• Catarina Gattai Thomatis
  • Catarina Gattai Thomatis
  • Catarina Gattai Thomatis - 1
  • Catarina Gattai Thomatis - 2

Catarina Gattai Thomatis

before 1783
Object type
66,9 x 54,9 cm
Acquisition date
The Palace on the Isle - Small Gallery, 1st floor
Place of Origin
Poland (Europe)
The Royal Łazienki
Museum number
ŁKr 124
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Catarina Gattai (Catai) (1745–85), Italian dancer, singer and actress, about whom there is only uncertain and fragmentary information until she came to Poland; she purportedly danced at La Pergola in Florence, and theatres in Venice and Prague (1761), and probably also in Milan. In Warsaw she made only a fairly brief appearance; she did not distinguish herself in any way which would have merited at least a brief mention in Wojciech Bogusławski’s Dzieje Teatru Narodowego [History of the National Theatre] published in Warsaw in 1820. …

Gattai had been King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s long-time mistress since the beginning of his reign. Stanisław August appointed her husband, Carlo Thomatis (Tomatis), director of the first public theatre in Warsaw. The couple arrived in Warsaw in December 1764. In the following year, the king gave them the title de Valery, and in 1778 they acquired the Królikarnia estate. The king’s relationship with Catarina lasted for more than ten years … .

The first of Bacciarelli’s two portraits of Catarina Thomatis in the Łazienki Palace, which Alina Chyczewska dated to 1780–85, was made before 1783 because it is recorded in the first catalogue of the gallery which bears that date. [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 8, p. 72.]

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