A warrior and an erudite

Literature dedicated to Jan III Sobieski, the first of the Wilanów estate owners, often claims that his military success overshadowed his achievements in the field of art and science. Popular opinion presents Jan III as a warrior king, a Sarmatian Pole who defended Latin Europe against Ottoman invaders. It is therefore worth recalling that he was also a connoisseur of art and a great lover of books. In his leisure time he would indulge in reading and hold erudite discussions with his secretaries and visitors who came to Wilanów from different parts of the world. Jan III Sobieski was a royal patron of art and science. His activities and interests inspired the following palace holders who diligently looked after the late king’s heritage. Hence, today’s Wilanów estate is not only an outstanding monument of residential architecture, but also a place of exceptional patriotic, sentimental and museum tradition.

Portrait of Jan III Sobieski, Jan Tricius, 1676

o Maecenas (patron) is a term derived from the name of Gaius Maecenas. This historic figure was a trusted friend and advisor of the Roman Emperor Octavian August. Above all he loved fine arts and literature, created comfortable work conditions for artist and offered them a generous financial support. Such attitude is now referred to as patronage.

Founders and Collectors

Meet some famous patrons and works of art created thanks to their patronage.

Task Do you know other historic figures who may be referred to as patrons of art? Who fulfils that function nowadays?