Kryptoportrety polskich władców w malarstwie sakralnym XVII i XVIII wieku
Crypto-portraits of Polish rulers in seventeenth and eighteenth-century religious paintings
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This article discusses crypto-portraits, in the broadest sense of the word, that show Polish elected kings in religious narrative painting of the 17th and 18th centuries. This phenomenon is introduced against the backdrop of the genesis of the autonomous portrait and sacred and secular themes in the frame of ceremonial church space. The type of portrait discussed belongs to the category of the identification portrait that is “hidden” or “disguised”, as analyzed by Ladner and G. F. Polleross. The author of this study has narrowed the subject area to Catholic sacred pictures, whilst extending the formula of the crypto-portrait sensu largo to the assisting portrait, very popular in provincial art of the Commonwealth until the second half of the 18th century. Crypto-portraits sensu stricte created likenesses involved in the action on the basis of co-heroes, whilst portraits in assistenza did not transform the identity of a ruler when adoring a holy protagonist(s) or assisting in an event consecrated by biblical or hagiographic tradition. An intermediate category of images showed a ruler-commentator of the scene, who addressed the viewer. The author also refers to the issue of pseudo-portraits in assistenza – pre-portraits, more “meaning” than “showing”, likenesses inscribed in the tradition of the medieval ideogram, subjected to various degrees of typification, and referring only to concrete appearances of Polish monarchs. This article reveals the existence of many unknown or unacknowledged portraits of Polish kings which refer to Miles Christianus, in accordance with convention, or which portray the monarchs in coronation robes adoring saints or Holy Persons.
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