June 2 - August 2, 2015
The exhibition presents works of art and historical heirlooms acquired by the Wawel Royal Castle in 2014.
The Castle’s collections were enlarged by paintings and decorative art purchased by the museum or presented as gifts or deposits. The most important acquisitions are works linked to Polish kings and historical events. The first is an exquisite miniature portrait of King Augustus III (r.1733– 1763), most probably in the workshop of the highly valued German portraitist Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–1779). The second picture, most likely painted in the artistic milieu of Gdańsk, depicts the Russian army commanded by Mikhail Shein
surrendering to King Ladislaus IV at Smoleńsk on February 25, 1634. This was one of Poland’s major victories over Russia in a series of wars fought over
Other notable objects include very fine porcelain produced the Meissen Royal Manufactory in the 2nd quarter of the 18th century. Of the finest quality,
the vibrantly painted pieces are decorated with floral motifs and the coats of arms of their owners, ministers to King Augustus III: a sugar bowl from
the service of Aleksander Józef Sułkowski and two forks with porcelain handles from the famed Swan Service created for Heinrich Brühl. All three pieces were modeled by Johann Joachim Kändler, the greatest Meissen designer of all time.
The Wawel collection of gold and silver grew by
a number of interesting Baroque vessels made in the 17th and 18th centuries in Augsburg (beaker, saltcellar, tureen), Nuremberg (cup and beaker), Gdańsk (coffee pot) and Leszno. Of special note is a rare example of Renaissance
small form sculpture – a prayer nut (Netherlands, 2nd quarter 16th century). The miniature boxwood carving representing a scene from the Old Testament fits inside a silver case dating from the 18th century. Tiny objects like this were sought-after for collector’s cabinets formed in palaces in the 15th and 16th centuries.
A flint-lock rifle (3rd quarter 18th century) signed by gunsmith Carl Wagner (active in Warsaw), will find a spot in the Castle Armoury. This richly decorated luxury gun is marked with the royal monogram FR of King Friedrich II Hohenzollern of Prussia.
An intriguing and rare household object is a German perpetual calendar from the 2nd half of the 17th century. Made from a sheet of silver, it shows the
days of the week, dates, and astronomical symbols.
Exhibition on view in the special exhibition galleries of the Wawel Royal Castle, 2nd floor.