Rembrandt masterpiece in Poland. An exhibition with the famous “Polish Knight” opened in azienki Królewskie – Wiadomości

Zygmunt Vogel portrait from 1823Photo: Aleksander Kokular/National Museum in Warsaw/Wikimedia Commons/DP

Landscape inventory in Warsaw

Most of Vogel’s watercolors and drawings depict Warsaw – the city in which he spent most of his life. The painter immortalized both city buildings (eg Nowy Świat street or Krakowskie Przedmieście) and the surrounding landscape – the latter can be found, among other things, in the pictures of “Widok Młocin” and “Bielany”. Thanks to the artist, we can enjoy places that no longer exist – the city hall on Grzybowski Square, the side gate that used to be in Podwale, part of the Powązki park founded by Izabela Czartoryska.

However, Vogel often paints Łazienki Królewskie – his works on this topic were created in the years 1794-1795 and in 1801. The drawings show the architectural objects in the garden (White House, the bridge with the statue of Jan III, the amphitheater and the palace on the island), but also Genre scenes – people walking or swimming in boats, children playing. Vogel’s watercolors were vivid and expressive but have faded over the years.

Inscribed at Łazienki Królewskie in Warsaw

Interestingly, on the basis of Vogel’s work in Warsaw, the capital was rebuilt after the Second World War. Thanks to the artist, it was possible to recreate the former building of the Piarist Collegium Nobilium (now housing the Theater Academy), the Augsburg Evangelical Church (now Kredytowa Street; the seat of the Warsaw Evangelical Diocese – Augsburg Church in Poland), the Primate Palace and the Kraków Bishops’ Palace.

From art to science

Zygmunt Vogel did not dedicate himself only to painting. When lithography appeared in Poland in 1818, the artist was the first to pay attention to it. This is how the work “Monument to Tadeusz Kościuszko in Zuchwil near Solura” was created from 1824. Vogel also designed waterfalls for the funerals of famous Poles. It is worth noting here, for example, the name of Józef Poniatowski, Tadeusz Kościuszko or General Henryk Dąbrowski. The artist is also the author of the sarcophagi of Boleslaw Krzyusti and Władysław Herman from the Royal Chapel in Pock.

Apart from art, Ptashik also dealt with military affairs and education. In the years 1790-1794 he served in the cavalry and fought with him during the Kosciusko Uprising, and from 1804 he was a teacher at the Warsaw High School. This was not the first time that the artist took on the role of a teacher – he had already given private drawing lessons to many noble families. From 1809, the painter studied at the Elementary School of Artillery and Engineering, and from 1817 he headed the Perspective Department of the Department of Fine Arts at the newly founded University of Warsaw. It also belongs to the Friends of Science Society.

The king appreciates it

Zygmunt Vogel was born in 1764 – probably in Warsaw – into a family of poor Saxons. Initially he studied architecture and trained with Jean Ferdinand Nax. Then – thanks to the protection of Count Stanislaw Kostka Potocki – he arrived at Malarnia Królewska, that is, the school of painting in Warsaw located in the royal castle.

At that time the king discovered “Ptashik”, and in July 1787 assigned him an ambitious mission. Vogel went on a three-month trip, during which he immortalized the ruins of the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland and the Sandomierz region. A year later, the ruler sent the painter to Gdansk with a similar mission. During his travels, the artist immortalized the monuments, castles, dwellings and architecture of the surrounding city. From that period survived a series of watercolors depicting Kazimierz in Krakow, as well as the pictures “View of Czestochowa Castle”, “Milki Stagoy Gate”.

Castle Square in Kazimierz Dolny, view from the side of the gate Castle Square in Kazimierz Dolny, view from the gate

Vogel also accepted requests from laypeople – he painted a series of landscapes in Ulyssen for Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, designed a tomb church for Alexandra Ojeska né Czartoriska, immortalized Dublin landscapes for the Mnish family, Pulawi for the Czartoryski family, Cook for the Jabłonowski family, Tarnów for the Sangńice. At the request of Prince Joseph Ponatovsky – the king’s nephew – Vogel transferred the panorama of Japona, which was part of the nobility’s estate, on canvas. The artist traveled abroad several times, including to Dresden and the German Carlsbad, where he also worked. Unfortunately, his travel business did not survive.

Zygmunt Vogel was a Knight of the Order of St. Stanislaus, 4th Class. The painter’s funeral took place on April 22, 1826, and his body was buried in the Evangelical-Augsburg cemetery in the Wola district of Warsaw.



Andrzej Pieńkos, Vogel. History views, country views, multiple jobs and the faces of the royal painter, accessed: 04/19/2021.

Zygmunt Vogel, accessed: 04/19/2021.

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