Dolabella. Venetian Painter of the House of Vasa

Dolabella. Venetian Painter of the House of Vasa

September 11th December  6th, 2020

The Gallery of Temporary Exhibition (II floor)

The artistic achievements of Tomasz Dolabella (1570–1650), an Italian by birth, a Pole by choice, a court painter of Polish kings from the House of Vasa and elites of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, are to be exhibited for the very first time in the history of Polish museums.

Born around 1570 in Belluno, Dolabella studied in Venice in the studio of Antonio Vassilacchi known as Aliense (1556–1629). As a formed artist he came to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1598 and worked for the elite of the Polish-Lithuanian monarchy until his death in 1650. He worked on commission by the kings: Zygmunt III, Władysław IV and Jan Kazimierz, as well as bishops and priors of various religious congregations. In the royal castles in Krakow and Warsaw there were probably ceilings with paintings by Dolabella, while churches and monasteries of the Małopolska region were filled with his religious works. Dolabella is considered to be one of the last representatives of Venetian mannerist painting, which strongly influenced Polish painting in the Baroque era.

The main part of the exhibition are the works of Tommaso Dolabella, large-format canvases which are difficult to see on a daily basis, borrowed from the churches and monasteries of Krakow and the surrounding area. The exhibition presents a unique object – a frame ceiling with paintings assigned to Dolabella, dismantled from the seat of the Archconfraternity of Mercy in Krakow and mounted in the exhibition halls of the Royal Castle.

The background for Tommaso Dolabella›s paintings are works of 16th century Italian painters, such as: Jacopo Palma il Vecchio, Giovanni de Monte or Domenico Tintoretto. Moreover, the prologue of the exhibition is devoted to Venetian luxury crafts from the 16th century, which due to their precious materials, technological craftsmanship and high artistic level were export goods, willingly purchased by the mighty of Europe, including from the Commonwealth. The exhibition is supplemented by manuscripts and prints.

80 objects from nearly 30 institutions are presented. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with essays by Krzysztof Pomian and Jerzy Żmudziński.

Article in Polish History >

Concept and script: Jerzy Żmudziński

Curator: dr Magdalena Białonowska

Scenography and lighting: Studio Govenlock

Visiting rules

Opening hours:

Tuesday – Friday, Sunday: 10 a.m.5 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. 8 p.m.

Monday – closed

Last admission 1 hour before closing time

Ticket prices:

regular 18 PLN, reduced 12 PLN, youth until 16 year old 1 PLN

Combined ticket for the Royal Route, exhibition Dolabella. Venetian Painter of the House of Vasa and exposition Captured Genius. Giovanni Battista Piranesi: regular 45 PLN, reduced 30 PLN, youth 7–16 year old 2 PLN