Saturday 10 February 2024

Hewtson in Rome (Part 20). Franciszek Salezy Potocki.

Count Franciszek Salezy Potocki ( 1700 - 1772)

Posthumous Marble Bust.

Derived from an engraving by Domenico Cunego

from a portrait by Marceli Bacciarelli

Height 64 cms.

c 1782

Christopher Hewetson.

Łańcut Castle

Franciszek Salezy Potocki (1700-1772) was the son of Józef, Grand Warden of the Crown, and Teofila, née Cetnar, founder of the Tulczyn branch of the Potocki family in the Hetman line.

 He was Voivode of Kiyv, one of the richest magnates in Poland. 

The marble bust of Franciszek Salezy Potocki was made around 1782 in Rome by sculptor Christopher Hewetson (ca. 1736 - 1798), who belonged to the artistic circle of Antonio Canova, the most famous Italian sculptor of the Neoclassical period. 

The bust was probably commissioned from Hewetson by Potocki's son, Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki, who in 1781-1782 stayed with his wife Józefa Amalia, née Mniszech, in Italy, including Rome.

Potocki is portrayed in armour, with the Orders of White Eagle and Saint Andrew. The bust was probably commissioned from Hewetson by Potocki's son, Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki, who in 1781-1782 stayed with his wife Józefa Amalia, née Mniszech, in Italy, including Rome. 

Hewetson based the sculpture on a copper engraving made in 1782 by Domenic Cunego, based on a portrait of Franciszek Salezy Potocki painted by Marceli Bacciarelli around 1766. 

The sculpture arrived at the Castle in Łańcut in 1923 and was bequeathed to Alfred Potocki by his distant relative, Mikołaj Potocki, who died in Paris in 1921, Franciszek Salezy Potocki’s great-grandson.


Engraved Domenicus Cunego (1727 - 1803) in Rome 1782.

from the portrait by Marceli Bacciarelli.

Dated 1782.

Superb Hi Res scan from -

University of Warsaw Library



Portrait of Franciszek Salezy Potocki

Marceli Bacciarelli (1731 - 1818).

Born Rome, Died Warsaw

Was working Dresden (1753-1764), Warsaw (1756), Vienna (1764-1766), Warsaw (1766-1818)


Capriccio with portraits of Count Franciszek Salezy Potocki and his son Stanisław Szczęsny.

Bernardo Bellotto.

Height: 153.5 cm width: 113.5 cm

c. 1763 - 64.

El Paso Museum.

Notes from the Kress Foundation

Bernardo Bellotto, sometimes called Canaletto, his uncle's nickname. Venetian School. 

Born 1720; died 1780. He was pupil of his uncle Antonio Canal (Canaletto), with whom he seems to have been closely associated in Venice, also probably for a short period in Rome (c. 1742), and then until his (Bellotto's) final departure from Venice, in 1744. 

After brief periods of work in other Italian cities, he went, in 1747, to Dresden, where he became court painter. For brief periods of activity he was in Vienna and Munich, and finally he was very active in Warsaw, where he remained from 1767 until his death. 

From the beginning, the great influence in his development was that of his uncle, from whom he is distinguishable by a more objective, realistic presentation of his subjects. His contrasts of light and shadow are sharper than Canaletto’s, his fusion of colors less subtle, and the general effect of his views more panoramic and less atmospheric. Yet the quality of his paintings reaches such a high plane that some of them – especially from his early, Italian period – have until almost the present been catalogued among Canaletto’s characteristic oeuvres.

Both the signature and composition class K1691 with an architectural caprice now in the National museum, Warsaw, in which a splendid figure in the costume of a Venetian nobleman has been identified as a portrait of Bellotto himself.2 

The Warsaw picture, along with several other fanciful architectural paintings, is believed to date from Bellotto's late Dresden period. K1691 may be later, after the artist's establishment in Warsaw, in 1767. 

The figures here are in Polish costume, and the large man with arm akimbo has been identified from an engraving as Count Franciscus Salesius Potocki, while the young man in front may be his son, Stanislaus Felix, fifteen years of age in 1767, who was to become more famous than his father, but as traitor to Poland.

3 A pertinent stylistic parallel to the portraits in K1691 is offered by those in the Election of Stanislaus Augustus, a large canvas in the Nationalmuseum, Warsaw, painted by Bellotto in 1776/78.4 

Aside from K1691 and the painting with the self-portrait referred to above, Bellotto painted a considerable number of architectural caprices, often with compositions very similar to K1691, views through an archway to a monumental stairway and a columned hemicycle beyond, features that would seem to be based on the artist's memories of architecture by such Roman artists as Bernini.5 

In K1691 Bellotto has frankly copied his fountain sculpture from Bernini's Apollo and Daphne. 

However fanciful his caprices may be, Bellotto usually studied his architecture so carefully from actual buildings that his paintings were followed in the restoration and rebuilding of Warsaw after the Second World War.6

(1) Catalogue by F. R. Shapley, 1961, no. 42, as Bellotto.

(2) The Warsaw painting is reproduced by T. Borenius, in Dedalo, vol. III, 1922, p. 103. See the recent discussion by W. Schumann, in the catalogue of the Bellotto exhibition in Vienna, 1965, no. 43. The identification of the portrait is noted by S. Lorentz in a letter of Nov. 16, 1955, to W. E. Suida.

(3) These identifications were suggested by Lorentz (in the letter cited in note 2, above), who kindly sent to the Kress Foundation a copy of Cunego's engraving of a portrait of Potocki after a painting by Bacciarelli, an Italian painter in Warsaw who encouraged Bellotto to take up residence there. Dr. Lorentz comments that Potocki could have been easily included in a painting by Bellotto, even before the artist came to Poland, since Potocki, with his immense land holdings, had associations with the minister Brühl and was often in Dresden. Cunego's engraving is dated 1781 (or 1782) but Bacciarelli's portrait, Dr. Lorentz comments, was probably painted more than a decade earlier.

(4) Details of some of the portraits in the Election ... are reproduced by Lorentz, in catalogue of the exhibition of Bellotto and Gieryrnski, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 1955, figs. 25a, b, c, d.

(5) Several of these are reproduced by H. A. Fritzsche, Bernardo Bellotto, 1936, figs. 73 ff.

(6) See Lorentz, p. 9 of op. cit. in note 4, above.

(7) Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection, 1951, p. 166 (catalogue by Suida), as Bellotto.

Images above from the excellent Kress Foundation website


Franciszek Salezy Potocki 

Miniature Portrait.

Franciszek Salezy Potocki (1700–1772) was a Polish nobleman, diplomat, politician and knight of the Order of the White Eagle, awarded on August 3, 1750, in Warsaw. 

Potocki was the wealthiest magnate of his time and the owner of large properties in Dnieper Ukraine, then part of the Polish Crown. Nicknamed "Little King of Ruthenia" ("królik Rusi").


Franciszek became Krajczy of the Crown in 1736, Field Clerk of the Crown and Voivode of Volhynian Voivodship in 1755, Voivode of Kijów, Voivodship in 1755–1771 and Starost of Belz, Hrubieszów, Ropczyce, Sokal, Jabłonów and Opalin.


Marcello Bacciarelli.

Self Portrait.


National Museum of Warsaw transferred from the Krosnowski Collection

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