A one-of-a-kind exhibition, the Royal Castle examines the works of one of Gdańsk’s most celebrated painters…
For the first time ever, museumgoers in Warsaw may admire works by one of the most famous Gdańsk painters of the modern era as part of an individual exhibition. The Royal Castle in Warsaw exhibits Herman Han’s early paintings and drawings, unusual both in their form and their content when compared with the artist’s further creative path.
Active in Gdańsk in the early 17th century, Herman Han (1580–1628) is first and foremost known as the author of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a masterpiece found adorning the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pelplin.
No less impressive is Han’s Coronation of the Madonna which can be admired on the left-side altar at the Oliwa Archcathedral. Majestic and masterful, these sacral representations in the spirit of Counter-Reformation, however, are not the only pieces that came from under the brush of the Gdańsk master, who in addition enjoyed the title of court painter.
The items put on display at the Royal Castle in Warsaw also exhibit the painter’s lesser-known artistic accomplishments. Secular, allegorical paintings and drawings as well as portraits, coming both from Polish collections and from collections from abroad, highlight Herman Han’s artistic and intellectual versatility, at the same time significantly adding to the image of the era he himself came to live and create in.
The presented pieces include new acquisitions from the Teresa Sahakian Foundation: Allegory of the world order, Allegory of wealth and Allegory of humility. Detail-led and sophisticated in terms of their artistic skill, the paintings became a medium for allegories praising civil virtues, teaching that passion, if not controlled, would lead to disappointment. Only humility, they demonstrated, could prevent the eternal cycle of pride and war.
Another significant theme of the exhibition is the historic City of Gdańsk itself – at the time, the largest metropolis in Central and Eastern Europe and a cosmopolitan center for trade, including in works of art.
What: Vicissitudes of Fortune. Herman Han’s Allegories
Where: Tin-Roofed Palace (Pl. Zamkowy 2)
When: ongoing till April 23rd