Room with Portraits of Hetmans

Powieszony na ścianie gobelin Polowanie Stefana Batorego na żubry.

The hetman’s office was one of the most important positions in pre-partition Poland. A hetman exercised absolute command over the army and had power over the life and death of officers and ordinary soldiers. Noblemen are portrayed facing the viewer or with the face turned to the side, with schematically individualised facial features. Except for the first hetman, Jerzy Radziwiłł, who wears full plate armour, all the others are portrayed in the traditional Polish kontusz and żupan outfits. Some also wear breastplates. The Polish outfit was, in a way, obligatory for the hetmans. Each of them holds a mace as the most important sign of the hetman’s office (a double-edged weapon that originated in the East and had the form of a handle ending in a spherical knob). Additionally, some portraits include customary portrait props: tables with fur hats or princely mitres, curtains and military tents.


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