August 4, 2017

3116 POLAND (Mazovia) - Warsaw between 1767 and 1779 in the paintings of Canaletto

In 1569 was established the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch, who was both the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania), which became one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Due to its central location between the Commonwealth's capitals of Kraków and Vilnius, Warsaw became practically the capital of the Commonwealth in 1596, when King Sigismund III Vasa moved his court from Kraków to Warsaw (also the permanent seat of the General Sejm from the same year), although the modern concept of a single capital city was to some extent inapplicable in the feudal and decentralized Commonwealth.

Even if the city was besieged and pillaged several times, it continued to expand and grow, and Stanisław II Augustus (r. 1764-1795) made of it a centre of culture and the arts. This earned Warsaw the name of the Paris of the east. Shortly after his election as a monarch, Stanisław II Augustus invitated the italian Bernardo Bellotto, also called Canaletto,  to become his court painter in Warsaw from 1768. Bellotto (1721-1780) was an Italian urban landscape painter or vedutista, famous for his vedute of some European cities.

He accepted and remained in Warsaw some 16 years, for the rest of his life, as court painter to the King, for whom he painted 26 views of the Polish capital and its environs for the so-called Panorama Room (later Canaletto Room) at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. They were later relocated to Russia, but were returned to the Polish Government in 1921 and were used in rebuilding the city after its near-complete destruction by German troops during WWII.

Bellotto's style was characterized by elaborate representation of architectural and natural vistas, and by the specific quality of each place's lighting. It is plausible that Bellotto, and other Venetian masters of vedute, may have used the camera obscura in order to achieve superior precision of urban views. The last period of the artist's work is assessed as distinct from the earlier stages with emphasis on the immediacy of observation, striving for a generic treatment of staffage, ability to capture the atmosphere of the place and visible transformation of his painting which become more colorful with warmer tons.

About Warsaw as a whole, but also about others landmarks of the city, you can read in another post, here.

About the stamps
The stamps are part of the series Flowers and Fruits. about which I wrote here. 

Warsaw - Wikipedia
Bernardo Bellotto - Wikipedia

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Warsaw (Masovia / Poland), on 06.07.2017

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