Portraiture in Old Poland

Portraiture in Old Poland
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Portraiture in Old Poland
Author: Jan K. Ostrowski


This landmark book is the first English-language study to tackle its subject in depth. Written by one of Poland’s foremost art historians, it is an essential text for readers keen to look beyond the Western European art centres that have dominated art history since the inception of the discipline.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – in spite of its flaws – was once the largest state in Europe, and it produced a distinctive culture that was often at odds with those of the absolutist monarchies of the day. The author casts his net wide, considering both forms of portraiture that were widespread across the continent yet also indigenous specialities such as coffin portraits and tomb banners. He likewise demonstrates how the 18th-century Partitions of Poland affected portraiture and national identity. The book serves as an incisive exploration of the subject, yet also as a thought-provoking and at times witty resource on how to approach art in general, with the author spotlighting several pitfalls that can mislead the researcher. Finally, he shows how context and rational deduction can help solve iconographic puzzles. The multi-faceted approach means that the book is arguably unique in international literature on the subject.


Publisher:  Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów
ISBN 978-83-66104-99-0
Publisher: Wawel Royal Castle
ISBN 978-83-66648-61-6
Publisher: IRSA Foundation for the Promotion of Culture
ISBN 978-83-89831-46-0


Publication date: 2023
Paperback:  508 pages
Ilustrations: 613
Dimensions: 23x31 cm
Type: Hardback


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