Athanasius Raczyński (1788-1874). Aristocrat, Diplomat, and Patron of the Arts

Author: Michał Mencfel
This book depicts the long rich life and wide ranging work of Count Athanasius Raczyński (1788-1874). By exploring his complex personality, his processes of thought and his accomplishments, it reveals a man at once a wealthy aristocrat, a Pole in the Prussian diplomatic service, an active participant in and perceptive observer and critical commentator on political life, a connoisseur and art collector of European renown, and the author of ground breaking studies on German and Portuguese art – in short a distinguished and fascinating nineteenth century figure.
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Michał Mencfel, Ph.D. (1978), Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland, is Professor of Art History at that university. He has published monographs and articles on history of collections as well as art and art theory of the 18th-19th century.
List of Figures

 1 Polyoptric Portrait
 2 Sources
 3 State of Research
 4 Acknowledgements

part 1: Formation

1 Grandfather Kazimierz Raczyński
 1 His Guardian’s Long Shadow
 2 Traitor?
 3 Family and Fatherland
 4 Three Principles

2 Brothers
 1 No One Else
 2 Mirror
 3 Herr Bruder, Write to Me
 4 My Poor, Poor Brother!

3 Apprenticeship and Journeyman Years
 1 The Fist, Rod, and Cane, or Education
 2 ‘A Model Young Pole’
 3 In Warsaw Circles
 4 Smelling of the Antechamber

4 Rapture
 1 Wasteful Times
 2 Melancholy Self-Portrait
 3 Wertherism
 4 A Keen Eye

part 2: Politics

5 The Aristocrat
 1 Decorum
 2 Estate
 3 A Scandalous Picture: The Fiasco of Family Politics
 4 Manifesto: The Portrait Gallery in Gaj

6 Political Creed
 1 The Flight from Warsaw in 1794: The Spectre of Revolution
 2 The Last Absolutist
 3 Attitude towards the November Uprising in the Kingdom of Poland
 4 Cara Patria: Being Polish as a Burden and a Challenge

7 A Pole in Berlin
 1 Decision
 2 ‘A Nobleman of the First Class’
 3 A Good Catholic and a Pole
 4 The Old Count

8 Diplomat
 1 Early Endeavours
 2 The Power of Circumstances or ‘a Place Apart’?
 3 Iberia
 4 Friendships: Juan Donoso Cortés and Alphonse de Brotty d’Antioche

part 3: Art

9 Raczyński as an Artist
 1 Picturesque and Sublime Nature
 2 The Romantic Landscape
 3 Travel Notes
 4 Views of Architecture

10 Aesthetic Views, Writings on Art, Patronage
 1 Basic Concepts: Beauty and Taste
 2 Modern German Painting
 3 Writings on Art
 4 Raczyński’s Friend Wilhelm Kaulbach

11 Collector
 1 The Queen of the Elves
 2 Italian Journey
 3 A Single Goal
 4 Contemporary Painting

12 The Gallery
 1 A Temple to Art
 2 A Joint Undertaking: The Gallery in Poznań
 3 A Small but Tasteful Picture Gallery
 4 The Museum: 2 Exercierplatz


Athanasius Raczyński: Timetable


Academic libraries; specialist in the fields of history (mainly German and Polish history of the 19th century), art history (especially those focusing on German and Portuguese art), history of collections, and history of diplomacy; broader readership interested in biographies of historical figures