Per Krafft Starszy
Portrait of Konstancja Poniatowska, 1768
Gift of Julia Branicka, née Potocka, from Sucha, 1910

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 65 x 51 cm

description: Konstancja Poniatowska, née Czartoryska, (ca 1695–1759), married twenty-year-older General Stanisław Poniatowski for purely political reasons. In this way, the Czartoryski family made contacts with the Saxon court, where the general enjoyed great favour. Thanks to her strong character, Konstancja had a strong influence on her husband and brothers, who began to form the political party, later referred to as the Familia. After the death of King Augustus II the Strong, she was regarded, besides Zofia, the wife of August Czartoryski, as one of the most influential members of the Familia. She was the one who specified the operations of the party during meetings and the one who the French ambassador communicated with, among other things, concerning the preparation of the election of Stanisław Leszczyński. A cotemporary biographer described her as follows: “Ambitious, haughty, of a violent disposition, unpopular (she was called »a hail cloud«), Poniatowska was characterized by energy, intelligence and firmness. Devoted to the party, she did not refrain from breaking down her children’s resistance when she believed that they did not support the interest of the Familia strongly enough". Barbara Ciciora

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Enlightenment >>>

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