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Liberator of the Vilnius Castles. Portrait of Boguslaw Radziwill

16 March–10 September 2021

The National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is proud to present an exclusive portrait of the Equerry of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Prussian regent, Prince Boguslaw Radziwill, created by the famous Flemish artist, Dutch Golden Age painter Willem van Honthorst (1594–1666). This portrait of Boguslaw Radziwill, one of whose notable achievements was the liberation of the Vilnius castles from Muscovite control in the mid-17th century, is on loan from the museum's dear friend and patron of numerous projects, the philanthropist and history fan, Prince Maciej Radziwiłł, who recently acquired the work from a private collection. Taking into account the fact that iconography depicting Boguslaw Radziwill is truly sparse – barely a few portraits and several graphic art works exist – this painting being presented to the public for the first time is nonething less than a sensational event that is sure to enrich iconographic research into the Radziwill family's iconography, whilst giving visitors to the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania the exclusive opportunity to be the first to admire the painting in Vilnius.

The portrait was most likely painted during one of Boguslaw Radziwill's early journeys to the Netherlands and France. As the figure we see in the painting is not so young, the work was most probably created at the end of 1650, at the court of the Elector of Brandenburg in Berlin where the painter Willem van Honthorst was working at the time. The Lithuanian magnate probably commissioned the portrait but could not pay the entire sum due to a break in financing from his domains in Lithuania, and thus the work was sold. The subsequent travels of the portrait led it to Scotland, from where it eventually found its way to a London antique dealership. Almost 400 years down the road, the portrait has finally come home... to Maciej Radziwiłł.


2021-03-29
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