Search the collections


unknown (painter), Bacciarelli, Marcello (1731-1818) (author of the pattern), Portrait of Stanisław Kostka Potocki

Height: 49 cm, Width: 63 cm

The National Museum in Lublin (Lublin Castle), ul. Zamkowa 9, Lublin

Popularizing note

Stanisław Kostka Potocki was born in Lublin. Active in many social and cultural life areas, he was a deputy to the Sejm from the Lublin voivodeship. He was one of the first highly-committed Polish freemasons.He was educated, among others, at the Piarists' Collegium Nobilium in Warsaw. As an outstanding graduate, he had his full-length portrait presented within the school's walls. This painting became an inspiration for many artists, including Bacciarelli.His education was complemented by studies at European universities and numerous journeys that developed his taste for art, especially antique art. He met artists active at that time and studied the works of ancient authors. These experiences enriched his aesthetic sensitivity and the need to surround himself with souvenirs of the past.He was familiar with medals, coins and architecture. He collected paintings and graphics, and he wanted to describe the history of art, creating an outline of O sztuce u dawnych [On Art in the Old]. When he came into possession of Wilanów, he started to rebuild the palace destroyed in 1794, aiming to commemorate Jan III Sobieski and create an art museum. He expanded the Wilanów residence to exhibit a collection of antique vases, drawings, paintings and sculptures. The ideas of the Enlightenment influenced the owner to make the Wilanów collection available to the public in 1805.For Poles, it was also a time of hope for regaining independence. Under the influence of Józef Wybicki, Potocki supported the French orientation and established contacts with Napoleon Bonaparte. In January 1807, he was a member of the Commission of Government and was present at granting a constitution to the Duchy of Warsaw.Marcello Bacciarelli created an artistic vision of this event. The painting, executed with attention to detail, shows, among others, Stanisław Kostka Potocki ‘in his entirety, in the official attire of the time’. Bacciarelli's monumental composition and oil sketches for the painting were lost. A direct reference to his composition is the Lublin portrait of Potocki, which testifies to the enduring popularity of this colourful figure. Despite various controversies, his patriotism and concern for the welfare of society were appreciated. The ‘obscurity’ in the title of his novel, understood as civilisational and educational backwardness, a tendency towards superstition and darkness, is a notion that is still present today.Magdalena Norkowska

Fundusze Europejskie - Logotyp
Rzeczpospolita Polska - Logotyp
Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego - Logotyp
Unia Europejska - Logotyp