Royal portraits - why they are created?
The ancient Egyptians used to perpetuate the images of rulers. However, due to the fact, that the pharaohs were seen as divine by their subjects, of course, it was not appropriate for artists of that time to present their worldly faces realistically. The art of portraying the most important people in the state was vital at almost all European courts. A collection of great canvases, presenting members of the monarchy in official costumes and in the convention of seriousness, not only helped to fill the interior of the royal seats, but most of all it kept the memory of a given family, somehow documenting the past of the ruling family. Tam, where monarchies still exist, this custom is maintained, although it has undergone some significant improvements.
How was it in Poland?
To, that for over a hundred years Poles have had visual ideas about each of the rulers here, from Mieszko I to Stanisław August, is the merit of Jan Matejko. His Society of Polish Kings and Princes was a bold undertaking, laborious, but also ensured the painter's eternal memory. Although the images presented in this extraordinary collection took on specific features mainly due to the creativity of the artist himself, he did not make decisions solely on the basis of fantasy. As is known from the notes left by his secretary, Matejko researched all historical sources, that might have given him helpful tips. And while the portraits of the Piasts and Jagiellons were created in this way, in depicting elected kings the artist could have leaned more directly on the surviving ones, royal portraits. The first Polish king, which got an official portrait, to Stefan Batory. It happened thanks to Marcin Kober - the artist, who was hired as a court painter. Kober was Polish, born in Wrocław, who honed his creative skills in Germany. In Poland, he was a precursor of official portrait painting, Polish culture owes his creative work to portraits of Stefan Batory, his wife Anna Jagiellon and King Zygmunt III Waza. Successive Polish kings were more used to posing for portraits and had larger collections of them. Marcello Bacciarelli is worth mentioning among royal portrait painters, which immortalized many images of the last king, Stanisław August, and on his commission, he created many visions of historical scenes and portraits of the rulers of Poland.
And in the twenty-first century?
Today, royal families retain the habit of publishing official portraits, but due to the current level of technology development, these are of course usually professionally prepared photographs, and the best specialists in this field are involved in this work. These kinds of official portraits are published on important anniversaries and when celebrating events important to the family. This does not mean, however, that the youngest representatives of the still-in-office monarchies do not have traditional painting portraits - there are simply fewer of them. To take the example of the British royal family, can be indicated, that painted images of inter alia the successors of Queen Elizabeth II are assembled at both at Buckingham Palace, as well as at the National Portrait Gallery in London. You can admire images of all the dead and living members of the British royal family. Here, too, a memorable event for those following the actions of Prince William's family was the public unveiling of his wife's portrait, Catherine, in January 2013 year. Opinions on this, whether the image is successful, divided the Duchess's fans: many considered, that the portrait does not reflect her beauty and gives her dignity and age prematurely. The question, however, are royal portraits not for that purpose, to portray the representatives of the monarchy with greater dignity, than the photos can do? It is also worth noting, that the duchess did not pose for the painter in the traditional way, while working, he was guided by the photo provided to him.