Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Editor]
Artium Quaestiones — 15.2004

Page: 43
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https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/artium_quaestiones2004/0045
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BRIDGING THE GAP - COUNT ATHANAZY RACZYŃSKI AND HIS GALLERIES IN POLAND AND PRUSSIA

43

definitely did not provide ideal conditions for the presentation of por-
traits. On the contrary, the latter came secondary to the creation of an
atmospheric location. Surrounded by climbers, in its dim light and
serene silence, the gallery produced an almost sacred effect intensified
by the massive columns and the stained-glass windows: a ‘family
sanctuary’.
Since 1866 the portraits were displayed in the building. At the same
time, the family archive was deposited at Gaj Maly, presumably in the
small room next to the tower. In the gallery room, on a dark wooden
beam connecting the walls to the vaulting, the names, titles, professions
and dates of the family members are inscribed in golden, nowadays
severely faded letters. The portraits of the respective persons hung
below these inscriptions. From the beginning, the portraits at Gaj Maly
were intended to form a uniform collection.137 Besides some old portraits
in Raczyhski’s possession, he ordered new copies of portraits stored in
Rogalin or Chobienice. On its completion in 1870, the collection consisted
of forty-six paintings of almost the same size. By comparison, Rogalin as
the family’s main residence had a collection of fifty portraits. In Gaj
Maly, there was even space left for a second row of paintings. The
gallery of family pictures remained almost unchanged until 1945. Today,
most of the portraits are displayed in the castle of Rogalin, which
became part of a family foundation established by Athanazy Raczyhski’s
descendants in 1991.138
It seems that Raczyński brought his experience with the Berlin
projects to bear on this family gallery. He published a catalogue in two
editions, supplementing detailed genealogical information with quota-
tions from historical documents.139 The paintings were listed in chrono-
logical order by sitters’ dates. None of the depicted family members
appears more than once — except for Raczyhski’s brother Edward and
the founder of the entail himself. There were two portraits of Edward,
three of Athanazy, and a double portrait of the brothers as children.
Athanazy thus set himself apart as the centre of the family. Whereas in
Berlin the whole temple was meant to function as a paradigm of art,
here it was the founder’s life - characterised by high aspirations and

137 For the collection see Mateusz Pawlaczyk, ‘Portrety Raczyńskich. Przyczynek do
dziejów rodziny i jej kolekcji’, in Studia Muzealne, 14, (1984), p. 128.
138 Konstanty Kalinowski, ‘Foundation of the Raczyński Family at the National Mu-
seum in Poznań’, in Bulletin du Musée de Varsovie, 32, (1991), no. 4, pp. 88-89.
139 Athanasius Raczyński, Katalog der Familienporträts in Gay, 1866. One edition
was printed in Poznań, the other one in Berlin. Although both of them state the year 1866
as publishing date, the one printed in Poznań must have come out later as it includes a
painting which joined the collection in 1870.
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