection.
The Wedding feast of Samson with portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Rembrandt, 1638, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
The Wedding feast of Samson by Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine after Rembrandt or Rembrandt's pupil, 1777 (?), National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with a ruby pendant by follower of Rembrandt, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 18th century (?) after original from the 1630s, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by follower of Rembrandt, 1630s, Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Portraits of Elżbieta Kazanowska by circle of Rembrandt and Peter Danckers de Rij
In spring of 1633, Adam Kazanowski, thanks to the support of King Ladislaus IV, married the then 14-year-old Elżbieta (Halszka) Słuszczanka (1619-1671). For Kazanowski, the marriage meant not only a substantial dowry (50,000 zlotys), numerous movable and immovable property, but also valuable connections. On the occasion of the wedding, Halszka received a pure gold mug and 20,000 zlotys from the king, the value of other gifts amounted to 40,000 zlotys.
Earlier that year, on March 2, 1633 Elżbieta's father Aleksander Słuszka or Słuszko (1580-1647) become the voivode of Minsk. He was brought up as a Calvinist, but later, in about 1621, he converted to Catholicism together with his wife Zofia Konstancja Zenowicz.
For his favourite, Adam Kazanowski, who already recived a magificent palace in Warsaw, later known as Kazanowski (or Radziejowski) Palace, the king restored the office of the Crown Steward in 1633, and soon after that, he become the Pantler of the Crown and recieved other offices. In 1634 he most probably accompanied the king to Gdańsk and on June 1635, he came with him to Toruń. In 1635, he conducted a successful purchase of a fleet of ships for Ladislaus IV in Gdańsk (12 ships for 379,500 zlotys). Kazanowski also participated in the Vistula grain trade and one of the largest granaries in Warsaw's Skaryszew belonged to him.
Słuszczanka and her husband accompanied the king in 1638 on a trip to Baden near Vienna, and in the Imperial capital she won in women's rifle shooting competition, for which she received "a nice jewel". The Lithuanian (Litewka), as Łukasz Opaliński called her, was famous for her frivolous sexual conduct, just like her husband. Years passed and she did not get pregnant. Perhaps she contracted syphilis from Kazanowski, who according to rumors, gained property and offices because he kept a harem of lovers for the ruler (after "Jak romans doprowadził do jednej z największych tragedii w dziejach Polski" by Jerzy Besala).
Educated in Braniewo, Würzburg, Leiden and Padua (after Marcin Broniarczyk "Wykształcenie świeckich senatorów w Koronie za Władysława IV", p. 280), Kazanowski was a patron of arts. According to Adam Jarzębski's "Short Description of Warsaw" in his palace there was a workshop of Dutch painters (lines 1605-1608, Olandrowie, Nie Polacy). His portrait at the age of 44 as a Court Chamberlain (Wawel Royal Castle), was created by Dutch painter Peter Danckers de Rij, born in Amsterdam (signed: P Donckers fecit / AETATI[S) SVAE 44). Other preserved effigies of Kazanowski were created by another Dutchman Willem Hondius: engraving with a portrait against the Vistula River and his estates in Praga and Skaryszew, created in 1646, and two other created in 1648 after paintings by Maerten van Couwenburgh, most probably a relative of Christiaen van Couwenbergh from Delft. Other effigy from the 1640s (Royal Castle in Warsaw) is attributed to engraver Jeremias Falck Polonus from Gdańsk. In 1645 Hondius also created a series of views of the Wieliczka salt mine, sponsored by Kazanowski, who was a żupnik (manager of a mining district) from 1642.
"Never has Poland seen and will never see so much wealth in the hands of a single man", wrote about the Court Chamberlain Wawrzyniec Jan Rudawski (1617-1674). Kazanowski died childless on December 25, 1649 and his beautiful wife Halszka become heiress to a large fortune. Just few monts later, in May 1650, she married another royal courtier Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667). This marriage was reportedly arranged by her lover, the new king John II Casimir Vasa (half brother of Ladislaus IV). Soon, however, disagreements began. The reason was supposed to be the portrait of the deceased Kazanowski, which the lady did not want to remove from her room, others said that it was not the portrait, but the young Jan Tyzenhaus, a handsome royal valet, who had quarreled the couple.
Violent Radziejowski became very angry when his wife's affair with the king was revealed in the late spring of 1651. Elżbieta left the military camp near Sokal and took refuge in the convent. She also filed a lawsuit for annulment of the marriage. Despite repeated attempts, Radziejowski did not manage to break into the Kazanowski Palace, defended by Elżbieta's brother Bogusław Słuszka. At the time, John Casimir and pregnant Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga were staying in the nearby Royal Castle. At the Sejm session Radziejowski was accused of offending the majesty and violating the security of the royal residence and sentenced to banishment and infamy. Słuszczanka and her brother Bogusław received much lighter sentences - a fine of 4,000 zlotys and a year and six weeks of hard imprisonment in the tower. Halszka drove to the prison at the Castle in the carriage drawn by six horses. After twelve weeks, she was forgiven and her brother left the prison earlier (after "Życie codzienne w Warszawie za Wazów" by Jerzy Lileyko, p. 270).
Portrait of a lady holding a fan from the Jan Popławski collection was offered to the National Museum in Warsaw in 1935 (inventory number 34661), most probably lost during World War II. This small painting (28 x 22 cm) was painted on a wood panel and attributed to a imitator of Dutch painting from the 18th century (after "Katalog wystawy obrazów ze zbiorów dr. Jana Popławskiego" by Jan Żarnowski, number 97, p. 53).
The pose of a woman with her right hand on a table and holding a fan in her left hand is very similar to portraits representing the king's sister Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (Ambras Castle) and Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (Nationalmuseum in Stockholm/Gripsholm Castle), all holding fans and attributed to Peter Danckers de Rij, court painter of Ladislaus IV from about 1637. Also the style of this painting is close to Danckers de Rij and the woman's hand is very similar to the hand of Anna Catherine Constance in Ambras painting. If not the material and dimensions, this portrait could be considered as a pendant to mentioned portrait of Kazanowski by Danckers de Rij (oil on canvas, 119.5 x 94.5 cm), as the composition match perfectly. Since the portraits of such notables were created in series and in different dimensions, this cannot be excluded. Maybe a reduced portrait of Kazanowski painted on panel was also created at that time. The Wawel painting was acquired the as a gift from Julian Godlewski from Switzerland in 1970. Consequently the portrait of a woman from Popławski collection can be dated to about 1643, like the Kazanowski portrait.
She wears a strange wide-brimmed hat with a hole cut through the crown with her blonde hair spread over the broad brim. The woman is bleaching her hair like Venetian women in engravings by Cesare Vecellio or Pietro Bertelli from the late 16th century or in the Album Amicorum of Burchard Grossmann, created between 1624-1645, and other albums of foreign travellers in Venice. Venetian women bleached their hair using a solana (a wide brim hat with a hole in the centre) and sitting in the sun. The hair, soaked in a concoction of lemon juice and urine, was thrown out of the crown space and spread over the brim, which shaded the person from the sun (after "Venice: the Queen of the Adriatic" by Clara Erskine Clement Waters, p. 224). Venetians, who settled in great number in Poland-Lithuania from the beginning of the 16th century, undoubtedly introduced this technique there. Her coat, lined with fur, is very similar to the coat visible in an engraving showing a Polish noblewoman (FOEMINA NOBILIS POLONICA), illustration to Hans Weigel's "Habitus Praecipuorum Populorum", published in 1577.
The same woman, with identical earring in her left ear, was depicted in a series of paintings by circle of Rembrandt. One signed and dated (upper right: Rembrandt f. 1635 or 1638, oil on canvas, 99.5 x 71 cm) was before 1794 in the collection of Louis-Marie Lebas de Courmont, Marquis de Pomponne in Paris. In 1669 king John II Casimir Vasa brought many paintings from Polish royal collection to Paris after his abdication. A pastel after this version, or other not preserved painting, most probably by an 18th century French pastelist, was sold on 11 June 2020 in Amsterdam.
Other version (oil on canvas, 100.5 × 81 cm) was first mentioned in 1854, when hung in the collection of the Earl of Listowel, lost. Another, smaller picture (oil on canvas, 77 x 63 cm) was sold in New York (Doyle, 2016-01-27, lot 56). The style of this painting can be compared with the Lovers by Christiaen van Couwenbergh in the Kunsthalle Bremen, painted in 1632. It is possible that this copy after original by Rembrandt was made by Maerten van Couwenburgh. Other, more simplified versions are in Kunstmuseum Basel (oil on canvas, 33 x 29.5 cm, inventory number 501), acquired in 1859 from the Birmann collection and in private collection (oil on canvas, 56 x 46 cm), sold on November 18, 2020.
The "fanciful custume" of a woman is similar to those visible in the Feast of Herod by Bartholomeus Strobel, court painter of Ladislaus IV, created in the 1630s (Prado Museum in Madrid) and to the costume of Queen of Sheba from the copper-silver sarcophagus of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (scene of Queen of Sheba before Solomon), created by Johann Christian Bierpfaff before 1648 (Wawel Cathedral).
Portrait of a lady with forget-me-nots in the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number M.Ob.2510), painted in the style of Peter Danckers de Rij, was previously identified by me as possibly depicting Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska, mistress of Ladislaus IV Vasa, however the woman resemble more closely the woman wearing a solana hat from the Popławski collection. Her black dress, most likely a mourning dress, is evidently Central European of the epoch and similar to that visible in a portrait of a lady aged 26, created in 1645 (National Museum in Kraków, inventory number MNK I-689), in epitaph portrait of Zofia Kochańska née Świerczewska, created in mid-17th century (Saint James church in Sanka), or in a portrait of a lady, said to be a member of the Węsierski family, painted by Danckers de Rij in about 1640 (National Museum in Gdańsk). As a consequence, the portrait depict Kazanowska in mourning after death of her first husband (1649) or imprisonment in the tower (1652) and was most probably adressed to her former lover, king John Casimir Vasa. This painting comes from the collection of the Krosnowski family in Saint Petersburg (formed in the years 1888-1917), donated to the Polish state and transported to Poland under the regulations of the Treaty of Riga (1921).
The woman from all mentioned portraits bear a resemblance to a man depicted in a portrait, today in the Lithuanian National Museum of Art in Vilnius, which according to inscription depict Aleksander Słuszka, voivode of Minsk and father of Elżbieta. The portrait of Słuszka in Vilnius is similar to full-length portrait of Józef Bogusław Słuszka (1652-1701), Lithuanian Field Hetman, which was in the collection of the Radziwill family in Niasvizh, lost. The costume is almost identical and more typical of the end of the 17th century, the man is holding a bulava mace (a sort of military baton), typical for Field Hetmans and other effigies of Józef Bogusław, therefore both depict Aleksander Słuszka's descendant (a grandson), however, some family resemblance to described female portraits is still visible.
A man with a mustache in an oriental costume, very similar to the woman in the mentioned portraits, was depicted in another painting in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw (oil on panel, 23.5 x 18.5 cm, inventory number 131229 MNW). It was transferred by the Central Board of Museums and Monuments Preservation in 1949 (after "Early Netherlandish, Dutch, Flemish and Belgian Paintings 1494–1983" by Hanna Benesz and Maria Kluk, Vol. 2, item 923). The style of this small effigy is similar to that of the portraits which could be attributed to Maerten van Couwenburgh. Consequently the man should be identified as Elżbieta's brother Bogusław Jerzy Słuszka, who died after January 9, 1658. Together with his brother Eustachy Adam, who at a very young age became a courtier of Ladislaus IV, he went to study abroad. In 1637 he was matriculated at the University of Ingolstadt, and after return he become the starost of Rechytsa (1639), Lithuanian Pantler (1643) and Lithuanian Court Treasurer (1645).
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) from the Marquis de Pomponne collection in Paris by circle of Rembrandt, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Pastel portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by French pastelist after original by circle of Rembrandt, 18th century, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) from the Earl of Listowel collection by circle of Rembrandt, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1635-1638, Kunstmuseum Basel.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1635-1638, Private collection.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) in solana hat by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1643, National Museum in Warsaw, lost.
Portrait of Elżbieta (Halszka) Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671) with forget-me-nots by Peter Danckers de Rij, 1649-1652, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Bogusław Jerzy Słuszka by Dutch painter, possibly Maerten van Couwenburgh, 1640s, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa by Peter Danckers de Rij
With the new dynasty, the Vasas, the focus of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's international politics shifted from south of Europe to the north. Sigismund III Vasa, elected monarch of the Commonwealth was born in Sweden and on February 19, 1594 he was crowned King of Sweden and Grand Duke of Finland.
Curiously, exactly around that time, Venetian painting workshops began to decline, there are no more such great painters in Venice, native to the Republic, in subsequent decades like Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, Palma Vecchio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Titian, Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano or Veronese. Domenico Fetti was born in Rome and then worked in Mantua for ten years and Bernardo Strozzi was born and initially mainly active in Genoa.
Commonwealth's monarchs began to visit more often the main economic center of the country and its main seaport - Gdańsk in the north. Sigismund III was there several times, for the first time when he arrived from Sweden in October 1587. Also his predecessor Sigismund II Augustus was a guest in the city in July 1552. On September 23, 1561 the top of the tower of the main Town Hall of Gdańsk was adorned with a gilded statue of the king with an accentuated codpiece, designed by Dutch Dirk Daniels. In 1564-1568 the Green Gate in the style of Flemish mannerism was built by architect Regnier van Amsterdam as the formal residence of Poland's monarchs.
Not only in architecture, but also in painting, Flemish and Dutch style become the most popular in the Vasa era in Poland, at least in the northern part of the country. In 1624, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa, future Ladislaus IV, visted Rubens' workshop and was painted by him. Ladislaus invited to Warsaw the author of his "Art Collection" (Royal Castle in Warsaw), most probably Étienne de La Hire, and Rubens recommended Pieter Claesz Soutman, a Dutch painter born in Haarlem, who was appointed royal court painter, he, however, returned to Haarlem in 1628. All of Ladislaus' relatives and other monarchs employed at their courts Flemish and Dutch painters. Rubens painted his Spanish cousins, monarchs of France and England, Flemish painter Justus Sustermans worked for the Medici family in Florence and his aunt Maria Maddalena of Austria (1589-1631), another Flemish painter, Frans Luycx, became the leading portrait painter at the imperial court of his cousins in Vienna, Justus van Egmont, also Flemish, worked in France at the court of his cousin Queen Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Antoon van Dyck (Anthony van Dyck) in England, Karel van Mander III was active at the Danish royal court and numerous other.
Around 1636-1637, in connection with the extensive work at decorating royal residencies in preparation for the king's wedding, Ladislaus employed Peter Danckers de Rij, who was initially active in Gdańsk. Danckers de Rij was born in Amsterdam and probably returned there during the Deluge (1655-1660).
Despite her qualities and wealth, like in the case of her grandmother and her grandmother's sister Isabella Jagiellon, it was not an easy task to find a suitable match for Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651), the sister of Ladislaus, who reached adulthood around that time. Hereditary rulers of Europe were not interested to marry a sister of the elective monarch. After the death of her parents in 1631 and in 1632, Parliament granted her the counties of Brodnica, Gołub and Tuchola. The lands had previously belonged to her mother, but Anna could not exercise her rights until she came of age in 1638. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, and Gaston, Duke of Orléans (brother of King Louis XIII of France), were among candidates for her hand. Despite the agreements of 1639 and 1642 to marry her to Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria-Tyrol (1628-1662), the marriage never took place, due to the age of the groom who was 11 years old in 1639 and the disagreement over the amount of her dowry. On June 8, 1642, in Warsaw she married Philip William of Neuburg.
In the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg there are two portraits deposited by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (inventory numbers NbgKbg.L-G0006, NbgKbg.L-G0007) which according to inscription 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 (oil on canvas, 213 x 122 cm, Bavarian State Painting Collections 6996). 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, oil on canvas, 115 x 96.5 cm, GG 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 (oil on copper, 6 x 5 cm, inventory number 863), also painted in the style of Peter Danckers de Rij. Her sumptuous clothes and jewelery are truly regal, which is why the miniature is sometimes considered to depict Elizabeth Stuart (1596-1662), Queen of Bohemia. The work was donated to the Civic Collections in 1945 by Giorgio Nicodemi (1891-1967) who, in turn, had received the collection, which features several portraits of people from the Morando and Attendolo Bolognini families, from Countess Lydia Morando Bolognini (after "Museo d'arte antica del Castello sforzesco: pinacoteca", Volume 5, p. 332). 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 (oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm, sold at Vanderkindere in Brussels, March 23, 2021, lot 67). This painting represent "Venus reclining" inspired by Venus of Urbino in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, which is a portrait of a sister of Anna Catherine Constance's grandmother Isabella Jagiellon.
Miniature portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) with a dog by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Imperial Castle in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) holding a fan by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1639-1642, Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) nude by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638-1642, Private collection.
Portraits of Prince John Casimir Vasa
"His works and famous testimonies of craftsmanship [artis praeclara specimina] created in Our kingdom […], to everyone who has come close, give a pleasant feeling of beauty and adornment flowing from the surfaces painted by him. With this letter, We make him a painter at our court", stated in the servitorial letter issued in 1639 to the Silesian painter Bartholomeus Strobel King Ladislaus IV Vasa (after "Portrait of Władysław IV from the Oval Gallery ..." by Monika Kuhnke, Jacek Żukowski, p. 68). The king met Strobel in Gdańsk at the end of 1634. Over the next few years the artist lived and worked alternately in Gdańsk, Toruń and Elbląg, simultaneously being employed in decorating the interior of the royal chapel of St. Casimir in Vilnius (1636-37).
On June 25, 1635, in the face of a new war with Sweden, the king's half-brother John Casimir Vasa arrived to Toruń. Under the command of Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski, about 24,000 selected soldiers with strong artillery were concentrated in Pomerania in the camp near Sztum. From there the prince went to Vienna for the wedding of his relative Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria (1610-1665), the daughter of Emperor Ferdinand II, and Maximilian I (1573-1651), Duke of Bavaria (15 July 1635). He received under his command a regiment of cuirassiers and Polish volunteers, with whom he went to the front of the Thirty Years' War in Alsace. He returned to the country after Ladislaus IV concluded the truce in Sztumska Wieś on September 12, 1635.
When despite the imperial promises, he did not receive a feudal principality, and the Sejm did not grant him the Duchy of Courland, he accepted the proposal of his cousin Philip IV of Spain to become the viceroy of Portugal, where he was to receive an annual salary and get married. On this trip, he stopped in France, where he was arrested on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu on suspicion of espionage for Spain. He was a prisoner from May 10, 1638 to February 1640, when he was released after the intervention of the Polish legation that came to Paris. After release he went to Paris, where he met Princess Marie Louise Gonzaga de Nevers, with whom he had an affair. In 1641 John Casimir decided to become a Jesuit. In 1642, he left the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth again, accompanying his sister to Germany. In 1643 he joined the Jesuits despite the opposition of King Ladislaus, causing a diplomatic rift between Poland and the Pope. John Casimir became a cardinal, but in December 1646, finding himself unworthy of spiritual life, he resigned as a cardinal and returned to Poland.
Following the death of Cecilia Renata of Austria, first wife of Ladislaus IV in 1644, Cardinal Jules Mazarin insisted that Marie Louise should marry the widowed sovereign to destroy the alliance between the Polish Vasa dynasty and the Habsburg dynasty, the rivals of the French state. She married Ladislaus by proxy on 5 November 1645. Two years later, on 20 May 1648, Marie Louise was widowed by the sudden death of Ladislaus IV. John Casimir was eventually elected the next King of Poland by the nobility, and married her on 30 May 1649.
In the Alte Pinakothek in Munich there is portrait of a young man in a fashionable French slashed doublet from around 1635 (oil on canvas, 224.5 x 135.5 cm, inventory number 6969). It was transferred in 1804 from the collection of the Palatine Castle in Neuburg an der Donau. This painting is very symilar in style, pose of the sitter and costume to the portrait of king Ladislaus IV Vasa with a crown by Bartholomeus Strobel (attributed), which was before 1939 in the Brühl Palace in Warsaw and dated to around 1635, as well as to the portrait of Władysław Dominik Zasławski-Ostrogski, also by Strobel, from about 1635 in National Art Museum of Belarus in Minsk (a copy of the painting in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw). Very similar costume is also visible in the portrait of Prince Janusz Radziwill (1612-1655), painted by David Bailly in 1632 (National Museum in Wrocław). The man bear a striking resemblance to the portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa when a Cardinal, created by a painter in Rome in about 1646 (Pontificia Università Gregoriana) and several engravings depicting John Casimir, when the King of Poland (by Willem Hondius, published in Gdańsk in 1648, by Hugo Allard the Elder, published in Amsterdam after 1648 and by Philipp Kilian, published in Augsburg after 1648). Therefore the described painting from the Neuburg Castle undoubtedly comes from a dowry of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651), Countess Palatine of Neuburg and John Casimir Vasa's sister.
Another portrait, most probably also from Anna Catherine Constance Vasa's dowry, is today in the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg (deposit of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, oil on canvas, 210 x 137 cm, NbgKbg.L-G0006 / 6784). It was previously identified as effigy of Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705) and as such published as a chromolithograph by Jakob Heinrich von Hefner-Alteneck in 1879. This painting is very similar to Prince John Casimir 's portrait in Gripsholm Castle in Sweden, a miniature in the Bavarian National Museum and another portrait, which was before World War II in the Herzog-Max-Burg Palace in Munich (watercolor painting after original by Aleksander Lesser from mid-19th century is in the National Museum in Warsaw). All these paintings were created by Peter Danckers de Rij and his workshop in about 1638 on the occasion of receiving the Order of the Golden Fleece from king Philip IV of Spain, head of the order from 1621.
The same man was also depicted in a portrait from the old collection of the palace of the French kings in the Louvre (oil on canvas, 65.3 x 54.5 cm, INV 20345). It is attributed to a French painter and dated to about 1635-1640 basing on the style and sitter's costume. The painting was most probaly created in the atelier of Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674), who from 1628, when he entered the service of Queen Mother Marie de Medicis, was a court painter of the French kings. Prince John Casimir was a prisoner and as such cannot be represented with the Order of the Golden Fleece, as France was at that time at war with Spain. His costume and hairstyle are very similar to those shown on the silver medal with his bust, created before 1638 (Museum of Warsaw, MHW 24241). It is also possible that the portrait was created by an Italian or a Flemish painter and brought by the prince with him to France, as John Casimir travelled to many European countries between 1635 and 1638.
Engraving entitled in French L'Hyver (Winter) with Proserpine and Pluto by Jeremias Falck Polonus and Jean Leblond I (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), was published between 1639-1645. Proserpine and Pluto, who abducted her into the underworld, bearing the features of both Marie Louise and John Casimir is undoubtedly an allusion to the secret affair of the Queen and the Prince. Gdańsk born engraver who called himself Polish (Polonus) created this print in Paris, where he moved in 1639. Fragment of four lines of French letterpress verse at left, and their Latin translation at right, reads "Pluto burns a secret fire for Proserpine" (Pluton d'un feu secret brusle pour Proserpine).
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa by Bartholomeus Strobel or workshop, ca. 1635, Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa by Peter Danckers de Rij, ca. 1638, Imperial Castle in Nuremberg.
Portrait of Prince John Casimir Vasa by workshop of Philippe de Champaigne (?), 1635-1640, Louvre Museum.
L'Hyver (Winter) with Proserpine and Pluto by Jeremias Falck Polonus and Jean Leblond I, 1639-1645, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa and Cecilia Renata of Austria by Frans Luycx
"As soon as the king entered the castle and got out of the carriage, the archduke came towards the king as far as the stairs, and with him one distinguished Austrian lord Meggau, a knight of the golden fleece, who was in great favor with the Emperor's father. The archduke apologized to the king that the empress did not come downstairs, and this was because of her health while she was pregnant. Then the empress came down and stopped in the middle of the stairs, whole dressed in pearls. The king from the journey, but he was also dressed expensive, and so did the queen and princess. The king spoke to the empress in Italian, who received him pleasantly and answered him briefly in Spanish. She then embraced the queen very pleasantly, and she squeezed the princess so tightly that her pearl earrings with the princess's earrings tangled that they had to be torn off", recalled the greeting of King Ladislaus IV Vasa, his wife Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria and his sister Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa with their cousin Empress Maria Anna of Spain (1606-1646) in Vienna on September 1, 1638, Jakub Sobieski (1591-1646), voivode of Belz, in his Diary.
Ladislaus went to Austria to be treated for gout in Baden near Vienna. The king and his retinue of 1,300 people, "who need more for a month than the entire imperial court for six months", according to Sobieski, departured from Warsaw on August 5, 1638. Known for his artistic taste, during trip to the Netherlands and Italy in 1624-1625, he visited, among others, the studios of Peter Paul Rubens, Guido Reni and Guercino, Ladislaus probably visited the atelier the leading portrait painter at the imperial court, Frans Luycx, during his visit to Vienna. Much earlier, however, he had noticed the great talent of the Flemish painter, because the accounts preserved in Stockholm confirm Ladislaus' contacts with a painter named Luix as early as 1637. Most likely in 1637, when she became empress, Luycx created a series of portrait sof Maria Anna of Spain which were sent to her relatives. Two very similar are in the Visitandines Monastery in Warsaw and in the Gripsholm Castle near Stockholm (inventory number NMGrh 1221), both probably originally sent to Warsaw as a gift to the king and his sister, like the two identical paintings in Madrid (Prado Museum, inventory number P04169 and P001272).
Probably during this visit Ladislaus commissioned a series of his effigies, and portraits of his wife and sister. The 1640 settlement says about the payment by Polish agent in Vienna to "Leic, painter, for three effigies" (after Jacek Żukowski, "Obrazy z warsztatu Fransa Luycxa w kolekcji wilanowskiej"). Preserved portraits of the king by Luycx are in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Alte Pinakothek in Munich and reduced version in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw (inventory number Wil.1143). The portrait of Cecilia Renata of Austria is also in Wilanów (pendant to king's portrait, inventory number Wil.1144) and in Vienna (inscription on the back in Italian: LA REGINA CECILIA RENATA DI POLONIA 1642, inventory number 8291). Inventory of Leopold Wilhelm's collection from 1659 lists two effigies of his sister Queen of Poland by Luycx, one when Archduchess with a parrot (indianischer raab, inventory number 813), the second as a Queen with a crown and sceptre on a table (inventory number 811), both probably lost. In turn Cecilia Renata and the king of Poland also undoubtedly owned portraits of Leopold Wilhelm from this period and a miniature in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków (inventory number XII-71), painted in Luycx's style and similar to Archduke's portrait in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (inventory number GG 2754) and his full length portrait by Luycx in the Gripsholm Castle (inventory number NMGrh 1876), can be considered as such.
Miniature portrait of a woman attributed to Spanish painter in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is stylistically very similar to described miniature of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in the Czartoryski Museum. The woman bears strong resemblemnce to portraits of Archduke's sister, Cecilia Renata, especially mentioned portrait in Vienna by workshop of Frans Luycx (inventory number 8291). The Spanish style elements of her outfit, like earrings, may be the influence of the Spanish entourage of her sister-in-law, Empress Maria Anna of Spain.
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm also owned a portrait of Princess Anna Catherine Constance described in the inventory of his collection under number 812: "A life-size effigy in oil on canvas of the princess of Poland, who was married to the duke of Neuburg. In a black smooth frame, 11 feet 3 fingers high and 7 feet wide. By Francisco Leüx Original" (Ein Contrafait lebensgrosz von Öhlfarb auf Leinwaeth der Princessin ausz Pohlen, welche mit dem Herzogen von Neüburg verheürath gewest. In einer schwartz glatten Ramen, hoch 11 Spann 3 Finger unndt 7 Spann braith. Von Francisco Leüx Original).
The full length portrait by Frans Luycx in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (inventory number GG 7944) is identified as effigy of Queen Cecilia Renata, however, like in portraits of Ladislaus IV, Empress Maria Anna or a portrait of Cecilia Renata mentioned in Archduke's inventory, there is no insignia (crown and scepter) in this portrait and the woman bears no resemblance to other effigies of the Queen. On the other hand the woman resemble greatly effigies of Princess Anna Catherine Constance, especially her portrait in a red dress at Ambras Castle. This image may therefore be tantamount to an entry in the Archduke's inventory. A reduced copy of this painting by Luycx's workshop is also in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (inventory number GG 7944).
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Crown Princess Anna Catherine Constance Vasa (1619-1651) by workshop of Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Miniature portrait of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria (1611-1644) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Miniature portrait of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (1614-1662) by Frans Luycx, 1638-1642, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Anna Catherine Constance Vasa and Cecilia Renata of Austria as Venus Verticordia by Giacinto Campana
In 1625, during his stay in Bologna, Prince Ladislaus Sigismund Vasa visited the studios of local painters, Guido Reni and Guercino. He brought to Poland from this journey, apart from works of art purchased in the Netherlands and Italy, also valuable gifts, including paintings by Italian masters from the famous gallery in Mantua, donated to him by Prince Gonzaga. When he become king he continued to purchase paintings abroad, mainly in the Netherlands, but also in Italy, throuh his secretary Virgilio Puccitelli, a castrato singer and composer. It was Puccitelli, who acquired the services of several singers in Venice for the king between September 1638 and February 1640, who brought to Warsaw "The Rape of Europa" by Guido Reni for which the king expressed his gratitiude in a letter to Reni dated March 3, 1640. "Therefore, we make You aware of all this and enclose the expression of our most obliging intentions, so that You know how much to expect from them and how much we respect your bright talent", wrote the king. This painting is today in the National Gallery in London.
In 1637 Ladislaus invited to Poland Giacinto Campana from Bologna, who worked at the Polish court until at least 1646. Recommended by the former apostolic nuncio to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Bishop Antonio Santacroce (1599-1641) and the new nuncio Mario Filonardi (1594-1644), the painter came to Warsaw from Rome via Venice in the spring of 1637. He was employed to decorate different royal residencies and Saint Casimir's Chapel at 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 circle of Guido Reni is a portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa in a cuirass from the collection of the Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków, purchased in 2013 in Italy. It was most likely Campana who created a copy of Guido Reni's Cupids fighting putti from the Czartoryski collection (inventory number MNK XII-228). The original by Reni, today in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, was created in about 1625.
Among other works that can be attributed to Campana is the Temptation of Saint Benedict (Saint Benedict throwing himself into the thornbush) in the Lithuanian National Museum of Art (oil on canvas, 145 x 173 cm, LNDM T 927), similar to a painting attributed to Felice Ficherelli in the Slovak National Gallery (O 5476) and two paintings in the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw - Night (oil on canvas, 166.5 x 219.5 cm, Wil.1060), inspired by La Notte by Guercino, and Saint Mary Magdalene (oil on canvas, 68.5 x 58 cm, Wil.1732), close to certain works by Guercino and his workshop, such as Saint John the Baptist (Vatican Museums) or Penitent Magdalene (Capitoline Museums).
In the royal Wilanów Palace, 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.
Cupids fighting putti by Giacinto Campana after Guido Reni, ca. 1637-1650, Czartoryski Museum.
Portraits of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter Sara by Rembrandt and workshop
"Portrait of a Portuguese Rabbi, painted by Rembrandt, in black frame" (Portret Rabina Portugalskiego, malowania Rynbranta, w ramach czarnych, No.74.), valued at 150 thalers and "A picture of similar dimensions, a Jewish woman in a beret, by Rembrandt painter, in black frame" (Obraz takieyze wielkosci, Zydowki w Birlecie, Rynbranta Malarza, wramach czarnych, No.75.), valued at 190 thalers, in the King's Bedroom of the Wilanów Palace in 1696 is probably the oldest preserved description of paintings by Rembrandt, today in the collection of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and known as The Scholar at his Writing Table and The Girl in a Picture Frame.
General Inventory of the Wilanów Palace from November 10th, 1696 also lists other works by Rembrandt, like "A large painting of an old man by Rembrandt in gilded frame and rounded top" (Obraz Rynbranta Malarza, Na ktorym Starzec wymalowany, wielki, wramach złocistych, u wierzchu okrągły, No. 210.), valued at 80 thalers, in the Upper Treasury with paintings from the Lower Gallery and Library, "A painting with Three Kings by Rembrandt in black frame" (Obraz Trzech Krolow, Rynbranta malarza, w ramach czarnych, No. 92.), valued at 100 thalers (possibly Adoration of the Magi from 1632, today in The State Hermitage Museum) and "A painting with Abraham and Hagar by Rembrandt in black frame" (Obraz Abrahama Z Agar Rynbranta malarza w ramach czarnych, No. 93.), valued at 100 thalers (possibly Abraham dismissing Hagar and Ishmael from about 1640, today in Victoria and Albert Museum), in the King's Dutch Study. The inventory lists many other Dutch paintings, including most probably The Loveletter by Johannes Vermeer: "A painting of a lady in gold dress playing lute, a girl giving her a letter, in black frame" (Obraz Damy graiącey na Lutni, w złotey Szacie, a dziewczyna list iey oddaie w ramach czarnych, No. 156.), valued at 35 thalers, and a copy (?) of The Milkmaid also by Vermeer: "A painting with a Dutch dwelling with a female cook pouring milk, in gilded copper frame" (Obrazek na ktorym Domostwo Holenderskie, a kucharka mleko zlewa, wramach miedzią złoconych, No. 180.), valued at 20 thalers, in the Upper Treasury.
Paintings of "Portuguese Rabbi" and "a Jewish woman" were always together since. In 1720 Konstanty Sobieski, son of king John III Sobieski, sold the palace to Elżbieta Sieniawska, and after her death in 1729, her daughter, Maria Zofia, offered a lifetime lease on the palace to the successor of John III, King Augustus II the Strong (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony. Maria Zofia or her daughter Izabela Lubomirska, most probably sold the paintings, but ordered a copy of "a Jewish woman", which is still in the Wilanów Palace (Wil.1656). Before 1769 the paintings were transported to Berlin and were acquired by Friedrich Paul von Kameke (1711-1769), who was married to Marie Golovkin (1718-1757), a daughter of the Russian ambassador to Prussia. Georg Friedrich Schmidt created prints after the paintings entitled in French: "The bride's father paying her dowry" (Le Pere de la fiancée reglant sa dot) and "The Jewish Bride" (La Juive Fiancée). Under those titles the works returned to Poland acquired by king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski in 1777 and inventory numbers of his collection 207 and 208 were painted in the upper left corners of both paintings, still visible today. Sold again after king's death, they were transported to Vienna and in 1994 Karolina Lanckorońska offered them to the Polish people.
Workshop copy of "The Jewish Bride" appears in the inventory of Danish royal Art Cabinet (Kunstkammer) of 1737, today in the National Gallery of Denmark (inventory number KMSsp406).
Despite not having a similar composition the paintings should be considered as pendants (usually paintings of married couples or relatives), as according to tradition they depict a father and his daughter. They also have similar dimesions (105.7 x 76.4 cm / 105.5 x 76 cm), both are painted on oak wood panels, they have similar baroque black frames, most probably original or re-created after original, exaclty as in the inventory description of the Wilanów Palace. They were finally painted the same year and signed by the author (Rembrandt f. 1641 on both).
At the end of 1631, Rembrandt moved from Leiden to Amsterdam. He initially stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, who from 1628 may have been an intermediary for the sale of Rembrandt's works on the Amsterdam market. From 1631 to 1635, Rembrandt became chief painter of Uylenburgh's studio and produced a considerable number of portraits for wealthy and important Amsterdammers, such as the importer of fur Nicolaes Ruts. In 1634, he married Hendrick's relative, Saskia.
Uylenburgh, born in about 1587, came from a Mennonite family, originally from Friesland, who emigrated to Poland and settled in Kraków, where Hendrick's father worked as a royal cabinet maker. His brother Rombout became a court painter. Hendrick was also trained as a painter, however he was primarly active as an art agent to King Sigismund III Vasa. He probably never practiced the profession of painter, at least no works have survived. Around 1612 he moved to Gdańsk. Hendrick arranged large art transports to Poland on behalf of the king, including paintings from the Netherlands and luxury goods, before starting his art dealership and studio in Amsterdam in about 1625. In December 1637 Hendrick commissioned Rembrandt to portray the Polish diplomat Andrzej Rej, who was on a secret mission to the English court for King Ladislaus IV and, while passing through Amsterdam. Van Uylenburgh received 50 guilders as a commission (after "Saskia, de vrouw van Rembrandt" by Ben Broos, p. 80).
Around 1624 Hendrick married Maria van Eyck (d. 1638). The couple had three sons, including Gerrit (born in about 1625), who took over his father's business, and at least four daughters, Sara, Anna, Susanna and Lyntgen, at least one of whom was a well-known draftswoman. Sara Hendricksdr (d. 1696) must have been the oldest as she is mentioned first in the testament of her parents from 1634 and a deed of February 3, 1668 regarding inheritance of her brother Abraham. She was born in about 1626 or 1627, hence she was 14/15 years old in 1641. Her biblical name of the wife of Abraham, match perfectly the old title of the Warsaw painting "a Jewish woman" or "The Jewish Bride". The young girl surrounded by artists, was probably also introduced to painting by her father. Possibly playing in her father's studio she might have come up with an idea to be depicted in a picture frame, in the trompe l'oeil (trick the eye) style. Her father Hendrick who was about 54 years old in 1641 was therefore depicted as a scholar at his writing table, very similar to the etching by Rembrandt representing Cornelis Claesz Anslo, Mennonite Preacher from Amsterdam, created in 1641 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), in the same year as the Warsaw paintings, or effigy of Menno Simons (1496-1561), preacher and theologian, whose followers formed the Mennonite church, by Jacob Burghart, published in 1683 (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen). "Uylenburgh came from a family of Mennonites (a conservative branch of the Anabaptists), who emphasized study and personal interpretation of scripture and individual responsibility for one's own salvation" (after "Rembrandt/not Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art" by Hubertus von Sonnenburg, p. 15). This explain why he was represented as a scholar.
A significant Mennonite community was established in the mid-16th century in the Vistula river delta in Poland and near Warsaw, by 1624, in previously uninhabited areas, giving rise to the so-called Olęder colonization. On December 22, 1642 King Ladislaus IV issued the first privilege for Mennonites. It is highly possible that already in 1641 the king received a portrait of his artistic agent and his daughter, who could also find a suitable husband among Polish Mennonites.
The same old man in rich costume was also depicted in a series of paintings by Rembrandt and his workshop, sitting and holding a stick. One dated '1645' from the collection of Pierre Crozat in Paris is in Lisbon (Calouste Gulbenkian Museum), other, which was in the ducal collection in Munich is today in Amsterdam (Museum het Rembrandthuis) and another in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A version from the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein is attributed to Salomon Koninck (1609-1656), a member of van Uylenburgh's academy.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) in a picture frame by Rembrandt, 1641, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) in a picture frame by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1641, National Gallery of Denmark.
Portrait of Sara van Uylenburgh (1626/27-1696) by unknown painter after Rembrandt, mid-18th century, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) at his writing table by Rembrandt, 1641, Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by Rembrandt, 1645, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1645, Museum het Rembrandthuis.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by workshop of Rembrandt, ca. 1645, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh (ca. 1587-1661) with a stick by Salomon Koninck, ca. 1645, Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.
Portraits of Hieronim Radziejowski and his two wives by Ferdinand Bol, Rembrandt and followers
"Named Radziejowski, you will stay in the council, evil betrayals are your homeland counsels" (Radziejowskim nazwany zostajesz od rady, A Twe w ojczyźnie rady są złośliwe zdrady), portrayed Vice-Chancellor of the Crown Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667) in 1651 anonymous satirical poem.
In October 1632, thanks to his father's support, Stanisław Radziejowski (1575-1637), courtier of Queen Anna Jagiellon, Hieronim became a courtier of the newly elected King Ladislaus IV Vasa. He quickly gained significant influence, in 1634 became the starost of Sochaczew and in 1637 starost of Łomża and Carver of Queen's court. Around 1637, he married a wealthy widow Katarzyna Woyna née Męcińska (ca. 1608-1641), wife of Piotr Woyna (d. 1633), Steward of Lithuania and after her death, in June 1642, thanks to the support of the king, he married another wealthy widow Eufrozyna Eulalia Wiśniowiecka née Tarnowska (d. 1645). Eufrozyna was a heiress of a considerable fortune of her first husband Prince Jerzy Wiśniowiecki (Yuriy Vyshnevetsky), starost of Kamianka, and the legal custody of her and her property belonged to Prince Jeremi Wiśniowiecki (Yarema Vyshnevetsky), son of Raina Movila (ca. 1589-1619). By decision of the king Hieronim became her main heir. In May 1650 Radziejowski was married a third time to the richest widow in the country Elżbieta Kazanowska née Słuszczanka (1619-1671), whose husband died just four months earlier.
Personal scandal always accompanied Radziejowski's political career. In 1640 he was elected a deputy to the Sejm, although there were demands for his removal from the chamber. At the first session of parliament, he was publicly accused by a nobleman of kidnapping his daughter from one of the monasteries in Warsaw and raping her (after "Hieronim Radziejowski: studium władzy i opozycji" by Adam Kersten, p. 60). Two years later, he married his second wife Eufrozyna in an atmosphere of scandal as the young widow had already agreed to another relationship, she was to marry Stanisław Denhoff. He allegedly paid a large bribe of 25,000 ducats to the royal couple, John II Casimir and Marie Louise Gonzaga, for receiving the office of Vice-Chancellor in 1650 and a year later, during a campaign against the Cossacks, when the king ordered his correspondence to be opened, a letter was found to the queen criticizing John Casimir and complaining that the king had a love affair with Radziejowski's wife, who accompanied him on the campaign. Hieronim's wife, who left the camp after the correspondence was revealed, filed for divorce. In 1652, on charges of insulting the royal name, he was sentenced to death, but fled to Vienna and then to Sweden. In 1655 he accompanied the Swedish forces invading the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Before the Second World War in the Dressing Room of the Royal Palace on the Isle in Warsaw there were two small paintings attributed to Rembrandt's pupil Ferdinand Bol or an 18th century imitator of Rembrandt Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich. Catalogues of the royal gallery described them as "A man in a half-figure with a mustache, dressed in brown, wearing a black headdress (Homme à mi corps avec des moustaches vêtu de brun et coëffé de noir, number 43) and "A woman in a half-figure in a brown dress, with a chain of precious stones and pearls in her hair, ears and on her head" (Femme à mi corps vetu de brun avec une chaîne enrichie des pierreries ayant des perles au col et aux oreilles, ainsi que sur la tête, number 54). The paintings had similar dimensions (30.3 x 25.3 cm / 35.5 x 24 cm) and similar composition, comparable to portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter Sara by Rembrandt (Royal Castle in Warsaw), both created in 1641. The portrait of a woman from the Palace on the Isle was signed and dated on the right: Bol. f. 1641. This signature was published in a 1931 catalogue of the collection ("Katalog galerji obrazów Pałacu w Łazienkach w Warszawie" by Stanisław Iskierski, p. 53). Other versions of these portraits with slight differences (in man's hat and woman's face), attributed to Rembrandt, were owned in 1763 by count Friedrich Paul von Kameke (1711-1769), a member of Pomeranian noble family, who also owned mentioned portrait of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and his daughter. A German engraver, Georg Friedrich Schmidt, created etchings after these paintings signed in Latin and French (Rembrandt pinx./ G.F. Schmidt fecit aqua forti 1763. Du Cabinet de Monsieur le Comte de Kameke). Several years earlier, in 1735, Schmidt also created another etching after a painting attributed to Rembrandt (signed in Latin: Rembrandt Inv. e. pin: / Schmidt fec: 1735), portrait of a bearded man in eastern costume. His high fur hat and a coat lined with fur are very similar to those visible in a portrait of a man, most probably a Ruthenian Prince, by follower of Aert de Gelder, today in the National Museum in Warsaw (inventory number M.Ob.151 MNW). The latter painting is signed and dated: AV.Gelder.f / 1639 and comes from the collection of Piotr Fiorentini (1791-1858) in Warsaw. Similar costumes are visible in the Surrender of Mikhail Shein at Smolensk in 1634 by Christian Melich (Kórnik Castle) with king Ladislaus IV and his dignitaries and in the portrait of a Polish nobleman by Rembrandt, signed and dated: Rembrandt.f / 1637 (National Gallery of Art in Washington), similar hats are in a portrait of King John II Casimir by Daniel Schultz (Royal Castle in Warsaw), portraits of the members of the Sapieha family from Kodeń (Wawel Royal Castle) and similar fur coats with gold chains are in the self-portrait by Rembrandt or workshop (The Wallace Collection), a portrait of a youth by Pieter de Grebber (Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna) and a portrait of a man in a fur hat and coat by Pieter de Grebber (Private collection).
In 1641, Radziejowski and other officials of the Masovian voivodeship become a member of a commission to consider border issues with the Duchy of Prussia. The same year, on October 7, 1641, the sixth and the last Prussian Homage took place in Warsaw. On July 13, the apostolic nuncio informed the Pope that the king had ordered balletti and a musical comedy to be prepared. Venison and fruit were brought from Kraków along the Vistula and excellent French, Italian and Rhine wines from Vienna. The recently finished Ujazdów Castle was prepared to host Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and his court (after "Ostatni hołd pruski" by Jacek Żukowski). The Elector had the opportunity to admire the great wealth of the Polish-Lithuanian court, a part of which he appropiated during the Deluge few years later (according to Wawrzyniec Jan Rudawski, he "took to Prussia as a spoil, the most valuable paintings and silverware of the royal table").
The cuff of man's attire from the lost painting from the Palace on the Isle is very similar to cuffs from the costumes of Polish nobles, visible, among others, in the Coronation of the Virgin Mary by Herman Han (Oliwa Cathedral in Gdańsk), created between 1624-1627, epitaph of Andrzej Czarnecki (d. 1649), burgrave of Kraków and royal courtier (Saints Peter and Paul Church in Kraków) or costumes of two boys in the Feast of Herod by Bartholomeus Strobel, created in the 1630s (Prado Museum in Madrid). Similar costume with a coat lined with fur, an embroidered shirt and a bejewelled hat is also visible in the Feast of Herod by Strobel, in the painting entitled Prophet Nathan rebukes King David by Strobel's workshop (Private collection) and in the scene of Esther before Ahasuerus from the copper-silver sarcophagus of Queen Cecilia Renata of Austria, created before 1648 (Wawel Cathedral), undoubtedly inspired by the costumes at the court of Ladislaus IV. The costume of a woman from a pendant painting also resemble the garments from Strobel's paintings, including the Feast of Herod in the Prado and the attire of two women from Stoning of Saint Stephen, created by Strobel in 1618 for Stanisław Ostroróg (National Museum in Poznań). Her costume is also very similar to those visible in portrait of Jadwiga Rogalińska (National Museum in Poznań), painted in the 1640s, or in the portrait of Helena Opalińska née Zebrzydowska, created in the 1650s (Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Monastery). Some similar elements (chains, coat) are also visible in the etching with effigy of a lady in a fur hat, said to be Princess Owka Praxedis of Vitebsk (Vilnius University Library), created in 1758 after original from mid-17th century.
Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648), mistress of Ladislaus IV, was depicted in similar dress in her portrait by Rembrandt and workshop (Private collection), painted in 1643, identified by me, as well as a lady in a portrait attributed to follower of Rembrandt or possibly Jan Victors (Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, 29.100.103), signed and dated: Rembrandt f / 1643. In all three portraits by Rembrandt and followers the women are holding a fan, a symbol of chastity, carried by betrothed or married women in Venice and Padua. The portrait in the Metropolitan Museum has a pendant depicting a young man with a breastplate and plumed hat (MMA 29.100.102), he bears a striking resemblence to the man from the lost portrait from the Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, to the etching by Georg Friedrich Schmidt, the only preserved signed effigy of Hieronim Radziejowski, created in 1652 by Jeremias Falck Polonus (National Library of Poland) and to the pastel portrait of his son cardinal Michał Stefan Radziejowski by Jan Reisner (National Museum in Warsaw). In 1643 the first son of Radziejowski, Stanisław, was born. It would be a good opportunity to order images of his parents. The blond woman should be therefore identified as Radziejowski's second wife Eufrozyna Eulalia Tarnowska. Consequently the woman from the pendant portrait from the Palace on the Isle is his first wife Katarzyna Męcińska, who died in 1641.
Before 1861 both portraits from the Met in New York were in the collection of baron Florentin-Achille Seillière (1813-1873) in Paris, whose daughter Jeanne-Marguerite (1839-1905) married in 1858 Boson de Talleyrand-Périgord (1832-1910), prince of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland) from 1845. The Silesian Duchy of Żagań, was a frequent stop for Kings Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III of Poland, as one of two main routes connecting Warsaw and Dresden ran through the town in the 18th century. It cannot be excluded that one of them offered the paintings to the Dukes of Żagań.
Before 1667 Radziejowski purchased a series of tapestries with the story of Jacob, woven in the workshop of Jacob van Zeunen in Brussels in about 1650 (later acquired by Jan Małachowski and offered to the Wawel Cathedral), while his son Michał Stefan, who ordered the works of art in the workshop of Guillaume Jacob in Paris, employed at his court a Dutch-born architect and engineer Tylman Gamerski (who deisgned for him the Chapel of the Seminary in Łowicz and Nieborów Palce).
Portrait of Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667), Carver of Queen's court by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1641, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, lost.
Portrait of Katarzyna Radziejowska née Męcińska (ca. 1608-1641) holding a fan by Ferdinand Bol, 1641, Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, lost.
Portrait of Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667), Carver of Queen's court by Georg Friedrich Schmidt after Rembrandt, 1763 after original from about 1641, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Katarzyna Radziejowska née Męcińska (ca. 1608-1641) holding a fan by Georg Friedrich Schmidt after Rembrandt, 1763 after original from about 1641, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of Hieronim Radziejowski (1612-1667), Carver of Queen's court by follower of Rembrandt, ca. 1643, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Eufrozyna Eulalia Radziejowska née Tarnowska (d. 1645) holding a fan by follower of Rembrandt, 1643, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of a man in eastern costume, most probably a Polish-Lithuanian noble by Georg Friedrich Schmidt after Rembrandt, 1735 after original from the second quarter of the 17th century, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portrait of a man in eastern costume, most probably a Ruthenian Prince by follower of Aert de Gelder, 1639, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Jadwiga Łuszkowska and Jan Wypyski by Rembrandt and workshop
Ladislaus IV Vasa met Jadwiga Łuszkowska when he was in Lviv in 1634 with his half-brothers, John Casimir and Alexander Charles Vasa. The king came to the city due to the uncertain Polish-Ottoman situation and the threat of war.
Jadwiga was born around 1616 in Lviv, as the daughter of a merchant Jan Łuszkowski (died 1627) and his wife Anna (died after 1635). She and her mother were then in serious financial problems, they inherited debts from the deceased Łuszkowski. The cloths that he and his partner bought on credit burned down in Jarosław and barges flowing down the Vistula to Gdańsk that belonged to him, sank. A few days after the king's arrival in Lviv, Anna Łuszkowska arranged for a visit to him, taking her beautiful daughter with her. She must have made a great impression on the king, as shortly after the meeting, the beautiful Jadwiga left the house in which she had lived so far and moved to the royal apartments and her mother Anna began to bring large sums of money to the town hall, paying off the creditors, and soon she bought the entire house, only part of which had belonged to her so far. Anna also received, among others, the right to fell wood for fuel in the royal forests and exemption from municipal taxes. Lviv roared with gossip and envious people, like Rafał Jączyński described Jadwiga as: femina formosa sed vitiata (a beautiful, though spoiled woman). The Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, Albert Stanislaus Radziwill, wrote about her many years later as a woman famous for her shame and infamy.
Ladislaus took his mistress with him to Warsaw and gave her rooms on the second floor of the Royal Castle. A few years later, identical rooms, except that on the first floor, will be occupied by his wife Cecilia Renata of Austria.
In 1635, Jadwiga gave birth to the king's son, Władysław Konstanty (Ladislaus Constantine Vasa), and soon accompanied the monarch on his journey to Prussia and Gdańsk, being present during the signing of the Polish-Swedish truce in Sztumska Wieś. The French envoy Charles Ogier who saw her in Gdańsk wrote in his diary on February 1, 1636: "After breakfast, I was able to comfortably watch the departure of the king's mistress, whom I greatly wanted to see. She is very beautiful, and also full of great charm, with dark eyes and hair, and a very smooth and fresh complexion. But she does not have full freedom, because she is constantly guarded by men and women". Jadwiga's position offended the conservative Polish nobility, there was talk of debauchery at the Royal Castle, and Ladislaus was called publicus concubinariusi (public adulterer). Senators expressed open dissatisfaction, and even the Church was involved in the matter. The papal nuncio Honorato Visconti said that the beautiful Jadwiga ensnared the king with magic and Primate Jan Wężyk also suspected her of dark powers.
The king, however, continued to live with his favourite. The idyll was destroyed by the king's marriage to Archduchess Cecilia Renata in 1637. The new queen, placed in the first-floor chambers just below Jadwiga's chambers, put pressure on Ladislaus to get rid of his beautiful mistress from the court. He, nevertheless, did not want to lose her. She moves first to the royal Ujazdów Castle in Warsaw. When the furious queen learns about the still-ongoing romance orders Łuszkowska to be sent back to Lviv. Soon the Ujazdów Castle was to be decorated with large canvases glorifying the queen, described in Adam Jarzębski's "Short Description of Warsaw" from 1643, who knows, maybe created by Rembrandt. Economically, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was strongly associated with the Dutch Republic, but politically, due to the family ties of the Vasas and the Habsburgs, they were opponents, therefore, no Polish monarch could openly patronize an artist in the Dutch Republic.
In 1637 Jadwiga was married to Jan of Wypych Wypyski of Grabie coat of arms, one of king's courtiers, to whom the king gave the land of Merkine in the forests of Neman in Lithuania, his favorite hunting spot. This donation gave rise to a court joke in Latin that the king gave Wypyski not the Merkine land (merecensem) but the harlot's land (meretricensem). Wypyski, who between 1626 and 1628 was a notary at the court, also become standard-bearer of Nur and Royal equerry in charge of the King's stables and he received land in Warsaw. The secretaries and notaries were educated people who knew foreign languages, so was also Wypyski. There is no information whether he had children, it is possible that he preferred men to women, therefore, marrying a king's favourite would not be a great sacrifice for him.
Even though that beautiful Jadwiga left the court and the capital with her husband, she was visited by the king whenever possible. He stayed there for several months. Ladislaus IV especially liked hunting and organized hawk and falcon hunts for white herons in order to obtain rajers (long feathers on the head of a heron), as an element of hat decoration. If the heron was not seriously injured, the bird was released. One time the king ordered a golden ring for the released heron to be worn around the the bird's neck with the date May 18, 1647. The same heron was caught with a falcon by king John III Sobieski in July 1677.
Łuszkowska was still alive on May 20, 1648, when King Ladislaus IV died in Merkine. A romantic legend says that the king died in the arms of his beloved Jadwiga. Wypyski died before December 18, 1647, and he was succeeded as starost of Merkine in 1651 by Krzysztof Buchowiecki, therefore the land was ruled by Jadwiga after Wypyski's death. Around 1650, fifteen-year-old Władysław Konstanty, Jadwiga's son, set off, following the custom of the then teenagers from wealthy families, on a journey across Europe. He never returned to Poland. In Europe, he was known under the name of Count de Wasenau.
The print by Jean Michel Moreau, created in 1763 (copy in the Slovak National Gallery, inventory number G 2402), is possibly the oldest and most accurate confirmation of ownership of the painting by Rembrandt, known as the Toilet of Bathsheba, today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Similar paintings are also mentioned in inventories of the collection of Willem Six in Amsterdam in 1734 (sale catalogue: "The History of Bathsheba, by Rembrandt van Rijn") and in the collection of Gerard Bicker van Zwieten in The Hague in 1741 (sale catalogue: "Bathsheba whose hair was cut and whose feet were washed, by two woman, very unusual [Rembrand van Ryn]"), however they could be tantamount to another painting attributed to Rembrandt or his studio with similar dimensions and composition, which is today in the Netherlands (Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht, RMCC s172). The latter painting, in Utrecht, is dated to about 1645 and is entitled "Bathsheba at her toilet spied by David" (Batseba bij haar toilet door David bespied, after "De schilderijen van Museum Catharijneconvent", 2002, p. 249).
The painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to Moreau's print, was in 1763 in the Gallery of count Bruhl, Prime Minister of His Majesty King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (D'après le Tableau de Rembrandt, qui est dans la Gallerie de S.E.M.gr Le Comte de Bruhl, Premier Ministre de S. M. Le Roi de Pologne, Electr. de Saxe). During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), when Prussian army invaded Saxony, he lived mainly in Poland, where in Warsaw he had three palaces - one near the election field at Wola, built in about 1750, one in Młociny, built between 1752-1758, and the largest, former Sandomierski Palace, in the center. Sandomierski Palace was constructed between 1639-42 by Lorenzo de Sent for Crown Grand Chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński, a friend of Ladislaus IV. It cannot be excluded that Bruhl acquired the painting in Poland.
King David is almost invisible standing on the high terrace to the left. The ruins of the amphitheater and the obelisk closely resemble the structures shown in the portrait of Royal jeweller Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio by Paris Bordone (Wawel Royal Castle). In the center of the compostion, among the dense forest, sits Bathsheba, naked, while her servants are brushing her "Venetian blond" hair and cutting her nails, exactly as in the painting representing Zuzanna Orłowska, mistress of King Sigismund II Augustus, as Bathing Susanna by Jacopo Tintoretto (Louvre Museum). A partridge at the feet of Susanna, a symbol of sexual desire, is in Rembrandt's painting replaced with a peacock, the symbol of immortality (after "Signs & Symbols in Christian Art" by George Ferguson, p. 23). Since the bird sits on the nest with its partner, it is a symbol of eternal love and partnership. The old woman with glasses cutting Bathsheba's nails is very similar to the one depicted in a drawing by Rembrandt from the collection of Prince Henryk Lubomirski (1777-1850) in Lviv, today in the Ossolineum (Lubomirski Museum) in Wrocław. It is most probably the mother of woman depicted as Bathsheba. Interestingly, the same collection also includes another drawing by Rembrandt, showing a woman holding a child and dated to around 1635, when Jadwiga gave birth to a son. So were these drawings preparatory works to the images of the royal mistress, her newborn son and her mother sent to Poland for approval?
According to the Bible, king David, whilst walking on the palace roof, accidentally espies the beautiful Bathsheba, the wife of a loyal soldier in his army, bathing. He desired her and made her pregnant. The painting is an allusion, exacly as effigy of Katarzyna Telniczanka, mistress of king Sigismund I, as Bathsheba by Lucas Cranach the Elder (Gemäldegalerie in Berlin) and has similar composition. Łuszkowska, who lived in royal residencies, knew perfectly well the paintings from the royal collection, which were often made in series for various relatives. The painting from the Bruhl collection was signed and dated by the artist: Rembrandt. ft/1643.
The woman, though with her hair not bleached, was also depicted in a portrait painting by Rembrandt, also created in 1643 (Rembrandt f. 1643), which is today in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The work most likely entered the collection of Frederick III of Prussia in the Potsdam City Palace between 1689 and 1698. The palace in Potsdam was constructed on the site of an earlier edifice from 1662 to 1669 built for Frederick's father Frederick William (1620-1688), Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, who in 1656, during the Deluge, according to Wawrzyniec Jan Rudawski, "took to Prussia as a spoil, the most valuable paintings and silverware of the royal table". The woman cannot be Rembrandt's wife as she died on 14 June 1642. She wears a hat, most probably a fur hat, adorned with jewels, very similar to kołpaczek from Polish traditional women's costume. Her pose is identical as in the painting from the Bruhl collection.
She was also represented in another painting by Rembrandt and his workshop, also created in 1643 (Rembrandt f / 1643), today in the private collection. Her hair are bleached, she is holding a fan and her outfit is similar to that in the Berlin painting. She wears a toque embroidered with gold, similar to Italian balzo visible in the portrait of Queen Bona Sforza by Titian, identified by me (private collection), a hat decoration (egreta) with a feather, a coat of expensive fabric lined with fur and jewels. The attire in both painting is very similar to the costume of Raina Movila (Regina Mohylanka) of Moldavia (ca. 1589-1619), Princess Vyshnevetska (portrait in the National Historical Museum of Ukraine), who died in Vyshnivets (about 150 km east of Lviv) or to the costumes of ladies in the painting "Finding of the Cross" by Tomasz Muszyński in Lublin (south-eastern Poland), created between 1654-1658.
While in 1642 Queen of Poland, Cecilia Renata of Austria, asked her brother to send her Dutch lace and a doll dressed in fashionable French attire and portraits of both the queen and her sister-in-law Anna Catherine Constance by Dutch painter Peter Danckers de Rij show the abundance of lace and French costumes, the woman from Rembrandt's paintings opted for eastern costume. The sitter in all three mentioned paintings bear a resemblance to the portrait of a boy, identified as portrait of Władysław Konstanty, in the National Gallery in Prague (O 8675).
A companion piece to the portrait holding a fan is a portrait of a man with a hawk (The falconer), also in private collection and also signed and dated by the artist ([Re]mbrandt f 1643). This is the woman's husband. If Wypyski started his career at the court in 1626 at the age of around 20, then he was around 37 years old in 1643. The high-flying hawk is a symbol of royalty (and thus authority, sovereignty). The man's invites to hunt and pointing at the woman in the pendant portrait.
Old lady with glasses by Rembrandt, ca. 1635, Ossolineum in Wrocław.
Woman holding a child by Rembrandt, ca. 1635, Ossolineum in Wrocław.
Portrait of Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648) in a black hat by Rembrandt, 1643, Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
Portrait of Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648) as bathing Bathsheba by Rembrandt, 1643, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Jan Wypyski, starost of Merkine with a hawk by Rembrandt and workshop, 1643, Private collection.
Portrait of Jadwiga Wypyska née Łuszkowska (ca. 1616- after 1648) holding a fan by Rembrandt and workshop, 1643, Private collection.
Portraits of King Ladislaus IV Vasa and Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga by workshop of Giovanni Antonio Galli
Despite their origins in Norhern Europe, the Polish-Lithuanian branch of the Vasa dynasty, similar to the Jagiellons, mainained close relations with the Italian peninsula. Commonwealth aristocrats owned many portraits of famous Italians. The inventory of paintings in the collection of Princess Louise Charlotte Radziwill (1667-1695), drawn up in 1671, lists the portraits of Cardinal Charles Borromeo (188), Marshal Ottavio Piccolomini (243) and Cardinal Jules Mazarin (244) (after "Inwentarz galerii obrazów Radziwiłłów z XVII w." by Teresa Sulerzyska). Although due to the French origin of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga (from the Nevers branch of the Italian family), effigies of French aristocrats or probably painted in the French style, dominate in this inventory (items 276-291 and items 307-311).
In the collection of Cardinal Antonio Barberini (1607-1671), nephew of Pope Urban VIII, in Palazzo Barberini in Rome there was a portrait of ambassador of King Sigismund of Poland (il ritratto del Sig. re. Ambasciatore di Polonia, inventory 1644, item 108) and the 1649 inventory of the collection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679), another nephew of the pope, contains a large number of Polish-Lithuanian effigies, because as secretary of state he directed the foreign policy of the papacy. He most likely owned a portrait of Chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński (item 819), most probably by painter Antonelli, as well as an engraved portrait of Sigismund III (209) and his large portrait or rather of his successor, Ladislaus IV (782) in red Polish-Lithuanian żupan, who seemed for the author of the inventory to be "dressed like Dante" (del Re di Polonia vestiti tutto di Dante). Another note mentions a portrait of the Polish king in half-figure (822). An engraving depicting the victory of the newly elected monarch over the Muscovite troops who were besieging Smolensk (l'espugnatione dell esercito de Moscoviti dal Re di Polonia, 192), was probably also a gift from Ladislaus. In the collections of Don Taddeo Barberini (1603-1647), Prince of Palestrina and Gonfalonier of the Church, brother of Cardinals Francesco and Antonio, inventoried in the years 1648-1649, is the portrait of an unidentified Polish queen (Hedagres [Edvige-Hedwig?] Regina di Polonia, 305), while Cardinal Francesco's inventory of 1679 mentions "a portrait of a queen of Poland" (il ritratto d'una Regina di Polonia, 112) (after "Biuletyn historii sztuki", Volume 47, p. 153-154). The portrait of Ladislaus IV Vasa in coronation robes and a large crown, attributed to Jan Chrysostom Proszowski, is in the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta, Malta.
In the 17th century, like today when wealthy people order highly personalized items from distant locations because of their uniqueness and quality, portraits were commissioned from the best workshops in Europe. In 1646 Pierre Des Noyers, secretary of Queen Marie Louise, wrote that the chapel of the Royal Castle in Warsaw was "embellished with numerous paintings by the most famous painters". Four years later, in 1650, the queen ordered in Paris, through Des Noyers, a large painting representing her and her two husbands. The concept of the painting, executed by Justus van Egmont, was developed by Abbot Michel de Marolles - the queen as Roman godess Juno seated between two Jupiters, one celestial (Ladislaus IV Vasa) and the other terrestrial (John Casimir Vasa) - Une Junon représentée assise entre deux Jupiters, l'un céleste et l'autre terrestre. Cette Déesse plus belle qu'elle ne fut jamais sous le visage de la Reine (after "Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'art français", p. 34).
This practice was also very beneficial from a logistical point of view for a monarch wishing to glorify his dynasty and his country. Portraits ordered in Paris could be offered to the Queen of France (who was a cousin of the Vasas), or sent further to Madrid, Florence, Rome or London. The monarchs of Poland-Lithuania frequently sent precious and rich gifts to people abroad, such as to mentioned Michel de Marolles, who in 1649 received gilded vases and a gilded and carved silver box from the queen.
The Vasas also had a significant collection of ancient sculptures, the majority of which were undoubtedly acquired in Rome. The sculptures in Warsaw and Łobzów were destroyed during the Deluge (1655-1660) and some were looted by Frederick William (1620-1688), Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia (after "Świat polskich Wazów: eseje", p. 56, 299, 316).
In 2022, two portraits of a nobleman and his wife (Ritratto di nobile, Ritratto di gentildonna), attributed to a 17th-century Roman painter, were sold in Rome (oil on canvas, 84 x 67 and 84 x 68 cm, sold at Bolli & Romiti, May 18, 2022, lot 61-62). The two come "from a Roman palace". These paintings reproduce well-known effigies of King Ladislas IV Vasa and his second wife Marie Louise Gonzaga. The portrait of the king is a version of the effigy dating from around 1647, similar to the miniature in the National Museum in Warsaw (Min.726 MNW) and the portrait of the queen is a copy of a painting by Justus van Egmont in Royal Castle in Warsaw (ZKW/2283/ab). In the mentioned miniature Ladislaus has blond hair and mustache, and in the Roman portrait he has dark hair, indicating that the painter copied some general effigies of the king - drawings or prints. It is also possible that the bald Ladislaus wore different colored wigs or dyed his hair and beard, like the viceroy of Naples in 1625.
The style of both paintings is closely reminiscent of works attributed to Giovanni Antonio Galli, known as lo Spadarino, a member of the Caravaggisti, who painted the portrait of Ladislaus from the Gundulić collection, now at Kórnik Castle (MK 03369). Among the closest are the very dark portrait of Geronima Giustiniani (1520/30 - ca. 1600) as a widow kept at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy (inv. 606), painted posthumously before 1637, Ecce Homo from private collection in Madrid (sold at Christie's London, July 7, 2009, lot 22) and a Cherub sold in 2022 (Lucas Aste in Milan, September 20, 2022, lot 90). The portraits are not as finely painted as the mentioned portrait of Ladislaus at Kórnik, so it is possible that they are part of a series of effigies commissioned around 1647 and painted by Spadarino's workshop.
A very similar portrait of the queen, attributed to a follower of Pierre Mignard (18th century French school), was sold in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 2013 (oil on canvas, 50 x 42 cm, sold at Aguttes, September 24 2013, lot 12). Her dress is black, which could indicate that it was created around 1648, when the queen was in mourning after the death of Ladislas IV.
Portrait of King Ladislaus IV Vasa (1595-1648) by workshop of Giovanni Antonio Galli, called lo Spadarino, ca. 1647, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) by workshop of Giovanni Antonio Galli, called lo Spadarino, ca. 1647, Private collection.
Portrait of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga (1611-1667) by follower of Pierre Mignard, after 1648, Private collection.
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