Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by Tintoretto and circle of Titian
"The Queen is fresh and in such good health that I would not consider it a miracle if she were to become pregnant", reported from Warsaw on 29 January 1579, Giovanni Andrea Caligari (1527-1613), papal nuncio in Poland, about 56 years old Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, overweightness and obesity were considered symbols of sexual attractiveness and well-being" (Naheed Ali's "The Obesity Reality: A Comprehensive Approach to a Growing Problem", 2012, p. 7) and Anna's mother Bona Sforza, who visited Venice in 1556, was obese in her 40s and 50s, as visible in the cameo in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 17.190.869).
At the end of November 1575 Austrian legation arrived in Warsaw, officially promising the infanta marriage to Archduke Ernest of Austria (1553-1592), the son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, and her relative as a grandson of Anna Jagellonica (1503-1547). But the offer was accepted very restrainedly and cautiously, even coldly. Anna was to reply modestly that she depended on the entire Republic and would only do what custom and the general will would require of her, and that she "entrusted her orphanage to God's holy protection" (after "Anna Jagiellonka" by Maria Bogucka, p. 118). The young Archduke, 30 years younger than the potential bride, undoubtedly received her effigy. News coming mainly from Vienna and Venice informed the general public about the course of 1575 royal election in the Commonwealth. The Fuggers, a prominent group of European bankers, learned about the election of Emperor Maximilian as king of Poland from reports sent from Vienna on December 16, 1575, and then from Venice (newspaper of 30 December) (after "Z dziejów obiegu informacji w Europie XVI wieku" by Jan Pirożyński, p. 141).
In the Jagiellonian University Museum in Kraków there is a painting attributed to Tintorretto from about 1575 (after "Muzeum Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego" by Karol Estreicher, p. 100). This painting was offered to the Cracow Academy by Franciszek Karol Rogawski (1819-1888) in 1881 (oil on canvas, 110 x 96 cm, inventory number 2526). According to Rogawski's record, the portrait features the queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro (1454-1510), and was acquired at Sedelmayer's auction in Vienna. It had earlier belonged to the Viennese gallery of Joseph Daniel Böhm (1794-1865) and was also attributed to Paolo Veronese, Battista Zelloti and circle of Bernardino Licinio (after "Foreign Painting in the Collections of the Collegium Maius" by Anna Jasińska, p. 146).
The crown on her head alludes to a royal dignity, however, the woman's costume does not resemble well known effigies of the queen of Cyprus by Gentile Bellini and can be compered to the dress of La Belle Nani by Paolo Veronese (Louvre Museum), dated to about 1560, or to the costume of a lady from The Madonna of the Cuccina Family (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden), also by Veronese, painted around 1571. Her face has the appearance of not being taken live, as points out Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo ("Un Michele da Verona e uno Jacopo Tintoretto a Cracovia", p. 104), who also attribute the canvas to Tintorretto. Therefore the painting was created after another effigy, a drawing or a miniature.
The same woman was also depicted holding a cross and a book in a painting in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel (inventory number GK 491), a copy of which was in the Swedish royal collection (18th century copy of lost original is in the Gripsholm Castle, inventory number NMGrh 187). The painting in Kassel is attributed to circle of Titian or specifically to his pupil Girolamo di Tiziano, also known as Girolamo Dante, and was acquired before 1749. This effigy is a pendant to portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in white by Titian, identified by me. The woman bears strong resemblance to effigies of Anna Jagiellon, especially the miniature by Lucas Cranach the Younger in the Czartoryski Museum and her tomb sculpture at the Wawel Cathedral.
Polish-Lithuanian magnates owned a number of paintings by Titian and Tintorretto, like Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł, who according to the Catalogue of his picture gallery, published in 1835 (Katalog galeryi obrazow sławnych mistrzów z różnych szkół zebranych przez ś. p. Michała Hieronima xięcia Radziwiłła wojew. wil. teraz w Królikarni pod Warszawą wystawionych), had a copy of Venus of Urbino by Titian (Portrait of Princess Isabella Jagiellon nude, identified by me), item 439 of the Catalogue, or "Portrait of a lady in a dark green dress trimmed with gold braid. She takes a flower from the basket with her right hand, and leaning, holds a crimson scarf with her left hand. Painting well preserved. - Painted on canvas. Height: elbow: 1, inch 16.5, width: elbow: 1, inch 10" (Portret damy, w sukni ciemno-zielonej, galonem złotym obszytej. Prawą ręką bierze z koszyka kwiatek, lewą oparta, trzyma szal karmazynowy. Obraz dobrze zachowany. - Mal. na płót. Wys. łok. 1 cali 16 1/2, szer. łok. 1 cali 10, item 33, p. 13), a landscape with staffage (item 213, p. 64) and an Italian landscape with a tree (item 273, p. 83), all attributed to Titian or Saint Paul and Anthony in the desert, painted on wood, attributed to Tintorretto (item 365, p. 108).
In 1574 Anna decided to reactivate the postal service between Poland and Venice, suspended in 1572 after death of her brother, and to do so at her own expense (after "Viaggiatori polacchi in Italia" by Emanuele Kanceff, p. 106). The Queen, heiress of the Neapolitan sums, used Montelupi's postal facilities, who through their own agents, maintained close contact with the bankers in Naples, who sent them sums of money with great frequency (after "Saeculum Christianum", Vol. 1-2, p. 36).
Anna was a well known benefactor of the Cracow Academy (now Jagiellonian University) and she visted it twice on 20 July 1576 and on 24 April 1584. Three days after her last visit she sent the doctors of the Academy a mug of pure gold and a few beautifully bound books.
If Elizabeth I (1533-1603), hereditary Queen of England, favoured the French fashion, especially "when the Anjou marriage negotiation were at their height" in about 1579 (Janet Arnold's "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd", 2020, p. 188), the elected Queen of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic, could prefer the fashion of the Venetian Serenissima.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Jacopo Tintoretto, ca. 1575, Jagiellonian University Museum in Kraków.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) holding a cross and a book by circle of Titian, 1560-1578, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) holding a cross and a book by Georg Engelhard Schröder after original by circle of Titian, 1724-1750, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Henry of Valois by workshop of Tintoretto
After the death of Sigismund II Augustus in 1572, Catherine of Medici, Queen of France, willing to make her favourite son Henry of Valois, Duke of Anjou the king of Poland, sent her court dwarf Jan Krasowski, called Domino to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under the guise of visiting his family in his homeland, he was to make some inquiries and explore the mood in the Commonwealth. Catherine used all her power to offer the crown to her son by influencing the noble electors.
In order to be more agreeable to the Ottoman Empire and strengthen a Polish-Ottoman alliance, on 16 May 1573, Polish-Lithuanian nobles chose Henry as the first elected monarch of the Commonwealth. He was officially crowned on 21 February 1574.
Expecting that Henry will marry her and she will become a Queen, Infanta Anna Jagiellon the wealthiest woman in the country and a sister of his predecessor, ordered French lilies to be embroidered on her dresses.
Despite the fact that he arrived to Poland with a large retinue of his young male lovers, known as the mignons (French for "the darlings"), including René de Villequier, François d'O and his brother Jean, Louis de Béranger du Guast and especially his beloved Jacques de Lévis, comte de Caylus (or Quélus), and that "he even flattered the Polish lords by cleverly adopting their attire", as wrote Venetian envoy Girolamo Lippomano, he was not feeling well in the unknown country.
After death of his brother Charles IX, Catherine urged him to return to France. During the night of 18/19 June 1574, Henry secretly fled the country.
The portrait of a man in black hat by workshop of Tintoretto from private collection in Milan is almost identical with the portrait of Henry depicted against the wall hanging with his coat of arms as King of Poland in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest by Italian painter (inventory 52.602) and his portrait holding a crown in the Doge's Palace in Venice (Sala degli Stucchi) by workshop of Tintoretto.
It bears no distinction, no reference to his royal status, as in mentioned two portraits in Budapest and Venice, he is depicted as a simple nobleman. It is higly probable then that it was one of a series of state portraits commissioned by Anna in Venice before Henry's coronation, as a clear signal that he should marry her before becoming a king.
The Infanta was most probably well aware of his inclination towards men, as apart from Krasowski, there were also other Polish dwarfs at the French court. Raised at the multicultural court of the Jagiellons, where people spoke Latin, Italian, Ruthenian, Polish and German, they were perfect diplomats. In 1572 king Sigismund Augustus sent to Charles IX, four dwarfs and in October that year, Claude La Loue brought another three dwarfs from Poland as a gift from Emperor Maximilian II, father of Charles IX's wife Elisabeth of Austria (after Auguste Jal's "Dictionnaire critique de biographie et d'histoire", 1867, p. 896).
A portrait, said to be Mariana of Austria with a female dwarf wearing a wimple from a private collection in Spain, lost, is very similar to the portrait of Elisabeth of Austria in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which is attributed to Giacomo de Monte (Netherlandish Jakob de Monte, according to some sources). Painter of similar name, Giovanni del Monte, possibly Giacomo's brother, is mentioned as a court painter of Sigismund Augustus before 1557. It is therefore highly probable that the portrait of Queen of France with her dwarf was created for or at the initiative of the Polish-Lithuanian court.
Portrait of Henry of Valois, elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Tintoretto, ca. 1573, Private collection.
Portrait of Elisabeth of Austria, wife of Charles IX as a widow with a female dwarf wearing a wimple by Jakob de Monte, after 1574, Private collection, lost.
Portraits of Joachim Frederick of Brzeg by Adriaen Thomasz. Key
In 1574 Joachim Frederick (1550-1602), the eldest son of George II the Pious, Duke of Brzeg-Oława-Wołów, arrived to Kraków. He was sent there by his uncle Elector John George as a representative of Brandenburg during the coronation of the newly elected King of Poland, French Prince Henry of Valois. During his youth, Joachim Frederick spent several years at the court of his uncle. The next year, in 1575, he attended the coronation of Rudolf II as king of the Romans in Regensburg.
Joachim Frederick was a representative of the Silesian Piasts, descendants of the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. Also Emperor Maximilian II, whose son Archduke Ernest of Austria was a candidate for the throne in the free election of 1573, sent a delegation to the royal coronation entrusting it to another Piast - Wenceslaus III Adam, Duke of Cieszyn. Despite the disappointment of his son's defeat, it was necessary to strive to maintain good relations with Poland, mainly due to concerns about Silesia. "Towards the King of Poland he cannot help and his Majesty is filled with regret, seeing him occupy that office, which he designated for his son, [...], and also because this king, besides being powerful and bordering on a great distance, can lay claim to Silesia, a very important province", a Venetian envoy Giovanni Correr reported on May 30, 1574 (finally drawn up on August 29, 1578). Oratio Malaspina wrote from Prague to Cardinal Como on July 10, 1579, that the Polish envoy "came to renew the ancient confederations between the Kingdom of Poland and the province of Silesia" and Bishop Giovanni Andrea Caligari wrote to the same Cardinal Como from Vilnius on August 10, 1579 that "In addition to the things in Hungary, the king could easily take Silesia and Moravia from the emperor, and he would have help from all those German princes who do not love the house of Austria, and there are many of them" (after "Księstwo legnickie ..." by Ludwik Bazylow, p. 482).
Abraham de Bruyn (d. 1587), a Flemish engraver from Antwerp, who established himself at Cologne about the year 1577, created several depictions of Polish-Lithuanian noblemen, however, only three engravings of people from other social spheres related to the territory of today's Poland are known. They represent the inhabitants of Gdańsk (four patricians from Gdańsk and nine women of different classes) and two Silesian women, which clearly indicate the main areas of Netherlandish presence in this part of Europe. While Martin Kober, a Silesian painter born in Wrocław become around 1583 the court painter of the Polish king Stephen Bathory, the leading artists working in Silesia in the second half of the 16th century were a Dutch painter Tobias Fendt (d. 1576), educated in the studio of Lambert Lombard in Liège and active in Wrocław since 1565, and sculptor Gerhard Hendrik (1559-1615) from Amsterdam, who between 1578-1585 lived in Gdańsk and after traveling to France, Italy and Germany, he settled in Wrocław in 1587.
On May 19, 1577, Joachim Frederick married Anna Maria of Anhalt. After the death of his father in 1586, he received the Duchy of Brzeg to which, however, his mother Barbara of Brandenburg (1527-1595) was entitled to as a widow.
In the National Museum in Warsaw there is a portrait of a young man in French costume - black satin doublet and a ruff (oil on panel, 47 x 33 cm, inventory number M.Ob.819 MNW, earlier 186634). It comes from the collecting point of the Ministry of Culture and Art Paulinum in Jelenia Góra, Silesia and was acquired as a result of the so-called restitution campaign in 1945 (after "Early Netherlandish, Dutch, Flemish and Belgian Paintings 1494–1983" by Hanna Benesz and Maria Kluk, item 351). It is attributed to Adriaen Thomasz. Key, a Flemish painter active in Antwerp, who adopted the Key family name after taking over the workshop of his master Willem Key in 1567. Adriaen specialized in portraiture and worked successfully for wealthy merchants and the court. He was a Calvinist, but continued to live in the city after the Fall of Antwerp in 1585, when all Protestants were given four years to settle their affairs and leave the city. He died in Antwerp in or after 1589. According to inscription in upper part of the painting the man was 24 in 1574 (1574 / Æ T A 24), exactly as Joachim Frederick, born September 29, 1550 in Brzeg, when he arrived to Kraków for the coronation of French Prince Henry of Valois as King of Poland.
The same man, in similar costume, was depicted in another painting attributed to Key, today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (Gemäldegalerie, oil on panel, 98.5 x 71 cm, inventory number 808), verifiable in the gallery in 1720, therefore most probably coming from the old collections of the House of Habsburg. Because of similar dimensions, this portrait is considered to be a counterpart to the portrait of a lady dated '1575' (Gemäldegalerie, oil on panel, 99.5 x 70.8, inventory number 811), however, the composition is not matching. The woman is much larger when comparing the pictures, which is very unusual for a European portraiture, even if she was actually taller. As the numbers indicate, they were not included in the inventory at the same time and therefore were not previously considered a pair.
Small differences in these images (in Warsaw and Vienna) are noticeable, such as the color of the eyes, but a comparison with the portraits of Philip II, King of Spain by Anthonis Mor and workshop, proves that even the same workshop interpreted the same image differently.
The man bear a strong resemblance to Barbara of Brandenburg, Joachim Frederick's mother, from her statue above the main gate of the Brzeg Castle (created by Andreas Walther and Jakob Warter, between 1551-1553) and his grandmother Magdalena of Saxony (1507-1534), daughter of Barbara Jagiellon (1478-1534), Duchess of Saxony. In portraits by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop (Art Institute of Chicago, Grunewald hunting lodge in Berlin), the color of Magdalena's eyes is different (brown/blue). The shape of the nose is especially characteristic in these family members.
Portrait of Joachim Frederick of Brzeg (1550-1602), aged 24 by Adriaen Thomasz. Key, 1574, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Joachim Frederick of Brzeg (1550-1602) by Adriaen Thomasz. Key, ca. 1575, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon and Sidonia von Borcke by Adriaen Thomasz. Key
Two paintings by German school in the Von Borcke Palace in Starogard, north of Szczecin, both lost during World War II, depicted members of the Jagiellonian dynasty. One, created by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder and representing pregnant Barbara Radziwill with a midwife, was traditionally identified as the most famous member of the Von Borcke family - Sidonia the Sorceress (1548-1620), the other was a signed effigy of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575), Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
Von Borcke, a Pomeranian noble family of Slavic origin, originally known as Borek or z Borku and having two red wolves in their coat of arms, were owners of the large estates in Pomerania with several towns, including Łobez, Resko, Strzmiele, Węgorzyno and Pęzino Castle. Since the times of Maćko Bork (Matzko von Borck), who died in about 1426, the family had some ties to the Jagiellons and Poland. His great-granddaughter, mentioned Sidonia, lived at the court of Duke Philip I in Wolgast and became a lady-in-waiting to his daughter princess Amelia of Pomerania (1547-1580). In 1569 the Polish court planned to marry Amelia to Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia and Polish vassal. The son of Philip I, Prince Ernest Louis (1545-1592), fall in love with Sidonia and promised her marriage. However, the wedding did not take place, as the prince, under pressure from his family, withdrew from his promise and in 1577 he married Sophia Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1561-1631), granddaughter of Hedwig Jagiellon (1513-1573), Electress of Brandenburg, daughter of Sigismund I. In 1556 Sophia Hedwig's grandfather, Henry V (II) of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1489-1568), married a daughter of Sigismund I - Sophia Jagiellon. In 1619 in Wolfenbüttel, grandson of Duke Philip I, Duke Ulrich of Pomerania (1589-1622) married a great-granddaughter of Hedwig Jagiellon and Henry V, Princess Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1595-1650). The family ties between the ruling families of Poland-Lithuania, Pomerania and Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel were therefore pretty strong at that time. Two known portraits of Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in French costume and large cartwheel farthingale (in the Royal Collection, RCIN 407222 and in the Gymnasium in Szczecinek, lost during World War II) were painted by a Netherlandish painter, attributed to Jacob van Doordt, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Daniël Mijtens or Paulus Moreelse. The Dukes of Pomerania frequently commissioned their effigies from the best foreign artists and the so-called "Book of effigies" (Visierungsbuch) of Duke Philip II of Pomerania (Pomeranian State Museum in Szczecin, lost during World War II) was a collection of their likenesses, some of which were attributed to circle of Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder. The so-called Croy tapestry in the Pommersches Landesmuseum representing the Duke Philip I with his family as well as the family of his wife Maria of Saxony was made in 1554 by Peter Heymans, a Dutch weaver, in Szczecin. The composition of the tapestry was based on the graphics by Lucas Cranach the Elder and it is possible that Cranach's workshop in Wittenberg created the cartoon to this work.
The painting of Madonna and Child with cherries by circle of the Netherlandish painter Quentin Matsys was acquired by Duke Bogislaw X (Pomeranian State Museum in Greifswald), some jewels of the Dukes of Pomerania from the late 16th and early 17th century are attributed to Jacob Mores the Elder, active in Hamburg (National Museum in Szczecin), a cup in the shape of a peacock, created by Joachim Hiller in Wrocław in Silesia and a crystal bowl made in Paris and framed in Szczecin, both owned by Erdmuthe of Brandenburg, Duchess of Pomerania are in Green Vault in Dresden. The dukes also commissioned and purchased many exquisite objects from the center of European goldsmithing - Augsburg, like the famous Pomeranian Art Cabinet of Duke Philip II, silver plaques by Zacharias Lencker from Darłowo Altar or ivory veneered and painted box with exotic parrots, fish, and other animals and coat of arms of Philip II of Pomerania and his wife (Courtauld Institute of Art).
Some contacts with Italy and Italian artists in this part of Europe are also documented. In 1496 Duke Bogislaw X went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, leaving his duchy under the regency of his wife Anna Jagiellon (1476-1503), sister of Sigismund I. He traveled to Venice and he was received in Rome by the Pope Alexander VI Borgia, who presented him with a ceremonial sword (nowdays in the collection of the Hohenzollern Castle, scabbard, in the Monbijou Palace in Berlin, was lost during World War II). Mannerist west wing of the Castle in Szczecin was built between 1573 and 1582 by Italian architects Wilhelm Zachariasz Italus and Antonio Guglielmo (Antonius Wilhelm) for Duke John Frederick (1542-1600) and Giovanni Battista Perini (Parine) from Florence created the painting to the ducal chapel and duke's portrait. Portrait of Duke Boguslaus XIV (1580-1637) is in the Villa di Poggio a Caiano, one of the most famous Medici villas near Florence.
In 1576 de Hane (d'Anna) family from Brabant, settled in Lübeck in Germany, about 290 km west of Szczecin, ordered a painting in Venice for the St. Catherine's Church in Lübeck. This large canvas depicting the Raising of Lazarus (140 x 104 cm) and representing some members of the family in the background, was painted by Tintoretto (signed and dated: IACO TINTORE / VENETIS F. / 1576). Around 1575 other Venetian painter Parrasio Micheli created a large painting depicting Allegory of the birth of the Infante Ferdinand, son of Philip II of Spain, today in the Prado Museum in Madrid (oil on canvas, 182 x 223 cm, inventory number P000479). The work was created in Venice with a portrait of Infante's mother Anna of Austria (1549-1580), Queen of Spain, granddaughter of Anna Jagellonica (1503-1547), Queen of Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary. It was suggested that the painting was sent by Micheli to Philip II without a commission, to win the favor of the monarch, however the inscription in Latin in upper part of the paiting "The World celebrates that Venus has given birth" (CELEBRIS MUNDI VENERIS PARTUS), suggest that it could be a gift from somone else - Infanta Anna Jagiellon, a candidate in free election of 1576, second royal election to be held in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Rich Infanta of Poland and relative of the Queen of Spain, whose portrait by Parrasio Micheli is in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, could easily afford such a gift. The Spanish monarchs undoubtedly reciprocated with similar gifts and a large painting by Alonso Sánchez Coello depicting King Philip II of Spain banqueting with his family and courtiers (The Royal feast), created in 1596 (signed and dated: ASC ANNO 1596), purchased by the National Museum in Warsaw in 1928 from Antoni Kolasiński's collection (oil on canvas, 110 x 202 cm, inventory number M.Ob.295, earlier 73635) was possibly such a gift. Micheli also painted the Dead Christ venerated by Pope Pius V, which could be another gift to powerful King of Spain ordered in Venice, this time from the Pope (Prado Museum, P000284). Netherlandish painters created effigies of both Philip II and his wife. A small portrait of the King of Spain from private collection (oil on panel, 46.4 x 35.6 cm), identified by me, is attributed to Adriaen Thomasz. Key, a portrait of Anna of Austria in Alte Pinakothek in Munich (inventory number 4859) was created by Flemish painter (attributed to Justus van Egmont) and very similar preparatory drawing in Albertina Museum in Vienna (inventory number 14269) is also attributed to Key (also to Antonis Mor or Peter Candid, similar to signed portrait painting by Alonso Sánchez Coello in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, inventory number 1733).
In her last years the Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Sophia Jagiellon, retired to the families residence in Schöningen, where she laid out the famous pleasure garden, which no longer exists today. She remodelled her residencies at Schöningen and Jerxheim in Renaissance style, according to the taste of the time. Her husband Henry V died in 1568 and two years later, in the spring of 1570, Sophia converted to Lutheranism. Most likely around that time a tombstone of Henry V, his two sons, killed in the Battle of Sievershausen in 1553, was created in Marienkirche in Wolfenbüttel. The tombstone is attributed to Jürgen Spinnrad and after the Duchess' death Adam Lecuir (Liquier Beaumont), a sculptor trained in Antwerp, created her relief sculpture basing on an effigy from the time of her marriage (1556). When her stepson tried to limit her authority as a widow, she appealed to Emperor Maximilian II and promised him to support Archduke Ernest's candidacy for the Polish throne and his marriage to her sister Anna. However, Stanisław Sędziwoj Czarnkowski, a supporter of the emperor's son, complained in a letter to Sophia that he tried to persuade Anna to accept the portrait of Archduke Ernest, "which Her Majesty by any mean whatever didn't want to" and further reports that "for four Sundays a picture of a French prince hung at her place". Earlier, in April 1570, Sophia's brother Sigismund II Augustus sent Czarnkowski as his envoy for arbitration in affairs with her stepson, Henry's successor, Julius (1528-1589).
The Duchess was fluent in Polish, Italian, Latin and German, and she left a lively correspondence with more than 184 correspondents. She proved herself to be a good financial manager. Sophia had a reputation as a very rich woman with a large amount of cash and borrowing money at interest. The cities of Leipzig - 20,000 thalers, and Magdeburg - 30,000 thalers, took the largest 5% loans from the Duchess, as well as the Elector of Brandenburg, John George - 20,000 thalers and her stepsister Hedwig - 1,000 thalers. Her regular customer-debtor was her stepson, Julius, who often borrowed large sums (e.g. 15,000 thalers in November 1572). She also invested money in various goods, both movable and immovable (after "Zofia Jagiellonka ..." by Jan Pirożyński, p. 70). In her last will, she left Stanisław Sędziwój and his brother Wojciech Sędziwój Czarnkowski (his portrait by Adriaen Thomasz. Key is in Vienna) 500 ducats each.
Duke Julius studied in Leuven (Louvain) in the Habsburg Netherlands and visited France in 1550. Under his rule many Netherlandish artists, architects and engineers were employed by the ducal court of Wolfenbüttel, like Willem de Raet from 's-Hertogenbosch (1574–1576), entrusted with the modernisation of the waterways, recruited for Duke Julius by his compatriot, painter Willem Remmers, or a painter Hans Vredeman de Vries (1587–1591), who created a portrait of Sophia's niece Hedwig of Brandenburg (1540-1602), Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and who later moved to Gdańsk (1592-1595). Ruprecht Lobri from the Low Countries become the personal valet of the duke.
After discovery of the deposits of decorative stones (marble and alabaster) in his territory in the early 1570s Julius contracted stone cutters from Mechelen: Hendrick van den Broecke, Augustin Adriaens and Jan Eskens. The duke offered alabaster portals to his stepmother Sophia Jagiellon, and the magistrates of Gdańsk and Bremen and sent letters with samples, such as tabletops and dishes, to Duke Henry XI of Legnica and Duke Albert Frederick of Prussia (after "Netherlandish artists and craftsmen ..." by Aleksandra Lipinska), both having close ties with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Sophia bequeathed half of her inheritance to her sisters and the other half to the Commonwealth institutions. Among other things, she decreed that marble tombs should be built in the Wawel Cathedral and that a marble slab engraved with the genealogy of the Jagiellons should be placed in the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
The 1575 inventories of the collection of the Duchess of Brunswick list more than 100 paintings and 31 portraits, including images of Sigismund Augustus, the children of her sister Catherine Jagiellon - Sigismund and Anna Vasa, and king Henry of Valois, as well as one historical painting depicting the beheading in 1568 of Lamoral of Egmont and Philip de Montmorency, Count of Horn, the leaders of the anti-Spanish opposition in the Low Countries, most probably by Flemish painter. Her book collection consisted of about 500 items, many of which had beautiful, luxurious bindings. The Map of Poland (Poloniae Recens Descriptio. Polonia Sarmatie Europee quondam pars fuit ...) in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, created in 1562 by Hieronymus Cock in Antwerp, was most likely commissioned by Sophia Jagiellon.
In the National Museum in Warsaw there is a portrait of a woman with a gold chain around the waist, attributed to Adriaen Thomasz. Key (oil on panel, 74 x 52.5 cm, inventory number M.Ob.822 MNW, earlier 34666). It was purchased in 1935 from the collection of Jan Popławski and in the 19th century it was in the Shchukin collection in Moscow. Her costume resembles the one seen in the portrait of Ermgart von Bemmelsberg by Westphalian school, painted in 1574 (private collection), portrait of a woman by Adriaen Thomasz. Key, dated '1578' (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, 1036), and costumes of women of Brabant and Gdańsk from Omnium pene Europae ... by Flemish engraver Abraham de Bruyn, published in 1581. Her ruff is similar to the one visible in the mentioned portrait of Queen of Spain by Flemish painter in Munich and in the effigy of Joachim Frederick of Brzeg (1550-1602) by Adriaen Thomasz. Key, dated '1574' (National Museum in Warsaw, M.Ob.819). Her face and pose resemble other effigies of the Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, identified by me, especially the portrait by circle of Titian in Kassel.
A portrait of a lady in similar costume, also attributed to Key, is in private collection (oil on panel, 96.5 x 65.1 cm, sold Christie's London, April 20, 2005, lot 17), earlier, presumably, by descent at Studley Royal, Yorkshire. The woman wear a red coral bracelet, a fertility symbol in ancient Rome, as in portraits of young brides by Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio, also believed to be a love talisman and perhaps even an aphrodisiac. According to Latin inscription: AN DNI 1576 (upper left) and ÆTATIS · SVÆ 28 (upper right), the woman was 28 in 1576, exacly as Sidonia von Borcke, born in the Wolf's Nest (Wulfsberg or Vulversberg - Strzmiele Castle) in 1548, when she was a lady-in-waiting to princess Amelia of Pomerania and Prince Ernest Louis fall in love with her.
Portrait of Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575), Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg by Adriaen Thomasz. Key, ca. 1574, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Sidonia von Borcke (1548-1620), aged 28 by Adriaen Thomasz. Key, 1576, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of George Radziwill by workshop of the Bassanos or Sofonisba Anguissola
"In the name of the Lord, in the year 1575. On the 11th of October, which then fell on Tuesday, I left Buivydiškės. I left there my sick brother, the great court marshal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Nicolaus Christopher, and went to Italy with my younger brother, Albert", wrote in Latin in a diary of his journey George Radziwill (1556-1600), future cardinal (after "Dziennik podróży do Włoch Jerzego Radziwiłła w 1575 roku" by Angelika Modlińska-Piekarz).
Born in Italian style villa of his father in Lukiškės in Vilnius, George was raised and educated as a Calvinist. After his mother's death, in 1562, he spent some time at the royal court (perhaps as a page). Between 1571-1573, together with his brothers Albert and Stanislaus, he studied in Leipzig. In the summer of 1573, he accompanied his brother Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan" to France and after his return, together with his younger brothers, he converted to Catholicism on April 11, 1574.
Through Warsaw (October, 24-26), where he spent time with Infanta Anna Jagiellon, and Vienna (November, 12-20), where he met Emperor Maximilian II and his sons and where he saw "a beast of strange size, an elephant, sent as a gift to the emperor by Philip, king of Spain" on December 3 or 4 he arrived to Venice, the city "which, because of its beauty and its location, undoubtedly holds the priority palm among the cities of the whole world". He went to stay at the Magnificent White Lion, a German inn. He left the city in a hurry two days later, because of the suspicion of the plague, but during his brief stay he admired the St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Arsenal. "After leaving the arsenal, I was driven around the city for two hours, where I saw many magnificent and very beautiful buildings, especially in the great street that stretches the entire width of the city, in colloquial language it is called the Grand Canal, the beauty of which I could never get enough of". He did not specify which places he visited, it is possible that he was also taken to the famous Venetian painting workshops. George commissioned works of art in Italy for himself and his brother, like in 1579, when one of the Roman painters made an altar for Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan" (after "Zagraniczna edukacja Radziwiłłów: od początku XVI do połowy XVII wieku" by Marian Chachaj, p. 97).
From Venice he went to Padua and then via Florence further to Rome to study philosophy and theology. In the years 1575-1581 he stayed in Italy, Spain and Portugal. In 1581, already as a bishop (from 1579), he was strongly condemned by King Stephen Bathory for the incident with the confiscation and burning of Protestant books in Vilnius. That same year, in 1581 he was again in Venice, together with his elder brother Nicolaus Christopher (after "Ateneum Wilenskie", Volume 11, p. 158). Two years later, in 1583, he was ordained a priest (April 10), consecrated a bishop (December 26), and received the cardinal's beret in Vilnius on April 4, 1584. In March 1586 he set out for Rome, where on June 26 he received the cardinal's hat from Pope Sixtus V.
A two sided miniature in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (inventory number 1890, 4051, oil on copper, 10.2 cm) is on one side a reduced and simplified version of portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" by Francesco Bassano the Younger or workshop, created between 1580-1586, identified by me. The composition of the miniatures is not similar, so they were probably not created at the same time. Both portraits, although close to miniatures by the Bassanos in the Uffizi (1890, 4072, 9053, 9026), also relate to works of Sofonisba Anguissola, who moved to Sicily (1573), and later Pisa (1579) and Genoa (1581) and who could copy the paintings by the Bassanos. The young man in a ruff is presenting a ring on his finger, comparable to that visible in portraits of cardinal George Radziwill, possibly a souvenir of conversion, and his face resemble other effigies of the cardinal.
According to Silvia Meloni, a copy of the recto of this miniature is kept in Udine, noth of Venice, which presents on the back the eagle testing its children in the sun. Eagle was a symbol of the Radziwills and cardinal George used it in his coat of arms, like the one published in 1598 in Krzysztof Koryciński's In felicem ad vrbem reditvm [...] Georgii S. R. E. cardinalis Radziwil nvncvpati [...]. All travelers returning from Venice to Poland or going to Rome from Poland trough Venice had to drive close to Udine. According to George's diary he was in San Daniele del Friuli near Udine in 1575.
Miniature portrait of George Radziwill (1556-1600) by workshop of the Bassanos or Sofonisba Anguissola, 1575-1581, Uffizi Gallery.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Bassano and circle of Veronese
On 15 December 1575, in Wola near Warsaw, infanta Anna Jagiellon and her husband Stephen Bathory, Voivode of Transylvania were elected as monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Since the end of the 1570s Anna's court was bursting with life and she kept lively correspondence with many Italian princes, like Francesco I de Medici and his mistress Bianca Cappello, the daughter of Venetian nobleman Bartolomeo Cappello, exchanging news on politics and fashion, sending and receiving gifts (cosmetics, medicaments, crystal bowls and cups, luxury fancy goods, small pieces of furniture e.g. marble tables, silver incrusted boxes etc.) and even courtiers. "From February of 1581 to December of that year, several letters from the agent of Bianca Cappello [...] Alberto Bolognetti, described the perfect female dwarf he found for Cappello in Warsaw; the nana is described as having great "proportions" and being "very beautiful." The nana's travels through Cracow and Vienna were fully documented [...]" (Touba Ghadessi's "Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance", p. 63).
The portrait of a lady by circle of Paolo Veronese from the 1570s, traditionally identified as effigy of Catherine Cornaro (1454-1510), Queen of Cyprus, and known in at least three variants (in Vienna, Montauban and private collection), bears a strong resemblance to the miniature of Anna when a princess of Poland-Lithuania from about 1553. Also the gold cross pendant set with diamonds, visible on the portrait, is very similar to the one depicted on the print in the Hermitage Museum showing Anna (inventory ОР-45839).
The picture in Vienna (Kunsthistorisches Museum, inventory number GG 33) was painted in the same period and in the same style as the portrait of a bearded man with hourglass and astrolabe attributed to Francesco Bassano (Kunsthistorisches Museum, inventory number 5775), identifed by me as the portrait of king Stephen Bathory, Anna's husband. The portrait of the king was most probably offered before 1582 to Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria for his collection in the Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, while the "portrait of the Queen of Cyprus" was initially installed at the Stallburg, where various holdings of the Habsburg family were brought together and displayed, and later transferred to the Belvedere in Vienna (after "Wien. Fremdenführer durch die Kaiserstadt und Umgebung" by Dr. J. Spetau, p. 122). Like in the case of the Queen's likeness in her widowhood by Martin Kober, acquired from the Imperial collection in Vienna in 1936 (Wawel Royal Castle), her Habsburg relatives undoubtedly also received other effigies from different periods of her life. The Queen also sent them other valuable gifts, like oriental fabrics, also visble in described portaits by Francesco Bassano. The 1619 inventory of the estate of Emperor Matthias lists several textiles of Ottoman and Safavid manufacture offered by Anna to either Matthias or his brother Emperor Rudolf II, veils and handkerchiefs (after "Objects of Prestige and Spoils of War" by Barbara Karl, p. 136).
The portrait of a woman from Barbini-Breganze collection in Venice, today in Stuttgart, bears a strong resemblance to the portrait of Anna by Tintoretto in the Jagiellonian University (pose and features) and to her effigy in Vienna holding a zibellino (features and garments), also by Tintoretto.
Anna's strong familial and intellectual connections to Italy and a reputation as an advocate for women's educational pursuits within the scientific disciplines, persuaded Camilla Erculiani, an Italian apothecary, writer and natural philosopher from Padua in the Venetian Republic, to dedicate her work "Letters on Natural Philosophy" (Lettere di philosophia naturale), published in Kraków in 1584, to Anna. The Queen was also known for promoting education of girls at her court (after "Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy" by Meredith K. Ray, p. 118).
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Musée Ingres in Montauban.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in a robe of pink damask over a patterned brocade dress by Parrasio Micheli, 1575-1585, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
Allegorical portrait of Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Montemezzano
In July 1572 died Sigismund II Augustus, leaving the throne vacant and all the wealth of the Jagiellon dynasty to his three sisters. Anna, the only member of the dynasty present in the Commonwealth, received only a small portion of inheritance, but still became a very rich woman. Sigismund's death changed her status from a neglected spinster to the heiress of the Jagiellon dynasty.
In June 1574 an unexpected turn of events made her one of the favorites in the second election, after Henry of Valois left Poland and headed back to France. Jan Zamoyski reconciled different camps promoting Anna to the crown. On December 15, 1575, Anna was hailed the King of Poland in the Old Town Square in Warsaw. Jan Kostka and Jan Zamoyski, representing the parliament, came to her to ask for her consent. It was then that Anna was supposed to utter the phrase that she "would rather be a queen than a king's wife". A day later, the nobility recognized her definitively as the "Piast" king and Stephen Báthory, Voivode of Transylvania, was proposed as her husband.
The painting identified as allegory of Pomona from the old collection of the Czartoryski Museum bears a great resemblance to other effigies of Anna. A woman in rich costume is being offered a basket with apples, denoted as symbol of the royal power and a symbol of the bride in ancient Greek thought, and pink roses, which represented innocence and first love - Báthory was the first husband to the 52 years old queen.
In the catalogue of the Czartoryski Museum from 1914 by Henryk Ochenkowski (Galerja obrazów: katalog tymczasowy), this painting was attributed to "probably Parrasio Micheli" (item 188) and listed together with another painting by the 16th century Venetian School and depicting "Death of the Doge? Three ladies at the bedside. In the background the dogaressa, dictating a letter" (oil on canvas, 101 x 75 cm, item 187), which was most probably lost during World War II. This description fits perfectly with the facts known about the last moments of king Sigismund I the Old, who died in his Wawel residence in Kraków on April 1, 1548, at the age of eighty-one. On February 3, the young king Sigismund Augustus left for Lithuania and the old king was in Kraków with his wife Bona and three daughters Sophia, Anna and Catherine. Accoring to Stanisław Orzechowski the young king who arrived from Vilnius on May 24, was welcomed by his mother "with her three daughters, and with a company of noble matrons" (Bona mater cum filiabus tribus ac cum matronarum nobilium turba adventantem regem expectabat) (after "Zgon króla Zygmunta I ..." by Marek Janicki, p. 92-93). Bona undoubtedly wrote a letter urging him to return and either she or her daughter Anna could commission a painting commemorating the event.
Allegorical portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Francesco Montemezzano, 1575-1585, Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Anna Jagiellon by workshop of Tintoretto and Francesco Montemezzano
"There is a bridge across the Vistula near Warsaw, built at a great cost of Queen Anna, sister of King Sigismund Augustus, famous all over the Crown", wrote Venetian-born Polish writer Alessandro Guagnini dei Rizzoni (Aleksander Gwagnin) in his book Sarmatiae Europeae descriptio (Description of Sarmatian Europe), printed in Kraków in 1578.
On 5 April 1573, during the Royal Election after death of king Sigismund Augustus, the longest bridge of Renaissance Europe was opened to the public. The construction cost 100,000 florins, and Anna Jagiellon, willing to become a Queen, also allocated her own funds for this purpose. It was a great achievement and major political success praised by many poets like Jan Kochanowski, Sebastian Klonowic, Andrzej Zbylitowski and Stanisław Grochowski.
The bridge, built of huge oaks and pines brought from Lithuania, was 500 meters long, 6 meters wide, it consisted of 22 spans and stood on 15 supports/towers that protected the construction. The construction, however, required constant renovations and was partially broken several times by ice floes on the Vistula River. It was severely damaged after Anna's coronation (1 May 1576) and in his letters from 15 August 1576 to the starosts, King Stephen Bathory recommended the delivery of wood for repair. Again in 1578 and the renovation was managed by Franciszek Wolski, voit of Tykocin. The wood material was floated from the San river. The works were completed in 1582 and "Anna Jagiellon, Queen of Poland, spouse, sister and daughter of grand kings, ordered the construction of this brick fortified tower", according to inscription on bronze plaque in Museum of Warsaw commemorating the fortified Bridge Gate.
Anna, as her brother, undeniably ordered some portraits to commemorate her role in construction and maintenance of the bridge. The portrait from private collection in Milan, attributed to Tintoretto or Veronese and depicting a blond woman in a crown against the view of a bridge, fit perfectly. Her facial features resemble greatly the portrait by Tintoretto in the Jagiellonian University Museum.
The painter depicted the bridge only symbolically in a small window. The recipients of the painting should know what it is about, there was no need to change the convention of Venetian portrait painting to show the whole construction.
On her gown there is a symbol of six pointed star, in use since ancient times as a reference to the Creation and in Christian theology - star of Bethlehem. The star, was symbolic of light and of the preaching of Saint Dominic, who was the first to teach the Rosary as a form of meditative prayer, and become an attribute of Virgin Mary, as Queen of Heaven and as Stella Maris. The title, Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), is one of the oldest and most widespread titles applied to Virgin Mary. It came to be seen as allegorical of Mary's role as "guiding star" on the way to Christ.
The crown of stars is visible in a painting by Tintoretto in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (acquired from Francesco Pajaro in Venice in 1841), created in about 1570 showing Madonna and Child venerated by St. Marc and St. Luke, and in a painting of Madonna of the Rosary from Sandomierz, created by Polish painter in 1599 in which old Queen Anna was depicted with other members of her family and Saint Dominic.
Thanks to Queen Anna's efforts the rosary confraternities, which mainly existed in Kraków were extended to all of Poland on 6 January 1577 and the annual feast of rosary was solemnly celebrated throughout the Commonwealth. She also donated, among other things, a few precious jewels and necklaces with which the image of Black Madonna of Częstochowa was adorned. In 1587 the Queen received the Golden Rose from Pope Sixtus V, which she offered to the collegiate church of St. John in Warsaw, lost.
The same woman in similar pose and in similar gown was depicted in painting by Francesco Montemezzano from William Coningham's collection in London, now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a symbolic view of the bridge in Warsaw by workshop of Tintoretto, 1576-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by workshop of Tintoretto, 1576-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596), elected co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a dog by Francesco Montemezzano, ca. 1582, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine with a portrait of queen Anna Jagiellon by Venetian painter
In 1556 having ambitions of becoming a Viceroy of Naples, Bona Sforza d'Aragona, Anna's mother, agreed to lend to her distant relative king Philip II of Spain a huge sum of 430,000 ducats at 10% annual interest, so-called "Neapolitan sums". Even when paid, the interest payment was late and according to some people the loan was one of the reasons why Bona was poisoned by her trusted courtier Gian Lorenzo Pappacoda.
On November 10, 1573, and November 15, 1574 Catherine Jagiellon, Queen of Sweden, who had the right to a part of the Neapolitan sums in her dowry (50,000 ducats) agreed to renounce and cede it to her sister Anna, as the dispute deteriorated Polish-Swedish relations.
The Commonwealth had bad experiences with a "foreign" candidate, Henry of Valois, who fled the country through Venice just few monts after election, therefore the only possible succesors of over 50 years old queen were children of her sister Catherine, Sigismund born in 1566 (elected as Commonwealth's monarch in 1587) and Anna born in 1568.
The painting in Madrid is very similar in style to two portraits of Anna from the same period (in Vienna and Kassel). The lady in her 40s or 50s depicted as the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven is a clear indication that the scene has no purely religious meaning and it is very similar to other effigies of Anna, especially to the portrait by Tintoretto in Kraków.
According to the researchers the canvas should be attributed to Palma il Giovane, who created paintings for Anna's nephew and sucessor, Sigismund III Vasa (Psyche cycle and a painting for the St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, destroyed during World War II) or Domenico Tintoretto, who painted several paintings for Anna's Chancellor, Jan Zamoyski.
In the collection of the Royal Wilanów Palace in Warsaw there is a painting representing highly erotic subject of Leda and the swan by Palma il Giovane or his workshop from the last quarter of the 16th century. It is uncertain how it found its way there, so the option that it was commissioned by Anna, who, as her mother Bona, was strongly engaged in maintaining good relation with her husband Stephen Bathory, is very probable.
The mystical marriage of Saint Catherine, a symbol of spiritual grace, should be interprated then that Catherine's children still have claims to the Neapolitan sums and the crown. Its history before 1746 is unknown, therefore it cannot be excluded that the painting was sent to the Spanish Habsburgs, just as her portrait in Vienna, personally by the queen.
In November 1575, hence shortly before her election, Anna sent to Spain her envoy Stanisław Fogelweder, who was her ambassador there until 1587. She also had her informal envoys in Spain, dwarves Ana de Polonia (Anna of Poland, died 1578) and Estanislao (Stanislaus, died 1579).
Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine with a portrait of queen Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) by Venetian painter, possibly Palma il Giovane or Domenico Tintoretto, 1576-1586, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Leda and the swan by Palma il Giovane or workshop, fourth quarter of the 16th century, Wilanów Palace in Warsaw.
The Banquet of Cleopatra with portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Stephen Bathory and Jan Zamoyski by Leandro Bassano
On 1 May 1576, then 52 years old Infanta Anna Jagiellon married ten years younger Voivode of Transylvania Stephen Bathory and was crowned as co-ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Soon after the wedding the king started to avoid his elderly wife. He dedicated her just three wedding nights and didn't look into her bedroom afterward. The papal nuncio in Poland, Giovanni Andrea Caligari, reported in August 1578, that the king does not trust her, that he is afraid of being poisoned by her, an art her mother, Bona, was well acquainted with, and he adds in a letter of February 1579, that she is haughty and vigorous (altera e gagliarda di cervello). One night, Anna wanted to visit Bathory, but he escaped. Many people witnessed this event, the Queen developed a fever and was subjected to phlebotomy.
King Stephen reportedly never held a great attraction for the marriage state and women in general, and he married Anna only to do a nice thing for the nation, she however was under the illusion that she would keep her husband with her and seduce him with boisterous balls and feasts. Primate Jan Tarnowski wrote in a letter to a Lithuanian magnate that "as she caught up a man, she carries her mouth high and proud".
The Queen had a grudge against Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, who according to Bartosz Paprocki "wanting to be a lord in Masovia, he sowed disagreement between the king and the queen" and "caused that the king did not live with the queen". Some "distasteful" rumors were also spread during the expedition to Polotsk in 1578, when the king slept in the same hut with Gaspar Bekes, his trusted friend (after Jerzy Besala's "Wstręt króla do królowej").
When Stephen left his wife in 1576, he did not see her, with some breaks, until 1583. She resided in Warsaw in Masovia where in a spacious and richly furnished wooden mansion in Jazdów (Ujazdów), built by her mother Queen Bona, she often held festivities and court games, he in Grodno (in todays Belarus). In January 1578 she organized in Jazdów famous wedding celebrations for Jan Zamoyski and his Calvinist second wife Kristina Radziwill, which lasted for several days.
In February 1579, the Queen prepared a court ball, awaiting Stephen's arrival. In the evening, the Warsaw Castle was illuminated, and the inhabitants were waiting for the king's arrival. Unfortunately, only the messenger with the letter arrived. The king wrote in it that due to the preparations for the war expedition, he would spend the whole year in Lithuania. The disappointed queen "ordered the lights to be turned off and the instruments to be taken out, and with great anger she retreated to her chambers", wrote the nuncio in a letter of February 26. The courtiers rumored that he wanted to divorce her.
The King and Queen reunited in June 1583 in Kraków for the opulent wedding celebrations of Zamoyski with his third wife and a king's niece, Griselda Bathory. The wedding feast was held in the chambers of Queen Anna at the Wawel Castle. The lavish tournaments and a procession of masks was illustrated by an Italian artist in a "Tournois magnifique tenu en Pologne", today in the National Library of Sweden.
Rich Venetian fabrics, like these used in chasubles founded by Anna and her husband (Cathedral Museum in Kraków) or vessels, like enamelled basin with her coat of arms and monogram (Czartoryski Museum), acquired by Anna in Venice, were undoubtedly used during the feasts. The sources confirm that allegorical paintings were brought to the Polish court from Venice for Sigismund III Vasa, Anna's sucessor, like Psyche cycle by Palma il Giovane or Diana and Caliosto by Antonio Vassilacchi.
"You subjects learned this riding from your king", snapped resentful Anna in 1583, when someone from her court set off on a journey.
The Banquet of Cleopatra by Leandro Bassano in Stockholm shows an episode described by both Pliny's's Natural History (9.58.119-121) and Plutarch's Lives (Antony 25.36.1), in which the spartan Roman warrior Antony being seduced by the sensual opulence of Cleopatra.
The Queen of Egypt takes an expensive pearl, reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, because of an association between pearls and Venus, the goddess of love, and dissolves it in her wine, which she then drinks. It is a culmination of a wager between Cleopatra and Mark Antony as to which one could provide the most expensive feast, which Cleopatra won. Lucius Munatius Plancus, a Roman senator had been asked to judge the wager.
The three protagonists are clearly Anna Jagiellon as Cleopatra, her husband Stephen Bathory as Mark Antony and his friend Jan Zamoyski as Lucius and the painting was commissioned by the Queen to one of her residences, most probably Jazdów.
It is recorded in the Swedish royal collection as far as 1739, therefore, most probably, it was taken from Poland during the Deluge (1655-1660), like the marble lions from Ujazdów Castle, or during the Great Northern War (1700-1721).
In 1578 with the support of Queen Anna the brotherhood of Saint Anne was founded in Warsaw at the Bernardine Church of Saint Anne, and approved by Pope Sixtus V with the bull Ex incumbenti in 1579. The first member and guardian of this fraternity was Jan Zamoyski, chancellor and great hetman of the Crown.
The painting by the same author, Leandro Bassano, from the Swedish royal collection, showing Saint Anne and the infant Virgin Mary was also undeniably created for Anna Jagiellon around the same time as the Banquet of Cleopatra. In 1760 this Catholic painting with Bernardine nuns was in the collection of Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, who freely converted from Calvinism to Lutheran when she moved to Sweden. It is another indication that this painting also was taken from Poland during the Deluge by Swedish or Prussian (Brandenburgian) forces.
Also other paintings by Bassano family and their workshop in Poland were created for partrons in Poland, like the Forge of Vulcan by Francesco Bassano the Younger in the National Museum in Warsaw. It was aquired in 1880 from Wojciech Kolasiński. Taking into consideration that other versions of this painting are in royal collections of "friendly" countries (Prado Museum in Madrid, inventory P005120, recorded as far as 1746 and Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, inventory 5737, recorded in Ambras collection in 1663), it is highly possible that it was commissioned or aquired by Bathory or Anna's successor Sigismund III. Another painting shows Adoration of the Magi with a man in Polish costume (almost idedntical as in the effigy of a Polish nobleman in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) as one of the Magi.
The Banquet of Cleopatra with portraits of Anna Jagiellon, Stephen Bathory and Jan Zamoyski by Leandro Bassano, 1578-1586, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Saint Anne and the infant Virgin Mary by Leandro Bassano, 1578-1586, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Forge of Vulcan by Francesco Bassano the Younger, 4th quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Adoration of the Magi with a Polish nobleman by Francesco Bassano the Younger, 4th quarter of the 16th century, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Jadwiga Sieniawska, Voivodess of Ruthenia by the Bassano workshop and Jacopo Tintoretto
"You equated the state with the shy Diana, / You equated the face with the rosy Venus. [...] / Adornment of the earth! happy, happy, / To whom God has appointed you kind, / To whom Hymenaios in the steady words / And with eternal torches joined you", wrote in his poem entitled "To Miss Jadwiga Tarłówna, (later voivodess of Ruthenia)", a Polish poet of the late Renaissance Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński (ca. 1550 - ca. 1581). It is considered an epithalamium, a wedding song for the wedding with the lord of Berezhany (Brzeżany), Hieronim Sieniawski (1519-1582), who married Tarłówna in 1575.
Jadwiga was the fifth child of Jan Tarło, standard-bearer of Lviv, and Regina Malczycka. She came from the ancient Tarło family from Szczekarzowice. Her parents owned Chapli (Czaple nad Strwiążęm) near Sambir (Sambor) and a part of Khyriv (Chyrów) in the Ruthenian Voivodeship (Ukraine). "Lords of Hungary and Wallachia" wanted to marry her and King Sigismund Augustus promised her hand to Bogdan IV (1555-1574), Prince of Moldavia in 1572, but he was deposed that year (after "Brzeżany w czasach Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej: monografia historyczna" by Maurycy Maciszewski, p. 78-80).
After death of her father (died in 1570 or 1572) and before marriage, she most probably lived at the very Italianized court of king's sister, Infanta Anna Jagiellon. Jadwiga received from father as a dowry only 3,000 zlotys and 1,500 zlotys in jewels, and from her mother 2,000 zlotys. It was a considerable amount for those times, but far from being a magnate's fortune. In June 1574, Hieronim buried his third wife, Anna née Maciejowska, and ordered a beautiful marble tombstone for her. Just few months later, in 1575, at the age of 56, he married Jadwiga who was about 25 years old (born in about 1550). The bridegroom bequeathed 14,000 zlotys to her as a dower. The next year (1576), she gave birth to Hieronim's only son, Adam Hieronim. Her husband died in 1582 and was buried in the family chapel in Berezhany. The young widow founded a beautiful tomb monument for him and his father and dedicated herself to raising her only son and did not remarry. She was glorified on a marble plaque in the castle church in Berezhany for restoring the weakened fortune to good condition after her husband's death: "These monuments were laid to her father-in-law and to her sweet husband by Jadwiga née Tarło, both with her powerful virtue, which she shines in her homeland, and with the sharpness of her mind. May our ages produce more of likewise matrons here and everywhere! The Republic would flourish if each of them would restore lost goods in this way after her husband's death" (Haec socero et dulci posait monumenta marito / Tarlonum Hedvigis progenerata domo, / Virtate omnigena patrio quae claret in orbe, / Nec minus ingenii dexteritate sui. / O utinam similes illi praesentia plures / Saecula matronas hic et ubique ferant ! / Publica res floreret abi post fata mariti / Quaelibet amissas sic repararet opes).
According to the sculptor's monogram (H.H.Z.) hidden behind the statue of Hieronim, the monument was created by Hendrik Horst (d. 1612), a Dutch sculptor from Groningen, active in Lviv since 1573. The overall design of this tomb monument, destroyed during World War II, resemble the monument to King Sigismund II Augustus in the Wawel Cathedral, founded by Queen Anna Jagiellon and created between 1574-1575 by Santi Gucci, and monument to Doge Francesco Venier (1489-1556) by Jacopo Sansovino and Alessandro Vittoria in San Salvador in Venice, created between 1556-1561. Until 1939 in the armoury of the Berezhany Castle in the western tower, there was a large painting depicting the funeral procession of Mikołaj Sieniawski (ca. 1489-1569), Jadwiga's father-in-law, in Lublin in 1569 with king Sigismund Augustus and lords of the kingdom.
The deathbed conversion of Hieronim Sieniawski, a definitive Calvinist, was also influenced by his fourth wife, Tarłówna, a zealous Catholic according to papal nuncio, with the aid of Benedictus Herbestus Neapolitanus (Benedykt Zieliński or Benedykt Herbest), educated in Rome. Also Hieronim's sisters converted shortly after his death, closing numerous Calvinist churches on their estates (after "Calvinism in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth 1548-1648" by Kazimierz Bem, p. 181). In 1584 she issued a location privilege for the new town of Adamówka, named in honor of her son, later a suburb of Berezhany and most probably founded the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. Her only son, who most probably, like all his three sons later, studied in Padua before 1593, employed at his court Venetian engineer and architect Andrea dell'Aqua.
A painting by workshop of Jacopo Bassano (1515-1592) of unknown provenance in the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, shows a wealthy lady in the mythological scene of Abduction of Europa. In the same museum there is also a portrait of Princess Elizabeth Radziwill (d. 1565) by Lambert Sustris, identified and attributed by me.
In the 1560s Jacopo Bassano created several versions of Adoration of the Magi (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, The State Hermitage Museum) with a man in a costume of a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman depicted as Melchior, the old man of the three Magi, comparable to effigies of Constantine (ca. 1460-1530), Prince of Ostroh by Lucas Cranach the Elder. He wears a green kaftan with sweeping floor-length sleeves and a fur collar, very similar to those visible in the effigy of a Polish horseman by Abraham de Bruyn, published in 1577 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) or in his Twelve Polish and Hungarian types, published in 1581 (also in the Rijksmuseum) or in the picture of a Polish-Lithuanian noble in "Theatrum virtutum ac meritorum D. Stanislai Hosii" by Thomas Treter, created between 1595-1600 (National Library in Warsaw). The effigy of the old man represented as Melchior, possibly intentionally or unintentionally, bear a resemblance to the effigy of Jadwiga's father-in-law, Mikołaj Sieniawski, Voivode of Ruthenia (and a Calvinist), from the tomb monument founded by her. According to some sources Mikołaj also converted to the Catholic faith shortly before his death (died in 1569), therefore he could commisson a series of his effigies as one of the Magi, or the painter just inspired by the images of Mikołaj commissioned in his studio.
In the myth, the god Zeus (Jupiter) assumed the form of a bull and enticed Europa to climb onto his back. The bull carried her to Crete, where Europa became the first Queen and had three children with Zeus. Unlike the earlier, very erotic version of the scene painted between 1560-1562 by Titian for King Philip II of Spain (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston) with Europa sprawled helplessly in open-legged posture and her face not visible, in Bassano's painting the woman's face is clearly visible. This portrait-like historié picture was therefore commissioned by this woman.
In the foreground there is a rabbit as an allegory of fertility, a duck, associated with Penelope, queen of Ithaca, as a symbol of marital fidelity, and a small dog, allegory of fidelity and devotion. A Cupid sitting on a tree in the upper right corner is prepared to aim an arrow at her heart. The island of Crete is visible in the far background, but the landscape around is similar to topography of Berezhany as depicted on the Austrian map of 1779-1783. There is a large lake (regulated in the 18th century) and two hills, which were depicted by the painter as rocky Alpine hills. Another, horizontal (96 x 120 cm) version of this composition, from private collection in Rome and attributed to circle of Francesco Bassano (1549-1592), was sold in 2021 (Finarte Auctions, 16.11.2021, lot 73). In both paintings the woman has a fashionable hairstyle from the late 1570s or early 1580s and the painting in Rome was most probably sent as a gift to the Pope or one of the cardinals (this woman managed to convert to Catholicism the Voivode of Ruthenia!). A number of paintings by Francesco Bassano and his workshop are also in Poland (Adoration of the Magi with a Polish nobleman and Forge of Vulcan in the National Museum in Warsaw, Forge of Vulcan in the National Museum in Poznań or Annunciation to the shepherds in the Wawel Royal Castle and another in the Museum of the Warsaw Archdiocese).
The same woman was also depicted in a portrait of a lady in a green dress (a color being symbolic of fertility), attributed variously to Jacopo and Leandro Bassano, in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. The picture was previously in the Edward Cheney collections in Badger Hall in Badger, near Wolverhampton, England (demolished in 1952). A pendant on a gold chain around her neck is a jewel in which two different stones and a pearl are set, each with its own precise meaning: the ruby indicates charity, the emerald indicates chastity, and a pearl is a symbol of marriage fidelity. The woman's dress and hairstyle are very simular to those visible in a self-portrait with madrigal by Marietta Robusti in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, dated to about 1578 (inventory 1890 n. 1898). A signed painting by Leandro Bassano (signature: Leandro) from Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski collection is in the Wawel Royal Castle and Lamentation of Christ, attributed to him is in the Vereshchagin Art Museum in Mykolaiv, close to Odessa. Resurrection of Lazarus from the altar of the Mocenigo family in the church of Santa Maria della Carità in Venice (today in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice), another signed work by Leandro Bassano (LEANDER/ BASSANE.is/ F.), dated to between 1592-1596, shows a man in a costume of a Polish-Lithuanian noble.
She was also depicted as a widow in a portrait by Jacopo Tintoretto in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. This painting was probably acquired in Venice by Duke Francesco I d'Este (1610-1658) and listed as "Portrait of a woman dressed in black - Titian" (Ritratto di donna vestita de nero - Tiziano) in the inventory of 1744 of the Galleria Estense in Modena, then sold to Augustus III of Poland-Lithuania-Saxony in 1746 (as portrait of Caterina Cornaro). This portrait is dated to early 1550s, however similar costume of a Venetian widow (Vidua Veneta / Vefue Venetiene) is visible in an engraving representing Ten women dressed according to Italian fashion by Abraham de Bruyn, created in about 1581 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). The style of this picture can be compared with portrait of the Procurator Alessandro Gritti in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, dated to between 1581-1582, and portrait of Piotr Krajewski (1547-1598), żupnik of Zakroczym in the Masovian Museum in Płock, dated '1583'. The latter painting is generally attributed to circle of Martin Kober, however the man's face is painted in the same style as the widow in Dresden. Krajewski, a nobleman of Leliwa coat of arms, was the owner of villages Mochty and Smoszewo and a manager (żupnik) which oversaw the salt storehouse in Zakroczym near Warsaw, the seat of Infanta Anna Jagiellon. His portrait was most probably commissioned in Venice and a court painter in Warsaw added coat of arms and inscription (painted in different style).
In the Zhytomyr Region History Museumin Ukraine there is a portrait of Giovanni Francesco Sagredo (1571-1620), a Venetian mathematician and close friend of Galileo, painted by Gerolamo Bassano. The painting comes from the nationalized collections of barons de Chaudoir (the family may come from a line of French Protestant emigrants who fled in 1685 from Belgium and one de Chaudoire worked at the court of King Stanislaus Augustus). In the 1590s Sagredo studied privately with Galileo in Padua and in 1596 at the age of 25 he became a member of the Great Council of Venice. His portrait attributed to Gerolamo Bassano in the Ashmolean Museum depict him in the robes of the a Procurator of Saint Mark, therefore the portrait from Zhytomyr like the effigy from private collection, attributed to circle of Domenico Tintoretto, should be dated to before 1596, therefore could be acquired by Adam Hieronim during his potential studies in Italy. Sagredo was depicted in a crimson tunic similar to Polish-Lithuanian żupan.
It is possible that all mentioned paintings by Venetian painting workshops, in Odessa, Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr, originate from the same collection - "the Eastern Wawel": Berezhany Castle, dispersed among several museums in Ukraine. Despite that no signed likenesses of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło or her close relatives have preserved, basing on all these facts the mentioned potraits should be indentified as her effigies.
Abduction of Europa with portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia by workshop of Jacopo Bassano, 1578-1582, Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art.
Abduction of Europa with portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia by workshop of Francesco Bassano, 1578-1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia in a green dress by Jacopo or Leandro Bassano, ca. 1578, Norton Simon Museum.
Lamentation of Christ by Leandro Bassano, late 16th century, Vereshchagin Art Museum in Mykolaiv.
Portrait of Jadwiga Sieniawska née Tarło, Voivodess of Ruthenia in mourning by Jacopo Tintoretto, ca. 1582, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
Portrait of Piotr Krajewski (1547-1598), żupnik of Zakroczym by workshop of Jacopo Tintoretto, 1583, Masovian Museum in Płock.
Portrait of Giovanni Francesco Sagredo (1571-1620) by Gerolamo Bassano, 1590s, Zhytomyr Region History Museum.
Portraits of king Stephen Bathory by Venetian painters
Official portraiture showed Bathory as he should look like and as he was perceived, imagined by average and less educated subjects, i.e. a strong, powerful, masculine monarch in rich national costume, a man capable to protect the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a brutal tyrant, who used terror and cruelty as a method of controlling his country and who invaded the Commonwealth during the second royal election after Henry of Valois's sudden return to France in mid-June 1574 through Venice. The Tsar had captured Pärnu on 9 July 1575, took as many as 40 thousand captives (according to Świętosław Orzelski) and devastated much of central Livonia. Anna Jagiellon and Bathory were elected just few months later on December 15.
In private effigies or these dedicated to his European colleagues Bathory could allow himself to be depicted as educated in Padua lover of astronomy, in a cloak of a simple soldier in his army or as an old, tired man.
The portrait by Tintoretto from the Spanish royal collection, shows Bathory in a toga-like attire similar to the costume of a Venetian magistrate. It is a kopieniak a sleeveless raincoat of Turkish origin (kepenek), popular at that time in Hungary (köpenyeg). According to Stanisław Sarnicki's "Księgi hetmańskie", published in 1577-1578, kopieniak was a sort of Gabina (gabìno), a toga in ancient Rome, while according to "Encyklopedja powszechna" (Universal encyclopedia, vol. 15 from 1864, p. 446) in Poland the attire and a word were popularized by Bathory, "who used the kopieniak in hunting and during war expeditions".
After king's death some of his robes valued at 5351 zlotys were given to his courtiers. The inventory made in Grodno on 15 December 1586 includes many kopieniaks, made by his Hungarian tailor Andrasz, like the most valuable "scarlet kopieniak lined with sables with one silk button and a loop, 1548 zlotys worth", "12 navy blue half-kopieniaks lined with sables, with gold buttons" or "4 kopieniaks of different colors".
The portrait of a bearded man with hourglass and astrolabe by Francesco Bassano from Ambras Castle in Innsbruck is very similar in style and composition to the portrait of Anna Jagiellon in Vienna. Before 1 February 1582 Bathory offered to Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria many items captured during the Siege of Pskov to his large collection of armaments in Ambras, including his armor accompanied by a portrait and resume.
Among the things given in deposit to king's courtier Mr Franciszek Wesselini (Ferenc Wesseleny´i de Hadad) in the inventory of king's belongings, there were "A gold carriage chest with the coat of arms of His Highness Augustus, in which there are various small things. Golden saddle of the deceased king Sigismund Augustus. A casket with small things and crane feathers" and also "A leaky watch (water hourglass)" and "Large old Turkish carpets, which were brought by Mr. Grudziński from Hungary from Machmet Basha", most probably offered by Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
The inventory does not include any Western, black costumes, however since the king used many items of his predecessor Sigismund Augustus, he undoubtedly had access to his extensive black Italian wardrobe. Curiously the black Italian hose with protruding codpiece were at that time in Poland considered by simple people as more effeminate than dress-like żupan of colorful Venetian fabric. "The nation is effeminate [...] Franca [syphilis], musk, lettuce, with them it came, These puffed hose, stockings, mostardas, The Italian haughty nation has recently brought here" (269, 272-274), wrote in his satire "Conversation of the New Prophets, Two Rams with One Head" (Rozmowa nowych proroków, dwu baranów o jednej głowie) published in 1566/1567, Marcin Bielski.
His interest in astronomy is confirmed by his support to the sorcerer Wawrzyniec Gradowski from Gradów and with a sojourn at his court of John Dee, an English mathematician, astronomer and astrologer and Edward Kelley, an occultist and scryer in March 1583 and April 1585, who were paid 800 florins by the king. He also transformed the Jesuit gymnasium in Vilnius into an academy (1578), where astronomy, poetry and theology were taught. Leaving Transylvania for Poland in 1576, he consulted astrologers, with whom he also set the date of his wedding with Anna Jagiellon.
Therefore Bathory was maybe more effeminate in his private life then in his public appearance, he was however one of the most eminent monarchs of this part of Europe, a wise and brave king who led the Polish-Lithuanian Republic to its greatest glory and power.
After 50 his health rapidly declined. As Sigismund Augustus, Bathory most probably suffered from syphilis, treated by his Italian physicians Niccolò Buccella and Simone Simoni. "The king his grace had on his right leg two fingers below the knee, up to the ankle, a kind of rash, in which there were sometimes shallow, flowing wounds. On that leg, lower than the knee, he had an apertura [ulcer]: and when little was leaking from it, he had no appetite, the nights were restless and sleepless." The portrait in Budapest by Leandro Bassano, which is very similar to other effigies of Bathory, undeniably show him in the last year of his life.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory in kopieniak coat by Tintoretto, ca. 1576, Prado Museum in Madrid.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory with hourglass and astrolabe by Francesco Bassano, ca. 1580, Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
Portrait of king Stephen Bathory sitting in a chair by Leandro Bassano, ca. 1586, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Portrait of Cardinal Henry I, King of Portugal by Domenico Tintoretto
In 1579 brothers of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616), George (1556-1600), future cardinal, and Stanislaus (1559-1599), arrived in the capital of Portugal. "The coadjutor of Vilnius Radziwll, wrote to me from Lisbon on April 3 that he greeted the king dressed in cardinal's robes, but holding pleasantly a scepter in his old and weakened hand", wrote in a letter from Rome on June 6, 1579 the royal secretary Stanisław Reszka (1544-1600) about the audience before Cardinal Henry I (1512-1580), King of Portugal (after "Z dworu Stanisława Hozjusza: listy Stanisława Reszki do Marcina Kromera, 1568-1582" by Jadwiga Kalinowska, p. 221). Then, via Turin and Milan, the Radziwill brothers arrived in Venice in September 1579. From there they set off via Vienna to Poland and finally reached Kraków by the end of the year (after "Radziwiłłowie: obrazy literackie, biografie, świadectwa historyczne" by Krzysztof Stępnik, p. 298).
In 2022 the portrait of Cardinal-King of Portugal from private collection, created in Venice, Italy, was sold at the auction in Munich, Germany (Hampel Auctions, December 8, 2022, lot 238). It was painted by Domenico Tintoretto in 1579 as according to Latin inscription it depict the Cardinal-King at the age of 67 (HENR.S CARD.S / REX. PORTV / GALIAE. ETCZ [...] /. AETATIS / SVAE. LXVII.). Cardinal Henry, born in Lisbon on January 31, 1512, become the king of Portugal at the age of 66 (coronation in Lisbon on August 28, 1578) after death of his great-nephew King Sebastian, who died without an heir in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir that took place in 1578.
In January 1579 Jerónimo Osório da Fonseca (Hieronymus Osorius, 1506-1580), Bishop of the Algarve, Portuguese historian and polemicist, wrote a letter in Latin to "to the invincible Stephen Bathory, king of Poland" (inuictissimo Stephano Bathorio regi Poloniae) expressing his gratitude for reading his books (scripta namque mea tibi usque adeo probari ut in castris etiam, quotiens esset otium, otium illud te libenter in libris meis assidue uersandis consumere) (after "Opera Omnia. Tomo II. Epistolografia" by Sebastião Pinho, p. 214). Osório was a member of the royal council (Mesa da Consciência e Ordens), who advised the Cardinal-King on political matters.
It cannot be excluded that the portrait of the Cardinal-King was commissioned in Venice by the Radziwill brothers, or by the Cardinal-King through their intermediary, as a gift to the royal couple of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Queen Anna Jagiellon and her husband Stephen Bathory.
Portrait of Cardinal Henry I (1512-1580), King of Portugal, aged 67 by Domenico Tintoretto, 1579, Private collection.
Portraits of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" by Domenico Tintoretto and Francesco Bassano
Around 1550 in Lukiškės, a part of the city of Vilnius, located to the west and southwest of the Old Town, Nicolaus "the Black" Radziwill (1515-1565), cousin of Queen Barbara, built a magnificent renaissance villa or a summer manor house, beautifully located in the bend of the Neris river, surrounded by the steep banks of the river and a pine forest. The estate was owned by the Radziwill family from 1522 and called Radziwill Lukiškės, later Vingis in Lithuanian or Zakręt in Polish, both meaning a bend or a curve.
Lukiškės (Łukiszki in Polish) took its name from the name of a merchant, Łuka Pietrowicz, most probably a Ruthenian, who founded a settlement here in the 14th century in the land given to him by Vytautas the Great. It was also here that Vytautas settled the Tatars, who had their mosque in Lukiškės, and in the 15th century the district was also called Tatar Lukiškės (after "Przewodnik po Wilnie" by Władysław Zahorski, p.83).
Nicolaus "the Black", the strongest supporter of the Reformation in Lithuania, arranged a chapel for the Calvinists in one of the rooms. Protestants were active in the manor in the years 1553-1561, and the estate became the cradle of the Reformation in Lithuania. "In a room covered with a pall, in front of a table on which there were branched candlesticks with three Graces of Greek mythology, Czechowicz with Wędrychowski, Catholic priests in the past, taught from the pulpit the Lithuanian nobility", wrote Teodor Narbutt in his work published in Vilnius in 1856 ("Pomniejsze pisma historyczne szczególnie do historyi Litwy odnoszące się", p. 66). In 1558 a reformed school also started operating in the palace. Nicolaus "the Black" died in Lukiškės in May 28/29, 1565 and the estate was inherited by his sons. The eldest, Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616), received his primary education in Lukiškės in the Protestant gymnasium founded by his father. "In the 1550s and the 1560s the palace in Lukiškės was one of the most important centers of political, religious and cultural life of the then Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" (after "Miles Christianus et peregrinus: fundacje Mikołaja Radziwiłła "Sierotki" w ordynacji nieświeskiej" by Tadeusz Bernatowicz, p. 139). Between 1566-1574, the sons of Nicolaus "the Black" converted from Calvinism to Catholicism.
According to legend, Nicolaus Christopher received the nickname "the Orphan" in early childhood. Allegedly, once the King Sigismund Augustus found a child left unattended in one of the rooms of the royal palace, he caressed the child saying: "poor orphan". On June 20, 1569 he was granted the post of Court Marshal of Lithuania. Soon "the Orphan" became close to the king and carried out his personal assignments until his death.
In 1567, Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan" inherited his father's estate and became the guardian of his younger brothers and sisters. He was a capable diplomat and in 1573, he headed the embassy to Paris to Henry of Valois. The journey at the turn of 1573 and 1574 lasted six months. After returning to the Commonwealth, he fell seriously ill and vowed to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as soon as his health allowed. It is believed that Nicolaus Christopher was ill with gout and some kind of venereal disease. He set out in the autumn of 1580 and after treatment near Padua and Lucca, he spent the entire spring of 1581 in Venice, also visiting Padua and Bologna. There was a plague in the Middle East at that time, so "the Orphan" changed his plans and returned the Commonwealth in April 1581. In 1582 he again left for Italy, from where in 1583 he went to the Holy Land.
Together with his brothers Albert (1558-1592) and Stanislaus (1559-1599), he created the Nesvizh, Kletsk and Olyka entails in 1586, becoming the first Nesvizh ordynat. He was also Grand Marshal of Lithuania from 1579 and castellan of Trakai from 1586. In 1584 Stanislaus, nicknamed "the Pious", first ordynat of Olyka, offered part of the Lukiškės estate to the Jesuits and in 1593 he also donated the remaining part of the Lukiškės estate with the palace and other buildings.
Jesuit Lukiškės became the intellectual and cultural center of Vilnius at that time. In the years 1593-1774, traditional ceremonies of conferring academic degrees were held there. From 1646, there was a garden of medicinal herbs, and tinctures and mixtures were sold in the Jesuit Academic Pharmacy. In March 1647 the Jesuits offered a sumptuous feast in the villa in Lukiškės to the royal couple, Ladislaus IV and Marie Louise Gonzaga, who visited the academy. Between 1655 and 1660, during the Deluge, like much of the capital of Lithuania, Lukiškės and Tatar estates were destroyed. In the place of a manor house or near to it, in the years 1757-1761, the Jesuits built a baroque three-story palace to design by Johann Christoph Glaubitz. According to Teodor Narbutt ("Pomniejsze pisma historyczne szczególnie do historyi Litwy odnoszące się", p. 66-67), in the chapel in the left wing of the palace there was a beautiful painting of the "Three Marys going to the tomb of the Savior, painted by the Italian school", possibly from the Radziwill collection, lost after 1793.
During his stays in Venice in 1580 or 1582 "the Orphan" commissioned a marble altar of the Holy Cross, created in 1583, which was originally intended for the parish church in Nesvizh, built in the years 1581-1584, later moved to the new Corpus Christi Church, constructed between 1587-1593 by Gian Maria Bernardoni. The altar is attributed to Girolamo Campagna (1549-1625), a sculptor from Verona and a pupil of Jacopo Sansovino, and a signature of his collaborator Cesare Franco (Franchi, Francus, Francho) from Padua is visible on the base: CESARE DE FRANCHI PATAVINO OPVS FEC ... /...CHI LAPICIDA VENETIIS 1583. The sculptures were probably transported to Nievizh in 1586, and the permit issued by the Doge of Venice, Pasquale Cicogna (1509-1595), for the transport of marbles probably concerns the altar of the Holy Cross (after "Rzeźby Campagni i Franco w Nieświeżu a wczesny barok" by Tadeusz Bernatowicz, p. 31) or other sculptures commissioned in Venice.
Marble bust of a painter Francesco Bassano the Younger (1549-1592), the eldest son of Jacopo and brother of Leandro, from his tombstone in the church of San Francesco in Bassano (today in the Museo Civico di Bassano del Grappa), created in about 1592, is also attributed to Campagna as well as bust of Christopher Nicolaus Radziwill (1590-1607), Nicolaus Christopher's son, in the Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh.
Portrait of young man in a black coat lined with lynx fur and with a landscape visible in the distance through a window, was acquired by the Pushkin Museum in Moscow in the 1930s from an unknown source as the work of the painter from the Bassano circle (inventory number 2842). It is today attributed to Domenico Tintoretto (1560-1635), the eldest son of Jacopo, who from 1578 was already involved in Tintoretto's Gonzaga cycle and participated in the redecoration of the Doge's Palace between 1580 and 1584.
The man presents his estate which resemble greatly the topography of the Vingis estate (Radziwill Lukiškės) in Vilnius, depicted on a map created in 1646 (collection of the Vilnius University), as well as on watercolor paintings by Seweryn Karol Smolikowski created in 1832 (National Museum in Warsaw, inventory number Rys.Pol.14339 MNW and Rys.Pol.14340 MNW), and by Marceli Januszkiewicz created in 1836 (National Museum of Lithuania). The architecture of his Italian-style villa is similar to the pavillons of the Radziwill Palace in Vilnius, the larger palace of the Calvinist branch of the family, depicted in 1653 medal by Sebastian Dadler. There is a church or a chapel far in the background with high tower, similar to that visible on 1646 map of Lukiškės (F), undoubtedly a Catholic temple. It can be assumed that it symbolizes the triumph of Catholicism over the cradle of the Reformation in Lithuania. The young man from the portrait is therefore the eldest son of Nicolaus "the Black", Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan". He was depicted in very similar costume and in similar compositon (window, table) in a print created by Tomasz Makowski in Nesvizh in 1604 - Panegyric of the Skorulski brothers (Jan, Zachariasz and Mikołaj) on the occasion of receiving the office of voivode of Vilnius by Nicholaus Christopher (National Museum in Kraków, inventory number MNK III-ryc.-36976).
The same man, in similar costume, was also represented in another painting which was attributed to Domenico Tintoretto - Portrait of a man holding his right hand on his heart. This work comes from the collection of Géza von Osmitz (1870-1967) in Bratislava (sold in Vienna, 12 March 1920, lot 68). The style of this painting is more close to the Bassanos, especially portrait of King Stephen Bathory by Francesco Bassano the Younger from the Ambras Castle, identified by me.
The man from both described portraits bear a great resemblance to effigies of Nicolaus Christopher, all created in his later age, like engraving by Lukas Kilian, created in Augsburg in about 1610 (National Library in Warsaw, inventory number G.10401) or engraving by Dominicus Custos, published in 1601, after a drawing by the Veronese painter Giovanni Battista Fontana (1541-1587), who decorated the walls of the Spanish Hall at Ambras (Lithuanian Art Museum, inventory number LDKVR VR 667).
A two sided miniature in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (inventory number 1890, 4051, oil on copper, 10.2 cm) is on one side a reduced and simplified version of the painting by Bassano, showing the man in a similar pose but with a different hairstyle. Both portraits, although close to miniatures by the Bassanos in the Uffizi (1890, 4072, 9053, 9026), also relate to works of Sofonisba Anguissola, who moved to Sicily (1573), and later Pisa (1579) and Genoa (1581).
Portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) with a view of the Vingis estate (Radziwill Lukiškės) in Vilnius by Domenico Tintoretto, 1580-1586, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) by Francesco Bassano the Younger or workshop, 1580-1586, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) by workshop of the Bassanos or Sofonisba Anguissola, 1580-1586, Uffizi Gallery.
Entombment of Christ with the portrait of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" by Francesco or Leandro Bassano
On September 16, 1582 Prince Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616), Grand Marshal of Lithuania, accompanied by a dozen or so people (friends and servants), set off from his family castle in Nesvizh towards Venice from where in 1583 he went to the Holy Land. Through Dalmatia, the Greek islands, Tripoli, Damascus, he reached Jerusalem in the middle of the year, where in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher he was awarded the title of Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. Then through Egypt, where he had the opportunity to see the famous Great Sphinx, the eastern coast of Italy and again Venice he returned to his homeland on July 7, 1584.
Nicolaus Christopher was the son of Nicolaus Radziwill the Black and Elżbieta Szydłowiecka, daughter of Chancellor Krzysztof Szydłowiecki. After his father's death, as a result of his stay in Rome (he also visited Milan, Padua and Mantua), he converted in 1567 from Calvinism to Catholicism. Suffering from syphilis, in February 1580 he again went to Italy for treatment, near Padua and Lucca, and spent the turn of 1580-1581 in Venice, with an attempt to make an expedition to the Holy Land. He vowed that if his health would improve, he would go on a pilgrimage. Just few months after return from the Holy Land, on November 24, 1584, he married Princess Elżbieta Eufemia Wiśniowiecka (1569-1596), who was only 15 at the time and was 20 years younger than himself, and he had 6 sons and 3 daughters with her. In 1593, he and his wife left for the last time in his life the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, for treatment in a health resort in Abano Terme near Padua. Nicolaus Christopher died on February 28, 1616 in Niasvizh.
During his lifetime Radziwill founded himself a tombstone in the Jesuit Church in Nesvizh - mentioned in the inscription on the pedestal, as well as in the sermon given by the Jesuit Marcin Widziewicz during his funeral. The co-founder was the wife of Nicolaus Christopher, therefore it should be dated to 1588-1596. The general conception of the tomb was probably modelled after the tomb of Pope Sixtus V in Rome, executed between 1585-1591 by Domenico Fontana and the tomb of Queen Bona Sforza in Bari, created between 1589-1593. Nicolaus Christopher saw the coffin with the body of the Queen in Bari in March 1584 and not without significance were his contacts with Queen Anna Jagiellon, the founder of the tombstone in Bari. The center of his tombstone is filled with a plate with a relief image of the prince in profile kneeling in prayer, with his head raised and in pilgrim's attire. It is crowned with a triangular pediment with the Order of the Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. The tomb was designed by a Jesuit architect Giovanni Maria Bernardoni (d. 1605) and created by an anonymous Italian sculptor active in Lesser Poland, possibly from the royal court.
The painting by Francesco or Leandro Bassano from the late 16th century in the Lithuanian National Art Museum in Vilnius, shows the scene of Entombment of Christ with a kneeling donor in the right corner, whose pose is identical with the pose of Nicolaus Christopher in his tombstone. The painting was owned by the Society of Friends of Science in Vilnius in 1937 and its earlier history is unknown. Similar scene of the Entombment was published on page 61 of Stanisław Grochowski's "The Jerusalem procession in the church of the glorious tomb of the Lord Jesus [...] taken from the books of the Jerusalem Peregrination or the Pilgrimage [...] of Nicolaus Christopher Radziwll, prince on Olyka and Nesvizh [...]" (Hierozolimska processia w kosciele chwalebne[g]o grobu Pana Iezusowego [...] wzięta z ksiąg Hierozolymskiey Peregrynatiiey albo Pielgrzymowania [...] Mikołaia Chrzysstopha Radziwiła na Ołyce y Nieświeżu książęcia [...]), published in Kraków in 1607.
The man bears a great resemblance to effigies of Nicolaus Christopher "the Orphan", especially to his earliest known portrait, a drawing by David Kandel in the Louvre Museum, created between 1563 and 1564 during his studies in Strasbourg.
Entombment of Christ with the portrait of Prince Nicolaus Christopher Radziwill "the Orphan" (1549-1616) as donor by Francesco or Leandro Bassano, 1584-1596, Lithuanian National Museum of Art in Vilnius.
Portrait of Gustav Eriksson Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1575 another inconvenient royal child was sent to be raised abroad, this time from Sweden to Poland. In August 1563 King Eric XIV of Sweden imprisoned Catherine Jagiellon, Duchess of Finland in Gripsholm Castle. She was released in 1567, but during this four-year imprisonment she gave birth to a daughter and a son, future Sigismund III. Catherine was crowned queen of Sweden in spring of 1569, when Eric was deposed. In March 1575, the Swedish Council of State decided to separate the seven-year-old boy Gustav Eriksson Vasa, the only son of Eric XIV, from his mother Karin Månsdotter, as king John III feared that the deposed Eric's followers in Sweden would use Gustav to be able to carry out their reinstatement plans. At Catherine's request her sister Anna agreed to take care of him.
He was well educated, attended the best Jesuit schools in Toruń and Vilnius and Collegium Hosianum in Braniewo. He knew many languages as well as astrology, chemistry and medicine. He travelled to Rome in 1586 and to Prague to meet Emperor Rudolf II, who learned about his chemical talent. As education and travel at that time were far more expensive than nowadays, he was not living in poverty as a prisoner or even a slave in chains in a poor and barbaric country, as some people want to believe.
A small portrait of a child by Sofonisba Anguissola in profuse mannerist frame from private collection in Switzerland shows a boy wearing an elegant black velvet doublet trimmed in gold, black hose and a black cape, like an attendant of the Jesuit school. The boy's features are very similar to these known from portraits of Eric XIV, his daughter Sigrid and to the portrait of a woman from Gripsholm Castle from about 1580, which is identified as Eric's step-sister Princess Elizabeth or his wife Karin Månsdotter. His pose and costume are almost identical with these visible in portrait of king John III of Sweden, husband of Catherine Jagiellon and Gustav Eriksson's uncle, in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, a copy of original portrait by Johan Baptista van Uther from 1582. Anguissola's portrait can be threfore dated to 1582, a year when Gustav Eriksson reached his legal age of 14, and it was commissioned by his foster mother, proud of her boy starting education, most probably as one of a series for herself, her friends in Poland and abroad.
Portrait of Gustav Eriksson Vasa (1568-1607) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1582, Private collection.
Portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola
Another mysterious portrait by Anguissola from the 1580s was acquired in 1949 by the National Museum in Warsaw from private collection. It was previously attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni and it shows a man with his daughter.
The girl is holding a flower with four petals, similar to a primrose considered as a symbol of true (faithful) love, just as in "The Primrose" by John Donne (1572-1631), to white Caucasian rockcress (Arabis caucasica) or myrtle, consecrated to Venus, goddess of love and used in bridal wreaths - Pliny call it the "nuptial myrtle" (Myrtus coniugalis, Natural History, XV 122).
She wears a coral necklace, a fertility symbol in ancient Rome (after Gerald W. R. Ward's "The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art", 2008, p. 145), as in portraits of young brides by Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio and in Polish folk costumes, and a symbol of protection, meant to bring good luck, as in portraits of court dwarf Magdalena Ruiz.
The red-haired man with blue eyes holds firmly a hand of young blue-eyed blond girl, this is not her father, this is her husband.
In 1581 Anna Jagiellon sent to her friend Bianca Cappello, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, one pretty, graceful female dwarf who could dance and sing. Monsignor Alberto Bolognetti, Bishop of Massa Marittima organized a travel for her from Warsaw through Kraków and Vienna. She was accompanied by "a Polish Gentleman named Mr. Giovanni Kobilmiczhi, and I [...] lingua Cobilnisczi, who is setting off in a carriage. I believe that the girl will feel comfortable, being highly recommended to the gentleman, and provided with whatever she needs to protect her from cold" (un Gentilhuomo Polaco nominato Signore Giovanni Kobilmiczhi, et mi [...] lingua Cobilnisczi, Il quale mettendo a viaggio in carozza. Mi credo che la fanciulla si condurrà comodamente, havendola lo massime al gentilhuomo molto raccomandata, et provista di qual che suo bisogno per difenderla dal freddo), according to the letter of February 15, 1581. The man was most probably Jan Kobylnicki, a courtier of king Stephen Bathory.
Beautiful Nana (Italian for female dwarf) was probably married after her arrival to Florence, possibly even with Kobylnicki or other Pole, and it was probably the Queen who commissioned her portrait with her husband from Anguissola, who moved from Pisa near Florence to Genoa in 1581. Consequently a two-sided portrait miniature of a female dwarf and her husband in the Uffizi Gallery painted in the style of Sofonisba from the same period, should be considered as effigy of parents of beautiful Nana.
Portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait miniature of mother of Beautiful Nana by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait miniature of father of Beautiful Nana by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1581-1582, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portraits of Griselda Bathory and Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska by Sofonisba Anguissola
To strengthen the influence of the Bathory family in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, king Stephen planned the marriage of his Calvinist niece Griselda (née Christine) with the widowed Grand Chancellor of the Crown, Jan Zamoyski, one of the most powerful men in the country.
They were married on June 12, 1583 at the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. Griselda came to Kraków with a retinue of 1,100 people, including six hundred soldiers guarding the her dowry. The wedding celebration with truly royal splendor lasted ten days.
After Bathory's death in 1586, Zamoyski helped Sigismund III Vasa gain the Polish throne, fighting in the brief civil war against the forces supporting the Habsburgs.
Griselda died four years later on 14 March 1590 in Zamość, an ideal city designed by Venetian architect Bernardo Morando. The city was not far from the second largest city of the Commonwealth, Lviv, dominated by a Royal Castle.
The portait of a young lady by Sofonisba Anguissola from the National Art Gallery in Lviv is very similar to the portrait of Anna Radziwill née Kettler from about 1586 in the National Museum in Warsaw. Anna Radziwill was a wife of a brother of first wife of Zamoyski. Their headdresses or bonnets are very much alike, as well as the dress, ruff, jewels and even the pose. The woman in Anguissola's painting is holding a zibellino, a symbol of a bride, and a small book, most probably a Protestant bible. The features of the woman's face are very similar to portraits of Griselda's uncle, cousin and brother.
A miniature in Sofonisba's style in the Uffizi Gallery (Inv. 1890, 9048, Palatina 778), shows a girl in very similar dress inspired by Spanish fashion to that in Lviv portrait. Her jewelled headdress is not Western however, it is in Eastern style and similar to Russian kokoshnik (from the Old Slavic kokosh, which means "hen" or "cockerel"). Such headdresses carried the idea of fertility and were popular in different Slavic countries. In Poland they preserved in some folk costumes (wianek, złotnica, czółko) and become dominant at the court of Queen Constance of Austria in Warsaw in the 1610s and 1620s.
The girl is therefore Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska (later Sieniawska), who in about 1587 at the age of 13 (born 13 December 1573), entered the court of Anna Jagiellon and whose miniature the Queen could send to her friend Bianca Cappello in Florence. She was the child of a Calvinist Anzelm Gostomski (d. 1588), voivode of Rawa. Her mother, Zofia Szczawińska, fourth wife of Anzelm, who raised her in Sierpc was affraid that her beautiful and wealthy daughter would be abducted by suitors. In 1590, despite her aversion to marriage, she married the Calvinist Prokop Sieniawski, then the court cupbearer, whom Queen Anna and her relatives chose for her.
Consequently also other portrait, depicting a lady with a pendant with Allegory of Abundance, and attributed to Spanish school (Alonso Sánchez Coello) could be a work of Anguissola and identifed as a court lady of Anna Jagiellon. She could be Dorota Wielopolska, lady-in-waiting of the Queen who in May 1576 married Piotr Potulicki, Castellan of Przemyśl. The queen organized for her a lavish feast and a tournament at the Wawel Castle. The painting was aquired by the National Museum in Kraków from a private collection in Gdów near Wieliczka, which was owned by the Wielopolski family.
Portrait of Griselda Bathory (1569-1590) by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1586-1587, National Art Gallery in Lviv.
Miniature portrait of Elżbieta Łucja Gostomska (1573-1624) by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1586-1587, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Portrait of a young woman with a pendant with Allegory of Abundance, most probably Dorota Wielopolska by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1580s, National Museum in Kraków.
Portraits of Duke Henry XI of Legnica by Flemish and French painters
In 1551 Frederick III, Duke of Legnica (1520-1570) visited the French and Polish royal court. The Duke joined a coalition of rebellious Protestant princes, and formed an alliance with King Henry II of France, a longtime enemy of the Habsburgs. Consequently, he was deprived of the Duchy in favor of his son Henry XI (1539-1588), who was still a minor and initially ruled under the regency of his uncle, Duke George II of Brzeg (1523-1586).
Despite being a fief of the Habsburgs, George II was in opposition to their absolutist policies in Silesia. Through his marriage to the daughter of the Elector of Brandenburg Barbara (1527-1595), granddaughter of Barbara Jagiellon (1478-1534), he was on good terms with the Electorate of Brandenburg. He also maintained friendly relations with Poland, corresponded with the Archbishop of Gniezno Jakub Uchański, King Sigismund II Augustus, and later with Stephen Bathory.
Young duke Henry spent several years at the court of his uncle in Brzeg. Between 1547 and 1560 George II rebuilt the castle there in the Renaissance style. Italian architects Giovanni Battista de Pario (Johann Baptist Pahr) and his son Franceso added an arcaded courtyard, strongly inspired by the architecture of the Wawel royal castle in Kraków. Some of the tapestries that he commissioned were also inspired by famous Jagiellonian tapestries (Wawel arrases). Tapestry with Abduction of the Sabine women with coat of arms of George II and his wife, today in private collection, created between 1567-1586, is a copy of Wawel's The Moral Fall of Humanity from the series The Story of the First Parents, weaved between 1548-1553 in Brussels by Jan de Kempeneer after design by Michiel Coxie for King Sigismund Augustus. The weaver just rearranged a few figures in the composition. Two other tapestries made for the Duke of Brzeg are in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit. Heraldic tapestry with coat of arms of George II and his wife in the National Museum in Wrocław, was created in 1564 by his court weaver (from 1556) Flemish Jacob van Husen, who worked before (for ten years) in the workshop of Peter Heymanns in Szczecin. His successor was Egidius Hohenstrasse from Brussels, active in Brzeg from the 1570s and remaining there until his death in 1621 (after "Funkcja dzieła sztuki ...", p. 203). He created the heraldic tapestry with coat of arms of Barbara of Brandenburg (Church of Saint Nicholas in Brzeg).
At that time, Silesia became an important center in the European textile industry. In the first half of the 16th century Legnica merchants appeared more and more often at the Leipzig Fair, trading primarily Silesian canvas. Raw materials and ready weaving products, in particular Legnica cloth, were exported to other cities, while wool was brought to Legnica from Greater Poland.
The export of Silesian linen began to be organized in the 1560s by Netherlandish merchants. It was the Flemish/Dutch merchants, who controlled about 80% of the Baltic trade at the time, who became the organizers of the export of Silesia linen to America and West Africa at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. According to a document of 1565 issued by King Sigismund Augustus merchants from Silesia and Moravia sold cloth in Poland. Against the competition of foreign merchants, especially the Scots, the English and the Dutch, who at the end of the 16th century began to flock to Silesia en masse, an imperial patent of August 20, 1599 was imposed, under which only local merchants could trade in Silesian products (after "Związki handlowe Śląska z Rzecząpospolitą ..." by Marian Wolański, p. 126). Painters in Venice and later in the Netherlands needed cloth for their paintings and by the 17th century canvas was imported on a large scale from Silesia to the Netherlands (after "A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings: Volume II: 1631–1634", p. 18).
In the artistic field, ties with Poland, Flanders and Dutch Republic were also strong. In 1550, the city council of Poznań pays 3 florins and 24 grossus to the council of Legnica in Silesia for a portrait of Emperor Charles V. It could have been a small likeness from the Skórzewski collection by workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, signed with artist's insignia and dated '1550', today in the Gołuchów Castle (National Museum in Poznań, oil on panel, 31 x 35 cm), however, this effigy could have been also by Flemish school, like the painting in Warsaw (National Museum in Warsaw, 183175 MNW) or Spanish, Flemish or Italian school after original by Titian, like the portrait in Kraków (Czartoryski Museum, MNK XII-259, purchased in Paris in 1869). The paintings were mainly imported from abroad and came from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. In 1561 Jan Frayberger, a merchant from Wrocław in Silesia, brought to Poznań twelve dozen of painted playing cards from Flanders and "2 paintings of the Saxon Elector", Stanisław Voitt had "11 Netherlandish paintings on canvas, new" and in 1559 Jan Iwieński brought two chests of books from Italy, several everyday objects and one painting imago quedam. A well-known goldsmith from Poznań, Erazm Kamin (d. 1585), had four paintings on canvas and 14 Italian paintings and a furrier from Poznań Jan Rakwicz (d. 1571) left "10 paintings in frames, 4 paintings without frames" (after "Studia renesansowe", Volume 1, p. 369-370).
According to preserved documents, the kings of Poland ordered tapestries (in 1526, 1533, between 1548-1553) and paintings (in 1536) in Flanders. The Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs commissioned tapestries with their effigies (Conquest of Tunis tapestries) and inspired by Hieronymus Bosch's works (Temptation of St. Anthony and the Haywain tapestries in Madrid), so did the rulers of France (Valois tapestries in Florence, one with Festivals for the Polish ambassadors in 1573) and Portugual (Deeds and triumphs of João de Castro, viceroy of Portuguese India in Vienna). Flemish portraitists were then considered to be among the best in Europe. Some of them were willing to travel, like Lucas de Heere, who designed tapestries for Catherine de' Medici and who created the triple profile portrait, said to be mignons (male lovers) of Henry of Valois (Milwaukee Art Museum), but others not. Today, rich people order such personalized things from very distant places like shoes, it was the same in the 16th century.
According to Latin inscription in upper part of the painting sold in Paris in 2019 (oil on panel, 35.5 x 27.6 cm, Artcurial, 27.03.2019, lot 294), the man depicted was 24 in 1563 (AN° DNI - 1563 - ÆTATIS - SVE - 24 -), exaclty as Duke Henry XI of Legnica (born on February 23, 1539 at Legnica Castle), when Emperor Maximilian II arrived to Legnica for the baptism of his daughter Anna Maria, greeted with great celebration and a magnificent feast. This small painting is attributed to Gillis Claeissens (or Egidius Claeissens), a Flemish painter active in Bruges, and comes from private collection in Paris. Almost an exact copy of this painting exist, however, the face and left hand are different, as well as the inscription. The painter has just "glued" the other face into the same body. This "copy" is now in the Museum Helmond in the Netherlands (oil on panel, 35.5 x 27.5 cm, inventory number 2007-015) and the man depicted was 22 in 1563 (AN° DNI - 1563 - ÆTATIS SVE - 22 -), therefore born in 1541. There is no resemblance between the red-haired man and the dark-haired man, hence they were not members of the same family. The man from the Helmond portrait is identified as Adolf van Cortenbach, Lord of Helmond from 1578, however, Adolf was born around 1540, so he would be 23 in 1563, not 22. This sitter bear a striking resemblance to a man born in 1541 whose face is known from many effigies painted by the best European painters - Francesco de' Medici, later Grand Duke of Tuscany and regent from 1564. Prior to his marriage to Joanna of Austria, daughter of Anna Jagiellonica (1503-1547) in 1565, Francesco had spent a year (June 1562 - September 1563) at the court of King Philip II of Spain, Lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. Around 1587 Hans von Aachen, who from 1585 lived in Venice, created a portrait of Francesco (Pitti Palace, OdA Pitti 767), and between 1621-1625 a Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens copied an effigy of the duke for his daughter Marie de' Medici, Queen of France (Louvre). Although in the majority of his portraits, Francesco has brown eyes, in this one, like in the painting by Alessandro Allori in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp (MMB.0199), his eyes are blue.
The red-haired man from the Paris portrait was also depicted in another painting, today in the National Gallery of Art in Washington (oil on panel, 31.2 x 22.7 cm, inventory number 1942.16.1). He is older, his forehead is higher, he lost part of his hair and his costume and ruff in French style indicate that the painting was made in the 1570s. At the beginning of the 20th century this painting was part of the collection of art dealer Charles Albert de Burlet in Berlin, where many items from Ducal collections in Legnica and Brzeg were transported after 1740-1741. The portrait if attributed to French school and its style is very close to the portrait of Claude Catherine de Clermont, duchess of Retz in the Czartoryski Museum (MNK XII-293), attributed to follower of François Clouet, possibly Jean de Court, who died in Paris after 1585 and who in 1572 succeeded Clouet as painter to the king of France. Great similarities are also to be noted with portrait of Louis I de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (1530-1569) by workshop of François Clouet (sold at Sotheby's, sale L14037, lot 105).
After the death of Sigismund II Augustus, Henry XI was a candidate to the Polish crown in the first free election in 1573, but he obtained only three votes and it was the French candidate Henry of Valois who was elected. At the beginning of 1575 he was in Poznań at the funeral of Bishop Adam Konarski and in July he went to Kraków, in order to hold talks with the local voivode, Piotr Zborowski, who was to help him in obtaining the throne.
In 1576 the Duke of Legnica took part in expedition to France of the exiled Henri I de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (1552-1588), Louis' son, who fled to Alsace and rallied new Huguenot troops.
Henry's conduct became more and more prodigal, he undertook numerous costly journeys to various cities, doubling the debts left by his father. In 1569, he participated in the Sejm in Lublin, where the Union of Lublin was concluded. At a meeting with Sigismund II Augustus in Lublin, he presented the Polish monarch with two lions and precious jewels and this expedition cost 24,000 thalers, while the annual income of the duke amounted to less than 12,000 thalers. During his absence, he was deposed in 1576 by Emperor Maximilian II and his brother Frederick IV, who had been co-ruling until then, exercised the power alone. Four years later, in 1580, Henry XI was allowed to rule again in Legnica, but in 1581, he came into conflict with Emperor Rudolf II and was imprisoned in Prague Castle and then transferred to Wrocław and Świdnica. In 1585, Henry XI managed to escape and fled to Poland. With the help of elected Queen Anna Jagiellon and her husband, he unsuccessfully tried to regain control of his duchy. In 1587 he went to Sweden as a personal envoy of the Queen and he accompanied the newly elected King Sigismund III Vasa to Kraków, where Henry XI died in March 1588 after a short illness. Because he was a Protestant, the Catholic clergy of Kraków refused to give Henry a burial. Eventually his body was interred in the chapel of the Carmelite Church. This Gothic church, founded in 1395 by Queen Jadwiga and her husband Jogaila of Lithuania (Ladislaus II Jagiello) was seriously damaged in 1587 during the siege of Kraków by Emperor Maximilian. It was rebuilt with the financial help of Anna Jagiellon in 1588.
In the National Museum in Warsaw (deposited to Palace on the Isle) there is a portrait of a bald man with a beard from the fourth quarter of the 16th century, painted by Flemish painter (oil on panel, 44.9 x 30.3 cm, inventory number Dep 629, M.Ob.2753, earlier 158169). It was acquired between 1945-1957. This man bear a striking resemblance to the man from the portrait in Washington and to the only known so far graphic representation of Duke Henry XI of Legnica, engraving by Bartłomiej Strachowski, published in Georg Thebesius' Liegnitzische Jahr-Bücher ... in 1733, after original effigy from about 1580.
The style of a portrait of a bearded man in Warsaw greatly resemble the effigy of Alessandro Farnese (1545-1592), Duke of Parma and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, attributed to Antoon Claeissens, Gillis' brother, in the same collection (deposited to Palace on the Isle, Dep 630, M.Ob.2749). Farnese's likeness was purchased in 1950 from Czesław Domaradzki and has almost identical dimensions (oil on panel, 44.5 x 33.5 cm). In private collection, there is another portrait in similar dimensions (oil on panel, 46.4 x 35.6 cm), attributed to Adriaen Thomasz. Key (died after 1589), and similar to full-length effigy of King Philip II of Spain by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz in the El Escorial, while in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam there is a portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon, purchased in 1955 from the dealer Alfred Weinberger in Paris, attributed to Cologne school, close to works of a painter active in Lviv, Jan Szwankowski (d. 1602).
In the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna there are two miniatures of Duchesses of Legnica (inscription D. DE LIGNIZ) from the 1570s, painted by Flemish or Italian painter, which should be identified as Anna Maria (1563-1620) and Emilia (1563-1618), daughters of Henry XI.
In conclusion, the rulers of Europe frequently exchanged their effigies, which were frequently created in different places, not necessarily by the "court painters".
Portrait of Duke Henry XI of Legnica (1539-1588), aged 24 by Gillis Claeissens, 1563, Private collection.
Portrait of Francesco de' Medici (1541-1587), aged 22 by Gillis Claeissens, 1563, Museum Helmond.
Portrait of Duke Henry XI of Legnica (1539-1588) by follower of François Clouet, possibly Jean de Court, ca. 1570-1576, National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Portrait of Duke Henry XI of Legnica (1539-1588) by Antoon Claeissens, 1580s, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Alessandro Farnese (1545-1592), Duke of Parma by Antoon Claeissens, 1580s, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon (1523-1596) by Jan Szwankowski or Cologne school, ca. 1590, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Portrait of King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) by Adriaen Thomasz. Key or follower, ca. 1590, Private collection.
Portrait of Jan Tomasz Drohojowski by Leandro Bassano
Jan Tomasz Drohojowski (1535-1605) from Drohojów, near Przemyśl, was a son of Krzysztof Drohojowski, a nobleman of Korczak coat of arms, and Elżbieta Fredro. He had five sisters and two brothers, Kilian and Jan Krzysztof (died before December 12, 1580), the royal secretary. He studied at the University of Wittenberg (enrolled on June 21, 1555), with his brother Kilian in Tübingen, then alone in Basel in 1560. Well educated, knowing French, Italian and Latin, he began to serve the king Sigismund Augustus. He was sent by him with a mission to Italy. According to Krzysztof Warszewicki (1543-1603), he brought the king as a gift a horse of wonderful color and virtue (equum admirabilis coloris et bonitatis Regi donavit). After return he became the royal secretary and in 1569 in this capacity he signed three privileges. At the time of the king's death, he was in Knyszyn and prevented the royal property from being looted and at the Sejm of 1573, Jan Tomasz called for a punishment of those guilty of looting royal valuables.
Shortly thereafter, Jan Tomasz went to Kraków to participate in the reception ceremony of king Henry of Valois. He stayed in Kraków, performing his duties as secretary and courtier of the king, and he even borrowed a certain amount to king Henry. Then he was sent on several ambassadorial missions, including to France. He was present at the anointing of king Henry at Reims on February 13, 1575. On March 2, 1575 in a letter from Prague to Infanta Anna Jagiellon he reported to her about the coronation of Henry and his marriage with Louise of Lorraine. The Infanta, in a letter of April 10, 1575, written from Warsaw to her sister Sophia, calls Jan Tomasz a courtier of the King.
After returning from the mission in Courland in 1578, he hosted king Stephen Bathory for 5 days in Przemyśl (for which he spent 911 zlotys) and become the starost of Przemyśl. Also in 1578, he founded octagonal chapel of St. Thomas (Drohojowski Chapel) at the Przemyśl Cathedral, built in the Renaissance style. To put up one tower at the Przemyśl castle he spent 180 zlotys. At the end of January 1579 he was sent by the king to Constantinople (Istanbul).
In a letter of January 13, 1581 from Warsaw to Andrzej Opaliński (1540-1593), Court Crown Marshal, Mr Bojanowski calls Jan Tomasz, Gian Tomaso in Italian. In May 1583, princess Griselda Bathory, niece of the king, stayed in Drohojowski's Palace in Voiutychi, designed in Renaissance style by Italian architect Galeazzo Appiani from Milan, with her entire retinue of 500 infantry soldiers and 78 mounted knights. In 1588 he escorted to Krasnystaw, Archduke Maximilian of Austria (1558-1618), who stood as a candidate for the throne of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, taken captive at the Battle of Byczyna (24 January). Before December 20, 1589 Jan Tomasz was appointed the crown referendary because the letter of king Sigismund III from that date already gives him this title.
His career was facilitated by family ties with Jan Zamoyski, Great Hetman of the Crown, who entrusted the guardianship of his son Tomasz to him in 1589. He became friends with Mikołaj Herburt (1524-1593), castellan of Przemysl and he married his daughter, Jadwiga Herburt. From this marriage he had a son, Mikołaj Marcin Drohojowski, most probaly born in the late 1580s (he loses a trial in 1613 and in 1617 he sold Rybotycze estate to Mikołaj Wolski (1553-1630)). Jan Tomasz died in the Przemyśl castle on November 12, 1605 at the age of 70.
The portrait of a nobleman in a black French style costume lined with fur by Leandro Bassano, was offered to the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm in 1917. The aristocratic tone of this portrait is accentuated by the verticality of the figure, his pose and gloves. The date in upper left corner of the canvas was not added very skillfully, therefore we can assmue that it was added later by the owner or at his request, not by the original painter. According to this inscription in Latin, the man was 53 in June 1588 (AET . SVAE . / LIII / MĒS . VI / 1588), exactly as Jan Tomasz Drohojowski. Below there is also another date in Latin: March 27 (27 mês martij), which could be the date of birth of Jan Tomasz's son Mikołaj Marcin. The man's costume and pose as well as facial features bears a striking resemblance to a portrait of Jan Tomasz's brother Jan Krzysztof (d. 1580), the royal secretary, in the Przemyśl Cathedral. This portrait, created in the first half of the 18th century, is a copy of other effigy and is a pendant to a portrait of his brother Jan Tomasz, who as a starost (capitaneus) of Przemyśl, administrative official, equivalent to the County Sheriff, was depicted in an armor and holding an axe.
Portrait of Jan Tomasz Drohojowski (1535-1605), starost of Przemyśl aged 53 by Leandro Bassano, 1588, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto
After the death of Stephen Bathory in December 1586, when 63 years old elected Queen Anna Jagiellon, could finally rule on her own, she was most probably too sick and too tired to do this. She supported the candidature of her niece Anna or her nephew Sigismund, children of her beloved sister Catherine, Queen of Sweden as candidates in next election. Sigismund was elected the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on 19 August 1587.
Raised in Protestant Sweden, where Flemish Domenicus Verwilt and Dutch Johan Baptista van Uther with their stiff realism were chief portraitists at the court of his father and his predecessor, he found "degenerated", frivolous style of the Venetians not very appealing to him, at least initially. Although, he commissioned paintings in Venice, all most probably destroyed, no portrait is mentioned in sources. He supported Martin Kober, a Silesian painter trained in Germany, as his main court portraitist. It was therefore his aunt Anna Jagiellon, who could order a series of portraits of her protégé from Tintoretto for her and for her Italian friends.
The portrait of a blond hair young man, wearing a tight black doublet in El Paso Museum of Art is very similar to other known portraits of the king, especially his effigy in Spanish costume by Jakob Troschel from about 1610 (Uffizi in Florence) and a portrait holding his hand on a sword, attributed to Philipp Holbein II, from about 1625 (Royal Castle in Warsaw).
Chronologically this portrait fit perfectly known portraiture of the king: portrait as a child aged 2 from 1568 (AETATIS SVAE 2/1568), created by Johan Baptista van Uther as gift for his aunt (Wawel), as a Duke of Finland aged 18 (AETATIS SVAE XVIIII), consequently from 1585, also created by van Uther in Sweden (Uffizi), next this portrait by Domenico Tintoretto from about 1590, when he was 24 and was already in Poland and then the miniature at the age of 30 (ANNO AETATIS XXX) from about 1596 by workshop of Martin Kober or follower (Czartoryski Museum). The painting was inscribed on the column (AETATIS…X…TORET), now mostly effaced.
His left hand looks like if was posed on a sword at his belt, however no object is present. It was probably less visible in a drawing or miniature sent to Tintoretto, hence he left his hand strangely in the air, a proof that the sitter was not in painter's atelier. Forgetting of such an important object in the 16th century male portraiture, could be also a result of a rush to accomplish some big royal commission. The Order of the Golden Fleece, basing on which some of Sigismund's portraits were identified, was granted to him in 1600.
It is highly probable that the painting showing the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the National Museum in Warsaw, created by Domenico Tintoretto around that time (after 1588) was also commissioned by Anna. It was bequeathed to the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw by Piotr Fiorentini in 1858 and later purchased by the Museum. Its earlier history is unknown, therefore Fiorentini, born in Vilnius, who later lived in Kraków and Warsaw, could have acquire it in Poland or Lithuania. Anna was engaged in embellishment of the main church of Warsaw - Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and she also built 80-meter-long corridor (covered passage) connecting the Royal Castle with the Cathedral.
Portrait of Sigismund III Vasa at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1590, El Paso Museum of Art.
Baptism of Christ by Domenico Tintoretto, after 1588, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of princess Anna Vasa in Spanish costume by Domenico Tintoretto
In about 1583, after her mother's death, Anna Vasa like her aunt Sophia Jagiellon in 1570, converted to Lutheranism. Already in 1577, papal diplomacy proposed to marry her to an Austrian archduke, Matthias or Maximilian.
She arrived to Poland in Ocober 1587 to attend her brother's coronation and she stayed until 1589, when she accompanied Sigismund to meet their father John III of Sweden in Reval and then followed John to Sweden. Anna returned to Poland to attend the wedding of Sigismund with Anna of Austria in May 1592. When just few months later, on 17 November 1592, John III died, Sigismund was willing to abdicate in favor of Archduke Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry his sister Anna. This was also intended to alleviate the Habsburgs, who already lost in two royal ellections.
Archduke Ernest, the son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, together with his brother Rudolf (Emperor from 1576), was educated at the court of his uncle Philip II in Spain.
To announce this turn in country's politics, where Anna Vasa become a focal point, her aunt most probably commissioned a series of portraits of her niece.
The portait by Domenico Tintoretto from the collection of Prince Chigi in Rome, now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, shows a woman in black saya, a Spanish court dress, from the 1590s, similar to that visible in the portrait of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia by Sofonisba Anguissola in the Prado Museum from about 1597. However the white ruff collar, cuffs and her gold necklace are definitely not Spanish, they are more Central European and very similar to garments visible in portraits of Katarzyna Ostrogska from 1597 in the National Museum in Warsaw and in the portrait of Korona Welser by Abraham del Hele from 1592 in the private collection, they are not Venetian. The features of the woman's face are the same as in Anna Vasa's portrait from about 1605 and her miniatures from the 1590s identified by me (Marcin Latka). A book on the table beside her is therefore Protestant Bible, published in the small octavo format and landscape with rivers and wooded hills is how Tintoretto imagined her native Sweden.
The portrait of a man with a red beard from the same period in the National Museum in Warsaw and attributed to Tintoretto's workshop is almost identical in composition, techinique and dimensions. He is holding a similar book. It is therefore an important royal court official. The royal secretary from 1579 and a staunch Calvinist Jan Drohojowski (d. 1601) fit perfectly. From 1588 he was also a castellan of Sanok, hence one of the most powerful protestants in the country.
Drohojowski was the son of Stanisław Drohojowski, the promoter of Calvinism. His mother Ursula Gucci (d. 1554), also known as Urszula Karłowna, was also a protestant. She was a lady-in-waiting of Queen Bona and a daughter of Carlo Calvanus Gucci (d. 1551), a merchant and contractor, who arrived in Kraków in the retinue of Queen Bona and was later made Żupnik of the Ruthenian lands.
Portrait of princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) in Spanish costume by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Portrait of Jan Drohojowski, castellan of Sanok by workshop of Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1592, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portraits of Anna of Austria and Anna Vasa by Sofonisba Anguissola
In 1586, to strengthen her nephew's chances in royal election, Queen Anna Jagiellon proposed a marriage between Sigismund and Anna of Austria (1573-1598). The Habsburgs had strong influences in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and their claims to the throne were supported by part of the nobility. Due to the political instability and Maximilian of Austria's desire for the Polish crown, Anna's parents, preferred the match with Henry of Lorraine.
The plans resummed in 1590 when Anna's engagement with Duke of Lorraine was broken off. In April 1592, the betrothal was formally celebrated in the Imperial Court in Vienna. Despite the opposition of the nobles, Sigismund and 18 years old Anna were married by proxy in Vienna on 3 May 1592. She arrived to Poland with her mother Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria and a retinue of 431 people. The young king welcomed his wife accompanied by the "old queen" Anna Jagiellon and his sister Princess Anna Vasa in Łobzów Palace near Kraków where four tents were set up, decorated in Turkish style for the feast. The young queen received rich gifts, including "Kanak necklace with large diamonds and rubies and oriental pearls, which are called Bezars 30" from the king, "a chain of oriental pearls and a diamond necklace, and two crosses, one ruby, the other diamond" from the "old queen" and "kanak necklace with a cross of rubies and diamonds pinned on one" from Princess Anna, among others. Also "the envoy from the Lords of Venice" brought gifts valued at 12,000 florins.
Anna of Austria's Spanish connections become very important soon after her arrival, when after death of his father Sigismund left for Sweden and was willing to abdicate in favor of Archduke Ernest of Austria, who was about to marry his sister Anna Vasa. Two of Anna's effigies by Martin Kober from about 1595 were later sent to dukes of Tuscany (both Francesco I and Ferdinando I were half-Spanish by birth, through their mother Eleanor of Toledo).
Three miniatures and a portrait, all in Sofonisba Anguissola's style, can be dated to around that time. One minature from the Harrach collection in Rohrau Castle in Austria, possibly lost, identified as effigy of Anna of Austria, shows de facto Anna Vasa with an eagle pendant. The other in the Uffizi Gallery (Inv. 1890, 8920, Palatina 650) depict Anna Vasa in more northern costume. The latter miniature is accompanied by very similar miniature of a lady in Spanish cosume with a necklace with Imperial eagle (Inv. 1890, 8919, Palatina 649), it is an effigy of Anna of Austria, the young queen of Poland and relative of the Holy Roman Emperors and the King of Spain.
The portrait by Sofonisba from private collection, which shows a blond lady with a heavy gold necklace is very similar to other effigies of Queen Anna of Austria, especially her portrait in Kraków, most probably by Jan Szwankowski (Jagiellonian University Museum) and engravings by Andreas Luining (National Museum in Warsaw) and Lambert Cornelis (Czartoryski Museum in Kraków).
The miniature of a man from the collection of Dukes Infantado in Madrid, painted in Sofonisba Anguissola's style shows a man in Eastern costume. His attire is very similar to these visible in a miniature with Polish horsemen from Albert of Prussia's "Kriegsordnung" (Military ordinance), created in 1555 (Berlin State Library) and in a portrait of Sebastian Lubomirski (1546-1613), created in about 1613 (National Museum in Warsaw). The features of the man's face are similar to miniature of Sigismund III Vasa (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum) and his portrait by Martin Kober (Kunsthistorisches Museum), both created in the 1590s. In the same collection of Dukes Infantado, there is also a miniature attributed to Jakob de Monte (Giacomo de Monte) from the same period, showing king's mother-in-law Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria (1551-1608).
Portrait of Queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Private collection.
Miniature portrait of Queen Anna of Austria (1573-1598) in Spanish cosume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Miniature portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Miniature portrait of Princess Anna Vasa (1568-1625) with eagle pendant by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, Rohrau Castle.
Miniature portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa in Polish costume by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1592, collection of Dukes Infantado in Madrid.
Portraits of Sigismund Bathory at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto
After failed plans to cede the throne of the Commonwealth to Archduke Ernest, as no monarch could do this without approval from the Diet, the Holy See had proposed the marriage of Princess Anna Vasa to Sigismund Bathory, who both could rule the country during the absence of the king (Sigismund III left for Sweden in 1593).
Sigismund was the nephew of king Stephen Bathory, who on 1 May 1585 confirmed his legal age by dissolving the council of twelve noblemen who ruled Transylvania in his name and made János Ghyczy the sole regent.
After death of his uncle in 1586, he was one of the candidates to the throne of the Commonwealth. Sigismund knew Latin and Italian and in 1592 at his court in Alba Julia he had a large group of Italian musicians like Giovanni Battista Mosto, Pietro Busto, Antonio Romanini, or Girolamo Diruta among others.
In summer of 1593, he went to Kraków in disguise to start negotiations regarding his marriage with Anna Vasa. Possibly on this occasion either the Polish court or Sigismund himself ordered a series of portraits from Domenico Tintoretto. It is unknown why negotiations were eventually unsuccessful, possible reason might be his homosexuality. The elites were probably afraid of another frivolous "Valois", who will escape from the country after few months or it was Anna who refused to marry him.
Three years later however, on August 1595, Sigismund married Maria Christina of Austria, a sister of Anna of Austria (1573-1598), hence becoming brother-in-law of the king of Poland. It was regarded as a major political gain, but Sigismund refused to consummate the marriage.
In summer of 1596 he sent his confessor, Alfonso Carrillo, to Spain. The Jesuit asked Philip II for finacial aid, as well as the Order of the Golden Fleece for Sigismund. The king promised Carrillo, in addition to 80,000 ducats in aid and granting of high distinction, diplomatic aid to Poland.
On 21 March 1599 Sigismund formally abdicated receiving the Silesian duchies of Opole and Racibórz as compensation and left Transylvania for Poland in June. On 17 August 1599 Pope Clement VIII dissolved his marriage.
A young man in a ruff from the 1590s, known from a series of portraits by Domenico Tintoretto, his workshop and some Italian painter, resemble greatly Sigismund Bathory, who was 21 in 1593. One version, in Kassel, bears an inscription ANNO SALVTIS / .M.D.L.X.X.X.V. (In the year of Salvation 1585) on a letter placed on a table beside him, it is a letter from Sigismund's uncle, King Stephen of Poland confirming his rights to Transylvania and therefore his claims to King's inheritance. The other in private collection in Marburg is inscribed TODORE del SASSO / CIAMBERLANO / AETATIS SVAE XXXVI with an image of a key, therefore claiming to be Chamberlain Todore del Sasso, aged 36, however no such man is confirmed in sources, especially as a recipient of the Order of the Golden Fleece known from so many portraits, the inscription must be false. It cannot be also Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino as the effigy does not match with his features and he had his exquisit court painter Federico Barocci. Another portrait from the Swedish royal collection by Domenico's workshop is in Stockholm. It was probably sent to Sigismund III, when he was in Sweden for his coronation.
There is also another version, but by a different painter, in Mexico. It is attributed to Giovanni Battista Moroni or to Domenico Tintoretto, therefore stylistically close, to a painter born in Cremona, Sofonisba Anguissola, court painter of Spanish monarchs. The effigy is very similar to previous portraits, just the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece was added. It was commissioned by Polish court or Sigismund himself in about 1596 basing on effigy from 1593.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1593, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto or workshop, ca. 1593, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by Domenico Tintoretto or workshop, ca. 1593, Private collection.
Portrait of Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania at a young age by circle of Giovanni Battista Moroni, most probably Sofonisba Anguissola after Domenico Tintoretto, ca. 1596, Museo Nacional de San Carlos in Mexico.
Portrait of Agnieszka Tęczyńska as Saint Agnes by Francesco Montemezzano
In October 1594, when she was just 16 years old, the eldest daughter of Andrzej Tęczyński, Voivode of Kraków, and Zofia nee Dembowska, daughter of Voivode of Belz, married the widower Mikołaj Firlej, Voivode of Kraków from 1589. The wedding feast with the participation of the royal couple took place in the "Painted Manor" of the Tęczyński family in Kraków, later donated to the barefoot Carmelites (1610). The groom, brought up in Calvinism, secretly converted to Catholicism during his trip to Rome in 1569. He studied in Bologna.
Agnieszka was born in the lavish Tenczyn Castle, near Kraków on January 12, 1578 as the fourth child. Both of her parents died in 1588 and most probably then she was raised in the royal court of Queen Anna Jagiellon. In 1593 she accompanied the royal couple, Sigismund III and his wife Anna of Austria, on their trip to Sweden.
For some time, Tęczyńska's confessor was the Jesuit Piotr Skarga. After her husband's death in 1601, she took up the upbringing of her children, the administration of huge assets and she became involved in philanthropic and charitable activities. Widowed, Tęczyńska fell into devotion. She died in Rogów on June 16, 1644, at the age of 67, and was buried in the crypt at the entrance to the church in Czerna, she founded.
In the preserved paintings, offered to different monasteries, she is depicted in a costume of a widowed lady or in a Benedictine habit, like in a full-length portrait in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków from about 1640, created by circle of royal court painter Peter Danckerts de Rij or in a three-quarter length portrait in the National Museum in Warsaw, created by Jan Chryzostom Proszowski in 1643. The latter portrait, very Italian in style, was most likely inspired by a portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola.
A portrait in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH) depicts a lady with a lamb, an attribute of Saint Agnes, a patron saint of girls, chastity and virgins. "During the Renaissance, women who were soon to be married often associated themselves with this saint because Agnes chose to die rather than marry a man she did not love", according to MFAH catalogue. She is holding a Catholic book, most probably a volume of Saint Thomas Aquinas' "On the truth of the Catholic faith" (Incipit liber primus de veritate catholicae fidei contra errores gentilium). A rose-bush is in this context a symbol of the Virgin Mary and of messianic promise of Christianity because of its thorns (after James Romaine, Linda Stratford, "ReVisioning: Critical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art", 2014, p. 111).
Woman's face is very similar to the effigies of Agnieszka Tęczyńska, later Firlejowa from the last decade of her life and to the portrait of her nephew, Stanisław Tęczyński in Polish costume, created by Venetian painter active in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Tommaso Dolabella.
The portrait was in von Dirksen's collection in Berlin before 1932 and stylistically is very close to portraits of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Francesco Montemezzano (died after 1602), a pupil and a follower of Paolo Veronese.
Portrait of Agnieszka Tęczyńska as Saint Agnes by Francesco Montemezzano, ca. 1592-1594, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Portrait of Andrzej Kochanowski by Sofonisba Anguissola
"To Mr. Andrzej Kochanowski, son of Dobiesław, heir of Gródek, famous for his birth and his own virtues, a man distinguished in life by God's great gifts, such as wisdom, diligence, temperance, piety towards God, kindness towards friends, immense generosity towards the poor, who, when with great sadness and pain of his relatives and noble people, at the age of 54, he ended his life in the year of the Lord 1596 on March 24, in this church, which he erected in the name and glory of God, according to the rite of the Catholic Church, whose principles he always followed in his life, he was buried. A monument, as a proof of love, was erected to him by Mr. Andrzej Kochanowski, nephew, son of Jan, vicecapitaneus of Stężyca", reads the Latin inscription on a late-Renaissance wooden epitaph in the Parish church in Gródek near Zwoleń and Radom in Masovia. The church was founded by the mentioned Andrzej from Opatki (de Opatki), son of Dobiesław, heir in Gródek and Zawada and his wife Anna Mysłowska, who completed the construction and furnished the temple. The permission to build the church was issued by cardinal George Radziwill on April 3, 1593 and the building was ready in 1595. It was consecrated by the cardinal two years after death of the founder in 1598 and the epitaph was erected in 1620. This church was plundered by the Swedes in 1657, the thieves in 1692, and again in 1707 from silver and more expensive apparatus. The second time, among other valuables, two thorns from Christ's crown were stolen, set in silver, which Cardinal Radziwill had left as a gift at the consecration. The village was burnt to the ground in 1657 (after "O rodzinie Jana Kochanowskiego … ", p. 161-168).
According to some sources Andrzej from Opatki had two sons – Eremian and Jan, according to other he died childless and as his heirs he named Kasper, Stanisław, Andrzej, Adam and Jerzy, sons of his brother. It was however not the heir in Gródek, but the brother of poet Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584), also Andrzej, who translated Virgil's Aeneid, published in 1590, and works by Plutarch (after "Wiadomość o życiu i pismach Jana Kochanowskiego" by Józef Przyborowski, p. 9-10). The younger brother of famous poet was born before 1537 and died in about 1599. In 1571 he married Zofia of Sobieszyn, daughter of Jan Sobieski, with whom he had 9 sons, one of whom, Jan from Barycz Kochanowski, was in 1591 transferred by his father from the queen's court in Warsaw to Jan Zamoyski.
The village of Gródek passed to the Kochanowski family as a dowry of Anna Mysłowska, who later married Stanisław Plicht, castellan of Sochaczew and after his death Abraham Leżeński. Cardinal Radziwill's favor indicates that the couple was associated with his multicultural court in Kraków as well as the court of Queen Anna Jagiellon in nearby Warsaw. A document issued by the cardinal to Anna Kochanowska née Mysłowska in Stężyca on October 30, 1598 was signed in presence of the members of his court, some of them have Italian and even Scottish names, like Jan Fox (1566-1636), scholastic of Skalbmierz, who studied in Padua and in Rome after 1590, Kosmas Venturin, secretary, Jan Equitius Montanus, parish priest, Andrzej Taglia, canon of Sącz and Jan Chrzciciel Dominik de Perigrinis of Bononia, chaplain.
Portrait of a man and two boys in the National Museum in Warsaw (oil on canvas, 80 x 66.5 cm, M.Ob.2484 MNW) is inscribed in Latin in the vicinity of each head. The first inscription above the head of the man indicate that the painting was made in 1596 and his age was 54 (AETATIS. 54: / ANNO 1596.), hence he was born in 1542, the older boy to the left was 10 and he died in 1594 (AETATIS. 10: / OBIIT 1594), thus born in 1584, and the younger was 10 in 1596 (AETATIS 10: / ANNO 1596), thus born in 1586. The dates concerning the man perfectly match the age of Andrzej Kochanowski from Opatki in 1596 and his effigy resemble greatly that of his relative Jan by Giovanni Battista Moroni (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), identified by me. Therefore, the boys are either his sons or the sons of his brother and the painting was created shortly before his death or most probably commissioned by the widow to commemorate the death of all three. The convention of this portrait is very like an epitaph, additionally underlined by the postmortem effigy of the older boy, which was created two years after his death, but he was depicted living and embracing his father or uncle. It can be compared with mentioned painted epitaph of Andrzej from Opatki, created 24 years after his death and depicted sleeping in an armor.
The described painting in Warsaw was acquired from Kraków as a result of the so-called restitution campaign in 1946 and it is attributed to a Flemish painter (after "Early Netherlandish, Dutch, Flemish and Belgian Paintings 1494–1983" by Hanna Benesz and Maria Kluk, Vol. 2, p. 40, item 817). Its style, however, is very much like in a portrait of Beautiful Nana and her husband by Sofonisba Anguissola in the same museum (M.Ob.1079 MNW) and another painting attributed to the Cremonese painter - portrait of Infanta Juana de Austria with female dwarf Ana de Polonia in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, both in terms of rather stiff Spanish composition and technique. We can conclude that similar to portraits of female court dwarfs of Queen Anna Jagiellon, also this portrait was created by Sofonisba, who on 24 December 1584 married sea merchant Orazio Lomellino and lived in Genoa until 1620. Lomellino's family had commercial contacts with Poland-Lithuania since the second half of the 15th century. Among the numerous names of Italian merchants who in the mid-15th century stayed temporarily or settled permanently in Lviv, capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship, we can find the most eminent names from the history of Genoese or Venetian colonies, such as mentioned Lomellino (Lomellini), Grimaldi, Lercario and Mastropietro. The Lomellinos, one of whom was Carlo the Genoese admiral, the other Angelo Giovanni, podesta, i.e. the municipal chief of Pera, maintain relations with the Lindners in Lviv in the 1470s (after "Lwów starożytny", Vol. 1 by Władysław Łoziński, p. 126). Sofonisba's family who settled in Venice belonged to the patriciate of that city from 1499 to 1612.
Portrait of Andrzej Kochanowski (1542-1596) from Opatki and his two sons or nephews by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1596, National Museum in Warsaw.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola
In about 1550, a young Cremonese painter, Sofonisba Anguissola, created her self-portrait (private collection) in a rich dress and in a pose exactly the same as that visible in a portrait of Catherine of Austria, Duchess of Mantua and later Queen of Poland. Catherine's portrait, in Voigtsberg Castle, is attributed to Titian. Sofonisba either created this portrait, participated in its creation or saw it somewhere, as Mantua is not far from Cremona. It could be threfore Catherine, who introduced her to the Polish court, when in June 1553 she married Sigismund II Augustus. Around that time Sofonisba created her self-portrait at the easel, one of the best of her self-portraits, which she could sent to the Polish court as a sample of her talent. This portrait is now in the Łańcut Castle.
The portrait which was previously identifed as effigy of Catharine Fitzgerald, Countess of Desmond and Duchess of Dorset (d. 1625) in Knole House is very similar to effigies of Anna Jagiellon by Martin Kober and his workshop in coronation robes from the Sigismund's Chapel (1587) and in widow's clothing (1595) at the Wawel Castle. It was recently identified as portrait of Sofonisba Anguissola basing on a leaf from van Dyck's Italian Sketchbook. The inscription in Italian was evidently added later, as the year 1629 is mentioned in the text (the painter was in Italy between 1621 and 1627).
The drawing shows an old lady, similar to that from the Knole portrait. According to inscription it is an effigy of Sofonisba, whom the Flemish painter visited in Palermo: "Portrait of Lady Sofonisma painter made live in Palermo in the year 1629 on the 12th of July: her age 96 still having her memory and brain very prompt, very courteous" (Rittratto della Sigra. Sofonisma pittricia fatto dal vivo in Palermo l'anno 1629 li 12 di Julio: l'età di essa 96 havendo ancora la memoria et il serverllo prontissimo, cortesissima). However Sofonisba died on 16 November 1625 and according to sources she was born on 2 February 1532, hence she was 92 when she died. Van Dyck was in Palermo in 1624. If he could confuse the dates of Sofonisba's life, he could also confuse the portrait of Queen of Poland by her hand, created in about 1595, that she had, with her self-portrait (Keller Collection, 1610). He may also have seen the portrait elsewhere in Italy, or even in Flanders or England. The Knole portrait was most probably acquired from the English royal collection, therefore it is highly probable that Anna sent to Queen Elizabeth I her effigy, one from a series created by Anguissola.
In July 1589, English envoy Jerome Horsey, wanting to see Anna, sneaked into her palace in Warsaw: "before the windows whereof were placed pots and ranks of great carnations, gillyflowers, province roses, sweet lilies, and other sweet herbs and strange flowers, giving most fragrant, sweet smells. [...] Her majesty sat under a white silk canopy, upon a great Turkey carpet in a chair of estate, a hard-favored queen, her maids of honor and ladies attendants at supper in the same room". Queen Anna allegedly asked him, how Queen Elizabeth could "'spill the blood of the Lord's anointed, a queen more magnificent than herself, without the trial, judgment and consent of her peers, the holy father the Pope and all the Christian princes of Europe?' 'Her subjects and parliament thought it so requisite, without her royal consent, for her more safety and quiet of her realm daily endangered.' She shook her head with dislike of my answer", reported Horsey.
Anna died in Warsaw on 9 September 1596 at the age of 72. Before her death she managed to accomplish tomb monuments for herself (1584) and her husband (1595) in Kraków, created by Florentine sculptor Santi Gucci, and for her mother in Bari near Naples (1593), created by Andrea Sarti, Francesco Zaccarella and Francesco Bernucci. She was the last of the Jagiellons, a dynasty that ruled over vast territories in Central Europe since the late 14th century, when Polish nobles proposed to pagan Duke of Lithuania, Jogaila, to marry their eleven-year-old Queen Jadwiga and thus become their king.
Counter-Reformation, that she supported, and foreign invasions destroyed Polish tolerance and diversity, greedy nobles destroyed Polish democracy (Liberum veto) and invaders turned much of the country's heritage into a pile of rubble. The only portrait of the Queen in the nest of the Jagiellons - Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków was acquired from the Imperial collection in Vienna in 1936, just three years before World War II broke out. It was created by Kober in about 1595 and sent to the Habsburgs.
Self-portrait at the easel by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1554-1556, Łańcut Castle.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon by Sofonisba Anguissola, or a copy by Anton van Dyck, ca. 1595 or 1620s, Knole House.
Portrait of Queen Anna Jagiellon, a drawing by Anton van Dyck after lost painting by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1620s, British Museum.
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