Order of Saint Stanislaus 1765 - 1831
On the 250th Anniversary of the Institution of the Order
Exhibition on view in the special exhibition galleries of the Wawel Royal Castle, 2nd floor
September 15 – December 6, 2015
Under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland
On the seventh of May 1765, King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski signed the founding document sanctioning the creation of the order of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr. This event initiated the merit awards system in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Order, the Royal Castle in Warsaw and the Wawel Royal Castle have forces together to organize the present exhibition, which was first shown in Warsaw.
The Cracow incarnation of the exhibition presents a group of very precious, and now rare, surviving crosses and stars of the order alongside formal portraits, both painted and sculpted, of knights of the Order. The depicted include both the most illustrious members of the aristocracy as well as mid-ranking representatives of the szlachta, or gentry, to whom the royal distinction was primarily addressed. In its not-quite seventy-year history, both the appearance of the badges of the order and the statutes by which it was bestowed were modified. The evolution can be traced via objects linked to such important historic figures as Prince Józef Poniatowski, Tadeusz Czacki, and General Józef Chłopicki. Also on view are vestments of the order, that the knights were required to wear on major holidays, especially May 8 – the feast day of Saint Stanislaus and name day of Stanislaus Augustus – which was also established as the
feast of the order.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is the foundation document, on loan from the Princes Czartoryski Library in Cracow. Another exceptional loan is the gold sword wrought in Warsaw for the coronation of Stanislaus Augustus. This regalium, which serves as both the insignia of the Grand Master of the Order of the White Eagle
and of the Order of Saint Stanislaus, is kept in the chapel of the Warsaw Castle.
Following the suppression of the November Uprising (1830–31) against Russia, the Order of Saint Stanislaus ceased to exist. It was revived as an order of the Imperial Russian awards system. The two are entirely different orders of merit and should not be confused.
Tuesday – Friday: 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.;
Sunday and holidays: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Last visitor entry one hour before closing time.
Tickets: 5 PLN, or free with ticket to the State Rooms