The Wilanów Palace and collection
The history of the Wilanow Palace, a wonderful Baroque royal residence, began on April 23, 1677, when a village became the property of King John Sobieski III. At the beginning, the residence built there was small. Augustyn Locci, the king’s court architect, received the task of creating only a ground floor residence of a layout typical for the buildings of the Republic of Poland. However, military successes and an increase of the importance of royalty in the coming years had a huge influence on expanding the initial project. Huge construction works were conducted in the years 1677-1696. After completion, the building comprised of elements of a nobility house, an Italian garden villa and a French palace in the style of Louis XIV. After the death of the King, the Palace became the property of his sons, and in 1720, a run down property was purchased by one of the wealthiest women in Poland of those days – Elizabeth Sieniawska. In 1730, the Palace, for three years, was owned by king August II the Strong, who made considerable changes in the residence, particularly as far as the internal décor is concerned.
In the middle of 18th century, the Wilanów property was inherited by the daughter of Czartoryski, wife of a field marshal, Izabela Lubomirska, during whose reign, Wilanów started shining with its previous glory. Sixty nine years later, the Duchess gave Wilanów to her daughter and her husband, Stanislaw Kostka Potocki. Thanks to his efforts, one of the first museums in Poland was opened in the Wilanów Palace, in 1805.
The exposition consists of two parts: on the first floor, there is the GALLERY OF THE POLISH PORTRAIT, where you can see the effigies of the Polish monarchs collected over the centuries, representatives of great magnate families, participants of national uprisings, eminent artists and people honored by Poland. Their authors are often prominent Polish and foreign painters.
After visiting The Gallery of Polish Portraits, you will be able to see the royal apartments of the palace. Rooms where parties took place, chambers where the royal couples listened to music, met their friends and guests, and where they worked and rested.
Proprietors of the palace: from a king to a custodian (multimedium)
The Wilanów Palace, its beautiful gardens and buildings located in the park as well as the amassed works of art all constitute records of history. The venue commemorates Jan III, a warrior-king and at the same time a lover of books and paintings, a well-educated patron of art vividly interested in science. His memory was kept alive by Stanisław Kostka Potocki, an outstanding politician and founder of the Wilanów Museum.
Wilanów Top 15 (multimedium)
The Wilanów Top 15 presents the most valuable, extraordinary and beautiful works of art from the Wilanów Palace collection. The exhibits originate from all over the world, from ancient Rome through 17th-century Japan to ateliers of the French masters. Their history reflects the lives and fate of people related to the Wilanów residence. Get acquainted with the exhibits, view and admire them only to rediscover them later in the palace interiors.
Wilanów Residence (multimedium)
The Wilanów residence is composed of the palace, its decorations and works of art, gardens and sculptures located in the park and also numerous buildings and monuments raised in the location since 1677. A visit to Wilanów, be it virtual or real, provides an opportunity to experience the core of our tradition that is also a part of the common European culture.
Portrait of Stanisław Kostka Potocki (e-learning)
Here is a story about an equestrian portrait of Stanisław Kostka Potocki, a scholar, traveller and politician, creator of the Wilanów Museum, which for over 200 years has been open to the public.
Patronage of King Jan III (e-learning)
Popular opinion presents Jan III as a warrior king who defended Latin Europe against Ottoman invaders. It is therefore worth recalling that he was also a connoisseur of art and a great lover of books. In his leisure time he would indulge in reading and hold erudite discussions with his secretaries and visitors who came to Wilanów from different parts of the world.