OF KING STANISŁAW AUGUST
Throughout his almost thirty-year reign, Stanisław August amassed a collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, as well as coins and medals, made by both European and Polish artists. These works of art, in conjunction with the architecture of the Royal Łazienki, resulted in a Gesamtkunstwerk (namely a work of art which makes use of, or strives to make use of, all of many art forms). With time, in accordance with one of the King’s ideas from 1792 – the Royal Łazienki were to become the first modern museum open to the public. Stanisław August did not consider the fine arts solely as an aesthetic decoration for his residence. The paintings, sculptures and architecture were all part of a greater iconographical programme which embraced political, social and economic matters and which was intended to restore the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and help raise national consciousness. The fine arts were to “shape the nation’s spiritual culture” and thus contribute to its renewal.