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15.02-01.05.2022 ELECTION KINGS AND DIPLOMACY part 2

The Cabinet of Prints and Drawings of the Princes Czartoryski Museum presents a new set of prints from the collection. Portraits and representations of various ceremonies are connected with the reign of the elected kings of Poland, this time starting with John II Casimir Vasa. The exhibited engravings are works by outstanding Dutch, Italian, German, Gdansk and Augsburg artists of the 17th-18th centuries.

The joint portrait of Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV and King John Casimir Vasa is a symbolic representation. These rulers never met in person. The engraving was probably created in connection with the Act of Covenant concluded at Edirne (Adrianople) in 1667, renewing the treaty of 1640.

Jerzy Ossoliński of the Trumpets Coat of Arms made many official trips during the reigns of Wladyslaw IV and John Casimir, including his famous entry into Rome in 1633. His beautiful portrait was made in Gdansk by royal engraver Wilhelm Hondius, court engraver of Wladyslaw IV and John Casimir.

Allegorical portraits, apotheoses, show the majesty of the ruler. It is not known who ordered the engravings depicting the coronation of Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki. Perhaps Bishop Andrzej Olszowski, who not only suggested the name of the candidate to the nobility during the election, but also led to his marriage with Archduchess Eleonora Maria, half-sister of Emperor Leopold I of Habsburg. The engravings were made after the wedding (1670), as a portrait of the queen is placed next to the portrait of King Michael (coronation) and a personification of Austria stands next to the royal throne (apotheosis). The anonymous author of the apotheosis repeated the composition of the allegorical portrait of Sigismund III from the upper part of Ligęza's philosophical thesis (the previously presented engraving by Bolswert). Gdansk was closely connected with the Republic of Poland, it hosted Polish kings lavishly and added splendour to royal celebrations with magnificent shows. King Michael's coronation was celebrated with a commemorative firework. Pyrotechnic shows were held in Gdansk since 1595, and Gockheller's engraving is the oldest known sketch of a Gdansk firework.

Jan Andrzej Morsztyn took part in many diplomatic missions and was an advisor to Queen Louise Marie. After the defeat of the pro-French party in Poland, accused of treason, he emigrated to France in 1683.

John III Sobieski and his family had strong diplomatic ties with Rome and the Holy See. The king was mainly preoccupied with the affairs of the anti-Turkish league. Cardinal Carlo Barberini, a long-time protector of the Republic, was the patron of the mourning ceremonies in Rome after the death of King John III. To Rome, under the protection of Pope Innocent XII, queen-widow Maria Kazimiera went with her children. Sobieski's granddaughter Maria Klementyna, goddaughter of Pope Clement XI, betrothed to Prince James III Stuart, imprisoned in the castle Ambras on the Inn by Emperor Charles VI, escaped in the spring of 1719 and married per procura in Bologna, then went to Rome. Along the way, she met her husband in Montefiascone, where the local bishop married them. This particular celebration is shown in the figure. Klementyna Sobieska, titular queen of Great Britain, who died in 1735, was given a magnificent funeral by the Stuart protector Pope Clement XII.

The engravings are rarely shown, but deserve attention as mostly outstanding works by old masters, some unique or preserved in only a few copies.

Barbara König

MNK Czartoryski Museum

ul. Pijarska 15, 31-015 Kraków show in the Library Room
  • Monday: CLOSED
  • Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00-18.00
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