Portrait of Władysław Dominick Zasławski-Ostrogski


This painting is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Polish seventeenth-century portraits. It shows Władysław Dominik Zasławski-Ostrogski (before 1618–1656) of his own coat of arms, his son, Aleksander Zasławski, and Eufrozyn Ostrogski, the ordynat of Ostróg, since 1636 the horse master of the Crown, since 1645 the voivode of Sandomierz, in 1848, during the war against the Cossacks, appointed one of the three regimentarze  (military commanders) of the Crown, and since 1649 the voivode of Cracow. Twice married – in 1634 to Zofia Pudencjanna Ligenzianka, and in 1650 to Katarzyna Sobieska, the sister of King Jan III.

This is the most representative among the paintings by Bartłomiej Strobel. Its attention worthy features include an excellent characterisation of the sitter’s face – plump with bright eyes – and an almost miniature-like precise rendition of the Dutch costume with a large collar and Brabant lace cuffs as well as numerous colourful appliques on the fabric. The date: 1635, next to the artist’s signature, entitles us to assume that the origin of the portrait is connected with the marriage of the voivode and Zofia Pudencjanna Ligenzianka. It is known that at the time Strobel was working on paintings commissioned by Władysław IV for Wilno and was active at the Polish royal court.

Earlier literature described the painting as a likeness of a young magnate. M. Walicki was the first to propose a hypothesis claiming that   the Radziwill gallery in Nieśwież used to feature a depiction of one of the princes Ostrogski, a copy of the Wilanów painting. In 1971, E. Kamieniecka discovered in the Museum of Art in Minsk an en pied portrait of an identically dressed Prince Ostrogski, which made it possible to identify the figure on the Wilanów canvas (E. Kamieniecka, “Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie”, 1971, pp. 75–91). The Minsk portrait differs from its Wilanów counterpart and shows the whole figure of the prince, wearing boots for horse riding, while an adjoining table features instead of a bonnet embroidered with pearls a cap decorated with sable tails. This fact could be associated with the title of the royal horse master received by the prince in 1636, the year when the painting was probably executed.  According to Kamieniecka, this copy of the Wilanów portrait was painted by Mathias Czwiczek. In his publications, M. Karpowicz maintains that the en pied portrait is the auteur version by Bartłomiej Strobel.

The Wilanów painting served as a basis for a woodcut after a drawing by J. Maszyński. Its author is W. Bojarski (Skimborowicz and Gerson, album, 1877, p. 47).

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