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Event date: 2019 y.July0706 d. - 2019 y.December1201 d.00:00 All events
Valdovų rūmai
Relevant until 2019-12-01

2019 marks the 450th anniversary of the Union of Lublin, the treaty between Poland and Lithuania that united the two countries into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a unique state in Europe. It was a crucial event in the development of the historical state of Lithuania. On July 1, 1569, the Union of Lublin was concluded, which changed the relations of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland by establishing a two-member federation that later grew stronger and brought closer the cultures of both countries. This treaty, however, did not destroy their symbols of statehood or the main attributes of their political identity. The Union of Lublin is not only a treaty of historical significance, but also a source of inexhaustible stories which have inspired artists from Lithuania and Poland to look for different means of expressing the emotions, details, and political events of the time. In the 19th century, the approaching 300th anniversary of the event encouraged eminent Polish painter Jan Matejko to commemorate the union of the two neighbouring countries by painting an impressive work entitled Union of Lublin.

The artist bought a vast canvas and the paint for the planned picture inParis in 1867. The first sketches were painted and the last strokes were made between 1866 and 1869. The picture belongs to those works of Matejko which immortalise the most crucial moments of history. The Union of Lublin was the first of Matejko’s pictures that drew his countrymen’s attention to the positive aspects of their past. The picture earned him the Grand Cross of the Legion d’Honneur of France. The majestic canvas is dedicated to the final moment at the Sejm of Lublin: the union oath in the Renaissance hall of Lublin Castle on July 1 1569. Attention is focused on the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund Augustus, who is raising up a cross, as if he is encouraging the signing of the act. Besides Sigismund Augustus, the huge painting depicts key Polish and Lithuanian statesmen who took part in drafting and signing the Union treaty. Over 30 persons linked to the Union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania can be identified. Matejko’s intention was not only to depict the concluding moment of the Union of Lublin, but also its earlier beginnings, thus he included statesmen such as Mikołaj Radziwiłł the Red who had actually passed away before the signing of the Act. Protestant representatives are gathered on the left side of the picture; all the supporters of the Union are positioned in the centre, while Lithuanian delegates are depicted on the right. The most important persons in the picture can be identified by the scheme that is provided.

Before the Second World War, the Union of Lublin was kept in the Lubomirski Museum in Lviv. During the war it was moved to Wiśnicz, and later to Lower Silesia. The picture was found there in 1945 and together with other paintings by Matejko, it was moved to the National Museum in Warsaw; since 1957 it has been exhibited in Lublin. In 2009-2010 in the international exhibition The Union of Lublin and its Era in the Art of Jan Matejko in Vilnius, other pieces of art were also displayed along with this, one of the most important paintings by Matejko: compositions illustrating the process of the making of the Union of Lublin; sketches of different important historical figures of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.

After ten years, the famous painting by Jan Matejko The Union of Lublin is again being exhibited in Vilnius – this time, at the reconstructed Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, as part of the exhibition Lublin – City of the Union of Lithuania and Poland. In addition, there will also be sixty historic art works on display from the 17th–20th centuries, which offer visitors a broader introduction to the city of Lublin, famous both for the union between Lithuania and Poland signed there on July 1, 1569, and its amazing architecture, other artistic heritage and history.

Honorary patronage
Viktoras PRANCKIETIS, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania
Maker KUCHCIŃSKI, Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland
Stanisław KARCZEWSKI, Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland

Co-organization of the exhibition
National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of L ithuania
Lublin Museum in Lublin (Poland)

Partners of the exhibition
Lenkijos respublikos ambasada Vilnuje
Lenkijos institutas Vilniuje

Curatorial team of the exhibition

Co-ordinators of the exhibition
Marijus UZORKA

Conservation care
Danuta OSUCH
Myrosława WÓJCIK
Dorota PLIŚ

Published:: 2019-06-29 00:51 Modified: 2019-07-02 11:24
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