Monument of prince Józef Poniatowski, Warszawa
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Monument of prince Józef Poniatowski

Warszawa

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The monument of prince Józef Poniatowski is a work of Bertel Thorvaldsen, an eminent sculptor and a representative of the Classicist trend in Europe at the turn of the 18th and the 19th century. It is distinguished by artistic and historical values.

History

The idea to create a monument of prince Józef Poniatowski, nephew of king Stanisław August, came into being in 1814. It was at that time when remnants of the commander-in-chief of the Duchy of Warsaw army, marshal of France who died fighting on the side of Napoleon in the battle of Lepzig in 1813 were brought to the country. In order not to upset the tsarist authorities, the committee for the construction of the monument was created at the initiative of the family and friends, and consent to setting it was obtained from tsar Alexander I thanks to the connections of Aleksandra I Anna Potocka nee Tyszkiewicz. The equestrian statue was ordered to a famous Dannish sculpture working in Italy, Bertel Thorvaldsen, who concurrently created the statue of Nicolaus Copernicus for Warsaw. In 1818, an agreement for the statue of the Polish hero was signed with the artist who completed work on the gypsum model in 1828. The bronze casting was made in the years 1830-32 in Warsaw, in the workshop of K. and E. Gregoire. As a result of repressions after the November Uprising, it became impossible to set and unveil the statue. At the request of tsar Nicholas I, the monument was transferred to the stronghold of Modlin, and the figure of the horseman was recognised as St George. In 1840, the tsar ordered to destroy the statue, but at the request of Kingdom Governor Iwan Paskiewicz, it was finally presented to the Governor. Initially, the statue stood in the estate of the Field Marshal in Dęblin, and in 1842, it was transferred to his residence in Gomel in Ukraine. The monument was returned to Poland in 1922, under the Treaty of Riga after the Polish-Bolshevik war. Initially, it was placed in the yard of the Warsaw Castle, and then transferred to Saski Square (currently Piłsudskiego Square) and situated in front of the colonnade of the palace in which soon thereafter the Tomb of the Unknown Solider was placed. On 3 May 1923, the statue set on a plinth made by Aleksander Bojemski was formally unveiled. It was blown up by Germans after the Warsaw Uprising in December 1944, and its surviving fragments can be found currently in the park near Museum of Warsaw Uprising. After World War II, Denmark donated to Poland a new casting of the statue, made in the years 1847-50 according to a model stored in the Museum of Thorvaldsen, located near Copenhagen. For political reasons, the statue which was brought in 1951 was set in the Łazienki Park in front of the Old Orangery, and unveiled on 23 February 1952. In 1965, the monument was transferred to Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, to the courtyard of the palace used then by the Office of the Council of Ministers, which since 1994 has been a seat of the President of the Republic of Poland.

Description

The idea to create a monument of prince Józef Poniatowski, nephew of king Stanisław August, came into being in 1814. It was at that time when remnants of the commander-in-chief of the Duchy of Warsaw army, marshal of France who died fighting on the side of Napoleon in the battle of Lepzig in 1813 were brought to the country. In order not to upset the tsarist authorities, the committee for the construction of the monument was created at the initiative of the family and friends, and consent to setting it was obtained from tsar Alexander I thanks to the connections of Aleksandra I Anna Potocka nee Tyszkiewicz. The equestrian statue was ordered to a famous Dannish sculpture working in Italy, Bertel Thorvaldsen, who concurrently created the statue of Nicolaus Copernicus for Warsaw. In 1818, an agreement for the statue of the Polish hero was signed with the artist who completed work on the gypsum model in 1828. The bronze casting was made in the years 1830-32 in Warsaw, in the workshop of K. and E. Gregoire. As a result of repressions after the November Uprising, it became impossible to set and unveil the statue. At the request of tsar Nicholas I, the monument was transferred to the stronghold of Modlin, and the figure of the horseman was recognised as St George. In 1840, the tsar ordered to destroy the statue, but at the request of Kingdom Governor Iwan Paskiewicz, it was finally presented to the Governor. Initially, the statue stood in the estate of the Field Marshal in Dęblin, and in 1842, it was transferred to his residence in Gomel in Ukraine. The monument was returned to Poland in 1922, under the Treaty of Riga after the Polish-Bolshevik war. Initially, it was placed in the yard of the Warsaw Castle, and then transferred to Saski Square (currently Piłsudskiego Square) and situated in front of the colonnade of the palace in which soon thereafter the Tomb of the Unknown Solider was placed. On 3 May 1923, the statue set on a plinth made by Aleksander Bojemski was formally unveiled. It was blown up by Germans after the Warsaw Uprising in December 1944, and its surviving fragments can be found currently in the park near Museum of Warsaw Uprising. After World War II, Denmark donated to Poland a new casting of the statue, made in the years 1847-50 according to a model stored in the Museum of Thorvaldsen, located near Copenhagen. For political reasons, the statue which was brought in 1951 was set in the Łazienki Park in front of the Old Orangery, and unveiled on 23 February 1952. In 1965, the monument was transferred to Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, to the courtyard of the palace used then by the Office of the Council of Ministers, which since 1994 has been a seat of the President of the Republic of Poland.

The monument is accessible.

compiled by Małgorzata Laskowska-Adamowicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warszawa, 17-12-2015.

Bibliography

  • Dobrowolski T., Rzeźba neoklasyczna i romantyczna w Polsce, Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków-Gdańsk 1974
  • Zieliński J. Atlas dawnej architektury Warszawy, t.1, Warszawa 1995
  • Nieuważny A., Tułactwo księcia Poniatowskiego,
  • https://ioh.pl/artykuly/pokaz/tuactwo-ksicia-poniatowskiego,1064 - dostęp 17-12-2015 r.

General information

  • Type: small architecture forms
  • Chronology: 1830 - 1832
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Krakowskie Przedmieście 46/48, Warszawa
  • Location: Voivodeship mazowieckie, district Warszawa, commune Warszawa
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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