The series of lectures entitled "The Enlightenment Republic of Dreams" was launched in the autumn of 2015, as a reference to the "Enlightenment Republic of Rulers" project by Professor Andrzej Pieńkos. In the new academic year 2016-2017, we will continue our journey to the era of Enlightenment. As before, our goal is to show the accomplishments and specificities of the Polish Enlightenment – presented against the background of the European culture.
The series of deliberations – conducted from multiple perspectives – will feature topics such as: lives and accomplishments of the most famous personalities of the 18th and 19th century who were involved with the Royal Łazienki – the object of dreams and goals of Stanisław August (hence the title: "Enlightenment Republic of Dreams"). These figures will include, among others: Judyta Zbytkowerowa, wife of Szmul, Stanisław August’s agent, Johann Christian Kamsetzer, designer and architect, Jan Bogumił Plersch, Royal painter and decorator, Louis XVIII, the king in exile, and Ignacy Krasicki, one of the most outstanding poets of the Polish Enlightenment.
In our analysis of the accomplishments of these people, we would like to present cultural phenomena and processes occurring in the realm of the intellect, particularly in fine arts. We will also try to answer the questions concerning the history of the "Republic of Letters", and of the people who formed it following the French Revolution and in the Napoleonic era.
The "Republic of Letters" had its inception in the 16th century, during the lifetime of Erasmus of Rotterdam, who was its first informal – but nonetheless influential – president. It reached its greatest prominence in the 18th century – in the Era of the Enlightenment.
The "Republic of Letters" (lat. Respublica litteraria, fr. la république des lettres) is understood as a European group of scholars, writers, and artists who stayed in contact with each other via writing and print, which enabled them to promote both texts and paintings. This invisible, supranational state reached the height of its influence under Voltaire’s direction (Voltaire, in fact François-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778), while its "citizens" gained fame by publishing the great French Encyclopaedia in the years 1751-1780. At the time, not only intellectuals from across Europe, but also powerful rulers such as Catherine II and Frederic II were striving for the favours of the said "state"; they tried to gain its approval for their plans.
The European république de lettres group was associated with colourful personalities, whose lives were in some ways connected to the Royal Łazienki, starting from its founder – Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, but also Stanisław August as well as artists and intellectuals associated with the King (including persons from France, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden), and including international adventurers such as Casanova and Count Cagliostro. These people were part of the "Republic of Letters" not only by adopting French fashion and customs, or using Voltaire’s language daily. What they all had in common was an optimistic view of human nature, and conviction that there are wise and good people in all parts of the world. Currently, being the witnesses of new great migrations, and judges of dark nationalisms, we can only envy our predecessors for their optimism and radiant cosmopolitanism.
LECTURES FROM THE "ENLIGHTENMENT REPUBLIC OF DREAMS" SERIES:
12 October 2016 – Elżbieta Wichrowska, Ph. D., The Wife of Szmul, Judyta Zbytkowerowa in the Royal Łazienki;
30 November 2016 – Barbara Arciszewska, Ph. D., Johann Christian Kamsetzer and the New Model of Artistic Career in Modern Poland;
14 December 2016 – Izaura Jakacka, Virtues of King Stanisław August – Marcello Bacciarelli and his Supraportas from the Old Audience Hall in the Royal Theatre in Warsaw;
18 January 2017 – Barbara Arciszewska, Ph. D., Establishment of the Academy of Fine Arts – Stanisław Augst’s Unfulfilled Ideé Fixe and the Function of the Royal Print Room;
8 February 2017 – Aleksandra Bernatowicz, Ph. D., Unlike Reality... Jan Bogumił Plersch – Royal Decorator in the Royal Łazienki;
8 March 2017 – Barbara Arciszewska, Ph. D., Louis XVIII – Resident of the White Pavilion in the Royal Łazienki;
10 May 2017 – Przemysław Wątroba, Castle Chapel, Garrison Church, National Votive – Designs of the Ujazdów Church;
21 June 2017 – Jacek Głażewski, Ph. D., Ignacy Krasicki’s Vision of Modern Culture.