'FLAMMANS PRO RECTO'. SEVERAL REFLECTIONS ABOUT THE LAST MEMBERS OF THE LANCKORONSKI FAMILY, OR ON PATRIOTISM, EUROPEAN ARTISTIC CULTURE AND CLASSICAL TRADITION (Polish title - below)
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(Title in Polish - 'Flammans pro recto'. Kilka mysli no ostatnich z rodu Lamckoronskich, czyli o patriotyzmie, europejskiej kulturze artystycznej i tradycji antyku'). In October 1994 and June 2000 a significant number of Italian paintings from the collection of Count Karol Lanckoronski (1848-1933) in Vienna were donated to the Royal Castles in Kraków and Warsaw. This generous gift was made by Count's daughter Karolina Lanckoronska (1898-2002), then the only surviving member of the family. The Warsaw Castle received Baroque and Neoclassical paintings whereas Renaissance paintings - including works by such artists as Simone Martini, Bernardo Daddi, Apollonio di Giovanni, Jacopo del Sellaio, Garofalo and Dosso Dossi went to Kraków. They depict, among others, Orpheus, Odysseus, Paris and Helen of Troy, Narcissus, Marcus Curcius, Horatius Cocles, the vestal Tuccia, Scipio Africanus, Vergil and Julius Caesar. Thus the rooms of the Kraków residence of the Polish kings, built in the first half of the 16th century by two Italian architects, Francesco Fiorentino (d. 1516) and Bartolomeo Berecci (d. 1536), were enhanced by the paintings of their compatriots. The Lanckoronski donation complements beautifully the all'antica and all'italiana 'aura' that exists in the Castle. It was on the Castle (or not far from it) that Filippo Buonaccorsi, known as Callimachus wrote a letter to his friend Marsilio Ficino calling him 'the new Orpheus', it was here that in 1515 and in 1522 a play was performed about Odysseus/Ulysses and Paris, and even earlier the song of the Sirens had been written about. In 1518 it was also here the King Sigismundus I married Bona Sforza. To mark the occasion of that famous wedding, Andrzej Krzycki wrote a charming verse, in which he describes Bona as 'radiating' the best characteristics of all the three goddesses known from the Judgement of Paris - Venus, Pallas Athena and Juno. The splendid and memorable gift of the last of the Lanckoronskis to the Royal Castle was indeed the crowning point of the many activities undertaken by Karol Lanckoronski such as the restoration and conservation of the buildings on the Wawel Castle Hill. In 1994, Karolina so wrote about her father: 'Together with a group of friends (...) he fought (...) at the beginning of this (the 20th) century a Homeric-like work to release the former residence of the Jagiellons from its use as Austrian barracks'. At the beginning of the 21st century, nearly 100 years after the Castle was rid of foreign armies (in 1905), the former residence of the Polish monarchs which had been ruined by the partitioning powers, once again emanates an atmosphere of the Italian Renaissance, as in the 16th century, the Golden Age of Polish culture, and all thanks to the collection amassed in Vienna and the generosity of Karolina Lanckoronska.
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