Europe Under the Jagiellonian Dynasty
October 26, 2012
The political and cultural legacy of the Jagiellonian dynasty, the most powerful monarchs in Polish history, will be shown at an international exhibition that opens at the National Museum and Royal Castle in Warsaw Nov. 10.
The exhibition spans the years from the coronation of King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland in 1386 to the death of Sigismund II Augustus, the royal family’s last male heir, in 1572. The main focus is on a period when most of Central Europe was ruled by the Jagiellonians and their close relatives.
Through clever political deals, the Jagiellonians obtained the crown of Bohemia and Silesia in 1471 and of Hungary in 1490. The resulting commonwealth of states, known as Europa Jagellonica (Europe of the Jagiellonians), stretched over vast territories of more than 2 million square kilometers between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. The monarchs also exercised a careful policy of marrying Polish princesses into the royalty of other countries, creating family alliances extending to the German states of Brandenburg, Brunswick, Bavaria and Saxony. Other than politics, that early integration of Central Europe made its mark on the economies of individual countries, social attitudes, intellectual life and fine arts.
The exhibition in Warsaw explores the dynasty’s impact on Europe through its artistic legacy ranging from painting, sculpture, goldsmithing and other arts. The items on show come from all regions of Europa Jagellonica, including present-day Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and Croatia. They illustrate the coexistence of different regional cultures and show how unity gave rise to diversity, creating a civilization with shared traditions.
The exhibition, organized jointly by the National Museum and the Royal Castle, is part of a larger project in which it was shown in the Czech Republic between May and September this year. Between March and June next year it will be shown in Germany (Haus der brandenburgisch-Preussischen Geschichte, Potsdam).
The exhibition at the Royal Castle focuses on the history of the Jagiellonian dynasty, individual monarchs and important figures in their courts. The National Museum, in turn, will explore the legacy of Europa Jagellonica, highlighting its artistic accomplishments and social change visible in the arts. The exhibition is part of the National Museum’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Europa Jagellonica 1386-1572: The Culture and Art of Central Europe Under the Jagiellonian Dynasty
National Museum in Warsaw; 3 Jerozolimskie Ave.; mnw.art.pl
Royal Castle in Warsaw; 4 Zamkowa St.
Runs until Jan. 27, 2013