Karolina Lankoronska: An Art Historian in the Service of the Motherland | Historical portal Histmag.org

Every book has a beginning. idea for girl and world She was born in the 1990s, when Dutch art historian Jerdian Verschor was working on her Ph.D. in Warsaw. The writer read the article in the daily Rzeczpospolita (October 1994) Rembrandt’s paintings are back in Poland, which informed readers that “18 paintings from the collection of Stanisław August Ponatowski have returned to the Royal Castle in Warsaw”. Rzewuski and Lanckoroński group, including The girl in the photo frame And the desktop search Painted by a Dutch teacher in 1641, and donated by Carolina Lankornska.

Carolina Maria Adelajda Francesca Csawira Magorzata Edina, Countess of Lankuruska of Zadora’s motto was a historian and art historian, soldier in the Home Army, prisoner in a concentration camp, officer in General Anders’ Corps and, after the end of military operations, a prominent Polish activist in the diaspora in Italy. She lived for 104 years, including nearly 60 years abroad. She believed that “Polish is the consciousness of and belonging to the Polish nation” and that “concrete evidence of this consciousness must be provided”. She also claimed that “the more you give, the more you will owe to your country and neighbour.” How does an aristocrat deserve the Polish nation?

Family, Studies and War

Anthony Lancornsky (1760-1830) was a member of the Grand Sem and a supporter of the May 3 Constitution. After the partition, he moved to Vienna. He was elected Speaker of the State Parliament and received the title of Austrian Prime Minister. In the 19th century, the Lanckoroński family was integrated into the structures of the Austrian state.

Karolina Lankorunska with her father, Carol, and her younger sister, Grandpa

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Carolina was born on August 11, 1898 in Buchberg in Lower Austria. She was the daughter of Princess Margaret von Lichnowski (1863–1957) and Carol Anthony Lankornsky (1848–1933), Anthony’s grandson, a member of the Austrian House of Lords. The father had a major influence on the upbringing of his daughter and the choice of her path in life. Carroll was a thoroughly educated man, cultural activist in Galicia, art collector, and patron. His most important achievements include participating in negotiations with the Austrians about the return of Wawel to the Poles, which was previously a military facility. He was close to Emperor Franz Joseph and believed in building the Austro-Hungarian Polish monarchy. Although he spent most of his life outside his homeland, he never cut ties with it, he read Mickiewicz and took care of the patriotic upbringing of his children. The childhood of Anthony (1893-1965), Carolina and Adelaide (1903-1980) was in Vienna, but they spent the summer most often in the family mansion in Rozhdov near Lviv.

During World War I, Carolina was a nurse. She took care of wounded Polish soldiers in a facility funded by her father. After graduating from the gymnasium (1920), she studied art history at the University of Vienna. She also lived for several years in Rome, where she worked in the scientific department of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1926 she defended her doctorate – an analysis and interpretation of the work of her favorite artist, ie. Final verdict Michelangelo. She has been dealing with art all her life. The Lanckoroński family lived in the Austrian capital in a magnificent mansion, which was dismantled after World War II, where Carroll was in charge of the family’s collection and established a large library.

Karol Lanckoroński and Karolina Lanckorońska as a nurse at the Faniteum, during the Great War, Convalescent Soldiers Center, Vienna 1916, Source: Lanckoroński Foundation

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In 1935, already in independent Poland, on the basis of labor Decoration of the Basilica del Gesu in Rome against the background of the Baroque development in Rome, Carolina received her qualification at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv, where she became the first assistant professor of history and until 1939 headed the Department of Art History. Her lectures were reportedly highly regarded among the students. Although the war found her in Rome, she immediately decided to return to Galicia. Soon the Soviets proceeded to “exclude all Polish elements”.

At the beginning of 1940, Lanckorońska joined underground action as a member of the Union of Armed Struggle. After turning this organization into the Homeland Army, she received the rank of lieutenant. She was active in the Central Welfare Council – an association that supports the Polish population under occupation. She performed various tasks: she translated depressing texts into German, took care of prisoners, was active in the Polish Red Cross and was engaged in mailing.

On May 12, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo in Kołomyja (today’s Ukraine). She escaped death only thanks to the intercession of the members of the Italian Savoy dynasty. Through the Stanisławów, Lwów, and Berlin families, she was finally sent to the camp at Ravensbrück (No. 16076) in January 1943, where she was released on April 5, 1945. The aristocracy described her experience in war memories. She summed up her stay in the camp with the words: “There are things that people cannot listen to, things that the human mind cannot understand.”

Jerdian Fissure

“A Girl and a Scientist. The Tale of Two Rembrandts from the Carolina Lankoronska Collection”

PLN $49.99

publisher: Harper Collins Polska

Translation: Alicia Oczko

Year of Publication: 2022

Coverage: flexible

number of pages: 368

the first show: 25 May 2022

ISBN: 978-83-2767-598-9

EAN number: 9788327675989

In 1967, she testified at the trial of Hans Kreuger, the former head of the Gestapo in Stanislavo. In the end, despite Lanckorońska’s testimony incriminating the German, he was convicted only of mass crimes against Jews, while the Prosecutor’s Office halted the killing of Lviv professors and Polish intellectuals in Stanisławów.

Over half a century in exile

After leaving the camp, she joined the Polish 2nd Legion in Italy. She was a press officer and organized training sessions for soldiers. Thanks to her scientific contacts, she helped her compatriots with admission to Italian universities. In November 1945, she was one of the founders of the Polish Historical Institute in Rome, which she co-financed and served as director. The main objective of the Foundation was to publish sources on Polish history in foreign archives. She was also active in the Polish Scientific Society Abroad. In 1960, she and her brothers founded the Karol Lanckoroński Fund, which she turned 7 years later into the Lanckoroński Foundation, which is still operating today. Its purpose is:

Initiate research and assist individual scholars and scientific institutions in carrying out studies within the broadly understood humanities, in particular on the history and history of art in Poland and in countries adjacent to the territory of the former Republic of Poland.

Until late in her life, Carolina Lankorosca, who holds the title of university professor, was both scientific and socially engaged at Via Orsini 19 in Rome. The residence is located near the Vatican, overlooking the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. After the death of her brothers (all three of Carol’s children died childless), she became the sole heir to a huge estate and ran the enterprise herself. Polish universities donated books, and during martial law they provided assistance to detainees and their families. Finally, the Countess decided to donate priceless gifts, deposited in Swiss treasuries for several decades, to the largest Polish cultural institutions. “I present a gift in honor of the Free and Independent Republic of Poland to its President,” she wrote in a letter to Lech Wasa. Foundation Scholarship holder Marian Surdaki described the feelings accompanying this decision:

The year 1994 for Mrs. Karolina Lankoronska was full of passion, contentment and hidden emotions […] It was full of fears and doubts to whom and to which institutions would move the individual exhibits and what their future fate would be. I tested their transfer to Poland and a thank you letter from President Lech Wałęsa […] It gave her indescribable joy.

Institutions awarded include: The Royal Castle in Warsaw (including 37 paintings from the former Rzewuski collection, including the Stanisław August Poniatowski collection and a collection of valuable French furniture) and the Royal Castle in Kraków (including 87 Italian paintings from the period from the 14th century to the 17th century, 220 drawings of Jacek Malchowski and a Turkish tent related to the Battle of Vienna), as well as the Jagiellonian Library, the Jagiellonian University Museum, the National Museum in Warsaw, the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw, and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She had already donated the family archive to the Austrian National Library. I decided to sell some paintings to support Polish institutions abroad, incl. The Polish Library in Paris is threatened with liquidation.

On her 100th birthday, Pope John Paul II received Carolina Lankornska and presented the Order of Saint Gregory the Great. Gebelard had many Polish and Italian decorations and honorary titles, including the 1991 Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restitutta. The last representative of the family died in Rome on August 25, 2002. She was buried in the Campo Verano cemetery.

Carolina Lankoronska – “Human Foundation”

Although she has not visited her homeland in more than half a century, her whole life has been marked by patriotism, which she describes as a “sense of absolute belonging” and “duty to serve the community of the nation.” She considered that “the highest expression of nationality” is “the highest values ​​- the fine arts, the art of writing, and other forms of culture”.

Jan Lubomirsky-Lankornsky mentions “Aunt Carla” as “a warm, noble and sensitive character.” In the introduction to her memoirs, the Polish aristocracy stressed that the kin was a “human institution” and was a role model for him. He further wrote that although much has already been said about her “achievements and steadfast character”, she “belongs to those figures in the history of Poland who are rarely unfairly mentioned”—”characters of great spirit, most influential, but silently acting , consistent daily work, and upright character to build a better world for future generations.”

You can read about Karolina Lankornska’s life story in Jerdian Vershore’s book The girl and the world. The story of two Rembrandts from the Carolina Lankornska collection.

Jerdian Fissure

“A Girl and a Scientist. The Tale of Two Rembrandts from the Carolina Lankoronska Collection”

PLN $49.99

publisher: Harper Collins Polska

Translation: Alicia Oczko

Year of Publication: 2022

Coverage: flexible

number of pages: 368

the first show: 25 May 2022

ISBN: 978-83-2767-598-9

EAN number: 9788327675989

index

  • Boruki Marek, The forgotten great Poles who changed the worldMuza SA, Warsaw 2015.

  • Lanckoroński Foundation, [dostęp: 30.04.2022).

  • Lanckorońska Karolina, Wspomnienia wojenne. 22 IX 1939–5 IV 1945, Znak, Kraków 2017.

  • Verschoor Gerdien, Dziewczyna i uczony. Historia dwóch Rembrandtów z kolekcji Karoliny Lanckorońskiej, Harper Collins Polska, Warszawa 2022.

Redakcja: Natalia Stawarz

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