The Lubomirski Family in Wilanów. Politics and Private Life
#photography & visual arts
no-image, The Lubomirski Family in Wilanów. Politics and Private Life
The exhibition displays the Lubomirski family's presence in Wilanów Palace in the 18th and 19th centuries. Opulent artifacts on show include portrait paintings and historic palace interiors.
Marcello Bacciarelli, "The Portrait of Izabella Lubomirska of the Czartoryski family”, roughly 1770-1779, photo: Z.Reszka/The Wilanów Palace Museum
Four thousand tynfs - a currency smaller than the silver Polish złoty of the era - was the amount Elżbieta Sieniawska paid Konstanty Sobieski, King Jan's son, for the neglected palace in Wilanów, just south of Warsaw. With their transaction, the story of the Lubomirski family in Wilanów begins.
Sieniawska, who was Grand Hetmaness of the Crown - often referred to as "a queen without a crown" - and daughter of Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, became owner and guardian of the summer estate of King Jan III Sobieski on the 3rd of July 1720. She instructed her court architects and landscape designers to expand the palace by adding side wings and renovate the baroque gardens, and hired artists to elaborate the royal residency's interior design.
The residence then gained its fashionable artistic profile, in the spirit of the 18th-century baroque and rococo style, due to the combined thriftiness, good taste and wealth of Sieniawska and the Wilanów property's subsequent owners: her daughter Maria Zofia Denhoffowa and granddaughter Izabella Czartoryska. Izabella's daughter, Aleksandra, along with her husband, Stanisław Kostka Potocki, collected art pieces and founded the first Polish Museum of Art in Wilanów in 1805.
The artistic patronage of the Lubomirski family shaped the Wilanów residence through almost the entire 18th century. Many art pieces of that period have remained in the palace and the museum's historical collection to this day. Among them is the richest Polish collection of Lubomirski family portraits, consisting of 62 paintings. "Elaborations of such collections are a rarity in Poland", says Paweł Jaskanis, director of the Wilanów Palace Museum, "even though the paintings that once composed portrait galleries, as an expression of aspiration and the social positions of wealthy families, are rich and exquisitely interesting".
The collection is both abundant and diverse. It consists of representative and official whole-figure portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries that likely belonged to the ancestral gallery of one of Lubomirski estates. They exude a certain baroque splendor and solemnity, though the canvases were created by local artists whose names were not preserved. They stand out with their Sarmatian, rather rough charm.
The Wilanów Palace Museum
jan iii sobieski
The historical Wilanów collection preserved portraits of Izabella Lubomirska of the Czartoryski family and her loved ones. This elegant, sophisticated lady of the rococo age was portrayed by the best painters of the period: Marcello Bacciarelli, Aleksander Roslin and Per Kraft. The images of Izabella are arranged into a portrait history of her life, showing her as a charming young lady, an aristocrat of the social elite and a sophisticated savant, and as a noble elderly lady in a white bonnet. These paintings were intended as private portraits, devoid of the great lady's attendants, often painted with pastels, a light dash of bright colors - and with Izabella, with her face and gaze, as the main protagonist.
The exhibition The Lubomirski Family in Wilanów. Politics and Private Life is divided into two parts. The first part, Politics, presents full-format portraits of the most noble representatives of the Lubomirski family: Stanisław, Jerzy Sebastian, Hieronim Augustyn and Stanisław Herakliusz. "The gallery of ancestral portraits displayed in the White Room is a peculiar journey through time", says Anna Ekielska, curator of the exhibition. "The Lubomirski portraits from the Wilanów historic collection allow us to bring back their now nonexistant portrait gallery from the 19th century".
The second part, Privacy, is devoted to Izabella Lubomirska of the Czartoryski family, and her family. The paintings are presented in her apartment in the palace's south wing, and hang through the Hall, Salon and Golden Bedroom. During the exhibition, one can also explore the bath apartment, called Lubomirska's Baths, which are usually not open to visitors.
The interiors of the palace also hold a thematic path dedicated to the Lubomirski patronage in Wilanów. It is arranged in ten stops, at each of which are displayed artistic certificates of the family's activities.
"At the exhibition you can see for yourself what the representative rooms of aristocratic residences of the XVII and XVIII century looked like" Ekielska emphasises, "with respectful portrait galleries of the family's ancestors. We present completely unknown paintings- till now hidden in museum storages- in the full space and context for which they were created".
The exhibition is prepared in cooperation with the Lubomirski Princes Foundation. It is accompanied by a guidebook catalogue.
Curator: Anna Ekielska.
Opening: 14 October 2011 at 18:00.
The exhibition is part of a permanent exhibition, and is expected to remain until 2014.
The Wilanów Palace Museum
ul. Stanisława Kostki-Potockiego 10/16
Source: press release