Rembrandt’s masterpiece was part of an extensive collection of paintings by Stanisław Augustus, the last king of Poland. Over time, the painting was sold by the heirs of the ruler and transferred to the hands of subsequent owners, and today it belongs to The Frick Collection in New York. Now the “knight” will make an extraordinary visit to the island palace, more than two hundred years after he left the king’s residence. The exhibition is titled Royal Rembrandt. The Polish Rider by The Frick Collection will be held in New York from May 6 to August 7, 2022.
The painting, painted circa 1655, is an example of Rembrandt’s witty and mature style and one of only two known equestrian portraits of the Dutch master. Rembrandt’s authorship is confirmed by research conducted by scientists from the Rembrandt Research Project and is beyond doubt. However, to this day, it is not known who represents the “Polish Knight”, also known as “Lisowczyk”: a soldier of a particular formation (Lisowczyk), an Old Testament hero or a literary hero or a certain character.
This is one of the most famous paintings of the genius artist. The extraordinary popularity of the work is determined by the mysterious nature of the painting and its unusual poetic atmosphere, as well as by its purely painterly qualities – Rembrandt’s usually distinguished brushing technique and refined tones.
The “Polish Knight” was presented to King Stanislaw Augustus in 1791 by Micha Kazimierz Oginsky, the great Lithuanian composer and writer Michau Kazimierz Oginsky, opposite the orange trees of the Royal Gardens. The king, a great lover of Rembrandt’s art, then had eleven paintings that were considered masterpieces (in fact, there were no more than three originals). The painting was hung in the hall on the first floor of the island palace in the azienki park in Warsaw – the beloved summer residence of the king, where he collected the most valuable works from his collection of paintings. After the king abdicated in 1795 and left the country, the painting remained in azienki. At the end of the 90s, it was hung in the photo gallery on the ground floor of the palace, where it will now be presented to the public.
Since the king’s death, his heirs have gradually sold off the royal collections, and beginning in 1814, “The Knight” was added to the collections of other art lovers. In 1910, Zdzisław Tarnowski, the owner of the “Rider” at the time, decided to sell his famous Rembrandt car, which had acquired a lot of value. The painting was purchased by American financier, industrialist, art patron, and collector, Henry Clay Frick. The “Polish Knight” hangs in the splendid interiors of his New York residence on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan – works among Bellini, Vermeer, Goya and Fragonard. After Frick’s death, his family seat was converted into a museum to make the famous collection available to the public. Today, The Frick Collection is considered one of the most important cultural institutions in New York. The exceptional circumstances related to the relocation of the Frick collection to a temporary building during the renovation of the historic seat created an opportunity to visit the “Polish knight” to the palace in Zazenki, more than two hundred years after the masterpiece left the residence of the last Polish king.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual edition with articles by curators. The museum will also organize lectures on Rembrandt art and the Stanisław August collection, with the participation of eminent curators of painting, incl. Dr. Xavier Salomon, Deputy Director of The Frick Collection and Professor. Anthony Zippa.
A specially designed educational area will open in Stara Kordegarda, where unusual animation for children will be held. In the “I paint” area, everyone will find something for themselves, incl. A place to play for young children, walls with collectibles to admire and touch, an alley for those looking for comfort and relaxation with poetry, music and art, a showcase to show your own creativity, a painter’s workshop and, above all, a spacious hall and a paint shop for free painting on large walls.
Exhibition address: Royal Rembrandt. The Polish Knight of the Frick Collection in New York.
Limit: From May 6 to August 7 2022
place: Picture gallery in the palace on an island, Royal Łazienki Museum.
Acceptance: As part of a combined ticket to Royal Łazienki facilities: PLN 40 regular, PLN 20 reduced, PLN 1 for children under 7 and young people up to 26, PLN 30 for adults under the large family card; Free entry on Friday.
Organizers: The Royal Museum in Warsaw and the Frick Collection in New York.
Curators: Xavier Salomon, Izabela Zychowicz.
Museum sponsor: PZU.
Exhibition partners: Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection, Royal Talens.
Media Partners: Warsaw Insider, Talking Age, PAP, Kultura around Nas, Vernissage, TVP Kultura, TVP Historia, RDC, Niezła Sztuka, Karmione Kultura.
The exhibition was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw
Information source: Royal Museum in Warsaw
Photo: Royal Museum in Warsaw – Royal Rembrandt – drawings