The engraving known as “Kołacz królewski” (The Troelfth Cake) is a satirical allegory of the first partition of Poland (1772). It presents the despairing Polish King Stanisław August, in whose presence three predacious rulers of neighbouring countries - Tsarina of Russia Catherine II, King of Prussia Frederic II and Emperor Józef II ruling Austria - tear apart the map of the Polish Republic. Blowing over the clouds, Pheme, the Roman goddess of news and gossip, seems to be running away in a panic when she sees this scene. The author of the original drawing is Jean-Michel Moreau the Younger (1741-1814). The strength of expression of this symbolic representation turned out to be so suggestive that it gained immense popularity in Europe and was repeatedly copied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and its numerous versions were created. This engraving, not signed, probably made by an anonymous English graphic, repeats the composition – most notably the most famous – engraved by Noël Le Mire, which appeared in Paris in February 1773.


  • Title: Allegory of partition of Poland in 1772
  • Creator: Jean-Michel Moreau The Younger (drawing author)
  • Date Created: około 1773
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.1 x 16.2 cm (composition)
  • Rights: Polish Museum in Rapperswil
  • Medium: copperplate engraving

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