The Aristocratic Identity of the Dukes of Nyasvizh in Literary and Theatrical Images: The Creative Environment of Franciszka Urszula z Wiśniowieckich Radziwiłłowa (Summary)

Barbara Judkowiak (PDF)

The Catholic princely identity of the Radziwiłłs in the first half of the 18th century could be described as cosmopolitan if the term had no value connotations. In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which did not recognise titles due to the democratic system of the nobility, the Radziwiłłs, dukes of the Roman Empire from the 16th century, created a tradition of local princely families important for the identity of the society of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which was recognised by the political centres of Europe of the time. Symbols of this socio-political situation became components of the iconographic programmes of panegyrical works of art dedicated to the Radziwiłłs or conceived and inspired by the dukes. They also entered the mental world of imagination of later generations of the Radziwiłłs. The ancient mythological origins of the signs in this area are layered by the iconosphere of the knights’ tradition and the sarmatic culture of the nobility, highlighting a certain duality of Lithuanian and Polish aristocracies.

The article analyses several commemorative works by Franciszka Urszula z Wiśniowieckich Radziwiłłowa, which employ a rhetorical style of official discourse, with allusions to the heraldic repertoire of images, for example, the tombstone of the son Mikołaj, the poems for the wedding of Józef Potocki, Voivode of Kyiv, etc. We also study those parts of the Nyasvizh theatrical events in which we recognise not only the self-expression of the dukes but also their sociability when the prince and his wife reveal the majesty of their power to the subordinates and declare their rank to the guest nobles and szlachta.

Keywords: the Radziwiłłs, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, theatre, drama