O niebezpiecznych związkach sztuki i polityki na przykładzie „żywotów równoległych” Michaela Willmanna i Philipa Bentuma


  • Beata Lejman Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu

Słowa kluczowe:

Michael Willmann, Królewiec/ Königsberg, kalwinizm, katolicyzm, Wielki Elektor, ikonografia polityczna, Philip Bentum


Michael Lucas Leopold Willmann (1630–1706) was born in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad in Russia), where his first teacher was Christian Peter, a well - off guild painter. After years of journeys of apprenticeship and learning in the Netherlands, the young artist returned to his homeland, after Matthias Czwiczek’s death in 1654 probably hoping for the position of the painter at the court of Great Elector Frederick William (1620–1688).What served to draw the ruler’s attention to himself was probably the lost painting, described by Johann Joachim von Sandrart as follows: ‘the Vulcan with his cyclops makes armour for Mars and a shield and a spear for Minerva’. The failure of these efforts led the future ‘Apelles’ to emigrate to Silesia, where he created a family painting workshop in Lubiąż (Leubus), and following the conversion from Calvinism to Catholicism, he became a Cistercian painter, creating famous works of art in religious or secular centres of Crown Bohemia. What connects him to Prussia is another painting of great importance in his career, the little -known ‘Apotheosis of the Great Elector as a Guardian of Arts’ from 1682.

The successor to Great Elector Frederick III (1657–1713) was crowned in 1701 as the ‘king of Prussia’. The ceremony required an appropriate artistic setting, which prompted many artists to flock to Königsberg, including a Dutchman from Leiden, the painter Justus Bentum, a pupil of Gottfred Schalken, who reached the capital of the new kingdom together with his son Philip Christian. After studying from his father, Philip Christian Bentum (ok. 1690 – po 1757) followed in the footsteps of the famous Willmann, and went on a journey, from which he never returned to Prussia. He went first to imperial Prague, where he collaborated with Peter Brandl and converted to Catholicism, following which he travelled to Silesia. After 1731, he took part in the artistic projects of Bishop Franz Ludwig von Pfalz–Neuburg of Wrocław (Breslau) and Abbot Constantin Beyer, who completed the project begun by Freiberger and Willmann: the extension and decoration of the Cistercian Abbey in Lubiąż. It was there that he made the largest in Europe canvas -painted oil plafond of the Prince’s Hall and completed his opus magnum: covering all the library walls and vaults with painting. Those pro -Habsburg works were finished two years before the death of Emperor Charles VI (1685–1740) and the military invasion of Silesia by Frederick II Hohenzollern (1712–1786), great - grandson of the Great Elector.

The fate of the artists mentioned in the title was intertwined with Königsberg and Lubiąż. Both converts set off for the professional maturity from the Prussian capital via Prague to Silesia. They can be compared by the Dutch sources of their art and a compilation method of creating images using print ‘prototypes’. Their inner discrepancy can be seen in the choice of these patterns, as they followed both the Catholic Rubens and the Protestant Rembrandt Van Rijn. They were connected with the provinces playing a key role in Central -European politics: here the Hohenzollerns competed for power in Central Europe with the Habsburgs. They were witnessesto the game for winning Silesia, and even took part in it by creating propagandistic art. Both of them worked for Bishop Franz Ludwig von Pfalz–Neuburg (1664–1732), associated with the Emperor, a kind of the capo di tutti capi of the Counter -Reformation in Silesia. Bentum eagerly imitated selected compositions of his predecessor and master from Lubiąż, and I think he even tried to surpass him in scale and precision. The artistic competition with Willman is visible in the paintings of the library in Lubiąż. There, he presented an Allegory of Painting, which shows the image of Willmann carried by an angel, while the inscription praising the qualities of his character calls him ‘Apelles’.

The work of both painters, who took their first steps in the profession as Protestants in Königsberg, but became famous through their work for Catholics, provides an interesting material for the analysis of the general topic of artistic careers on the periphery of Europe, the relationship between the centres and the periphery, as well as for two stages of re -Catholisation in Silesia treated as an instrument of power. It was usually pointed out how much separates the two painters, but no one has ever tried to show what unites them. The comparison of the sources, motifs, and outstanding achievements of both of them, especially in Lubiąż, gives a more complete picture of their activity deeply immersed in the politics of their times. This picture is not as unambiguous as it has been so far, highlighting the political and propaganda aspects of their career spreading out between the coastal Protestant north and the Catholic south. The drama of their lives took place in Silesia, where the multiple dividing lines of Europe intersected.

The idea of narrating the parallel fates of two artists with great Politics in the background (as in he case of Plutarch’s ‘Parallel Lives’) came to my mind years ago when I curated the Exhibition ‘Willmann – Drawings. A Baroque Artist’s Workshop’ (2001, National Museum in Wrocław, in cooperation with Salzburg and Stuttgart). The present paper was to be included in the volume accompanying that project initiated by Andrzej Kozieł (Willmann and Others. Painting, Drawing and Graphic Arts in Silesia and Neighbouring Countries in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. A. Kozieł, B. Lejman, Wrocław 2002), but I withdrew from its publication. I am hereby publishing it, thanking Małgorzata Omilanowska for her presence at the opening of this first great exhibition of mine in 2001, as well for the excellent cooperation with my Austrian, Czech, German, and Polish colleagues. This text, referring to the topic of our discussions at the time – as on the event of the above -mentioned exhibition I spoke at a press conference in Stuttgart’s Staatsgalerie, where the curator of the German exhibition was Hans Martin Kaulbach, exactly two days after the attack on WTC.


Download data is not yet available.


Asche Matthias, Kurfürst Georg Wilhelm von Brandenburg im Dreißigjährigen Krieg. Versuch einer Neubewertung [w:] Halb Europa in Brandenburg. Der Dreißigjährige Krieg und seine Folgen, Hg. Matthias Asche, Marco Kollenberg, Antje Zeiger, Berlin 2020, s. 32–44.

Bartoschek Gert, Wieling – Vaillant – Willmann? Michael Willmanns Werke in den preusischen Schlössern [w:] Preussen. Die Kunst und das Individuum. Beiträge gewidmet Helmut Börsch-Supan, Hg. Hans Dickel, Christoph Martin Vogtherr, Berlin 2003, s. 15–28.

Der Große Kurfürst. Sammler, Bauherr, Mäzen. Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm 1620–1688 [katalog wystawy], Hg. Hans-Joachim Giersberg, Claudia Meckel, Gerd Bartoschek Neues Palais in Sanssouci, Potsdam 1988.

Gaehtgens Barbara, Amalia von Solms und die oranische Kunstpolitik [w:] Onder den Oranje boom. Textband: Das Haus Oranien-Nassau als Vermittler niederländischer Kultur in deutschen Territorien im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert [katalog wystawy], Hg. Horst Lademacher, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Krefeld, Schloss Oranienburg, Palais Het Loo, München 1999, s. 265–186.

Grimkowski Rüdiger, Michael Willmann. Barockmaler im Dienst der katholischen Konfesionalisierung. Der Grussauer Josephszyklus, Berlin 2005.

Kalinowski Konstanty, Gloryfikacja panującego i dynastii w sztuce Śląska XVII i XVIII wieku, Warszawa–Poznań 1973.

Kłoda Emilia, Willmann Tobias [w:] Malarstwo barokowe na Śląsku, red. Andrzej Kozieł, Wrocław 2017, s. 756–759.

Kloss Ernst, Michael Willmann. Leben und Werke eines deutschen Barockmalers, Breslau 1934.

Kozieł Andrzej, Michael Willmann i jego malarska pracownia, Wrocław 2013.

Kozieł Andrzej, Rysunki Michaela Willmanna (1630–1706), Wrocław 2000.

Kozieł Beata, Angelus Silesius, Bernhard Rosa i Michael Willmann, czyli sztuka i mistyka na Śląsku w czasach baroku, Wrocław 2006.

Lejman Beata, Barokowa biblioteka dawnego opactwa cystersów w Lubiążu. Program ikonograficzny i próba rekonstrukcji wystroju, „Roczniki Biblioteczne” 2000, t. 44, s. 33–62.

Lejman Beata, Der Habsburgische Katholizismus im Zeichen der Gefährdung der Dynastie. Das ikonographische Programm des Fürstensaales in der Zisterzienserabtei in Leubus (Lubiąż) [w:] Kulturgeschichte Schlesiens in der Frühen Neuzeit, Hg. Klaus Garber, Osnabrück 2005, s. 891–910.

Lejman Beata, „Feminizm” programu treściowego Sali Książęcej [w:] Opactwo cystersów w Lubiążu i artyści, red. Andrzej Kozieł, Wrocław 2008, s. 315–330.

Lejman Beata, Lubiąż [w:] Handbuch der Kunstdenkmäler Schlesiens, Dehio-Handbuch der Kunstdenkmäler in Polen. Schlesien, Hg. Ernst Badstübner, Dietmar Popp, Andrzej Tomaszewski, Dethard von Winterfeld, München–Berlin 2005, s. 559–566.

Lejman Beata, Lubiąż [w:] Śląsk. Pomniki sztuki w Polsce, red. Sławomir Brzezicki, Christine Nielsen, współpraca Grzegorz Grajewski, Dietmar Popp, Warszawa 2006, s. 510–517.

Lejman Beata, Nokturn w twórczości Philipa Christiana Bentuma [w:] Niderlandyzm na Śląsku i w krajach ościennych, red. Mateusz Kapustka, Andrzej Kozieł, Piotr Oszczanowski, Wrocław 2003, s. 362–373.

Lejman Beata, Philip Christian Bentum, malarz śląskiego baroku, Warszawa 2008.

Lipczyńska [Lejman] Beata, Barokowa panorama Śląska. Malowidła Felixa Antona Schefflera w gmachu Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, „Roczniki Sztuki Śląskiej” 1997, t. 16, s. 117–139.

Lossow Hubertus, Michael Willmann 1630–1706. Meister der Barockmalerei, Würzburg 1994.

Malinowski Jerzy, Where East meets West: portrait of personages of the Polish -Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1576–1763 [katalog wystawy], Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Warszawa 1993.

Nowak Romuald, Zapomniane malowidła freskowe Michała Willmanna w pałacu opackim w Lubiążu, „Roczniki Sztuki Śląskiej” 1986, t. 14, s. 97–116.

Oestreich Gerhard, Die Niederlande und Brandenburg–Preußen [w:] Onder den Oranje boom. Textband: Das Haus Oranien -Nassau als Vermittler niederländischer Kultur in deutschen Territorien im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert [katalog wystawy], Hg. Horst Lademacher, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Krefeld, Schloss Oranienburg, Palais Het Loo, München 1999, s. 187–202.

Omilanowska Małgorzata, Tajemnice Willmanna [w:] Willmann. Opus magnum [katalog wystawy], red. Piotr Oszczanowski, Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, Wrocław 2019, s. 87–88.

Paluszyński Tomasz, Historia Niemiec i państw niemieckich. Zarys dziejów politycznych, Poznań 2006.

Schulze -Głazik Grażyna, Malowidło Philipa Christiana Bentuma z początku XVIII wieku w bibliotece pocysterskiego klasztoru w Lubiążu. Problemy konserwacji–restauracji monumentalnych barokowych malowideł na podłożu gipsowym, Kraków 2008.

Steinborn Bożena, O życiu i twórczości Michaela Willmanna [w:] Michael Willmann (1630–1706) [katalog wystawy], red. Marek Adamski, Piotr Łukaszewicz, Franz Wagner, Residenzgalerie Salzburg, Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, Salzburg 1994, s. 9–30.

Wagner Wulf D., Die Königsberger Schloß – Eine kurze Baugeschichte vom Ende der Ordenszeit bis zum Regierungsantritt Friedrich Wilhelms I. (1525–1713) [w:] 750 Jahre Königsberg. Beiträge zur Geschichte einer Residenzstadt auf Zeit, Hg. Bernhart Jähnig, Marburg 2008, s. 385–416.

Willmann. Opus magnum [katalog wystawy], red. Piotr Oszczanowski, Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, Wrocław 2019.




Jak cytować

Lejman, B. (2020). O niebezpiecznych związkach sztuki i polityki na przykładzie „żywotów równoległych” Michaela Willmanna i Philipa Bentuma. Porta Aurea, (19), 114–134. Pobrano z https://czasopisma.bg.ug.edu.pl/index.php/portaaurea/article/view/5173