Catarina Gattai (Catai) (1745–85), Italian dancer, singer and actress, about whom there is only uncertain and
fragmentary information until she came to Poland; she purportedly danced
at La Pergola in Florence, and theatres in Venice and Prague (1761),
and probably also in Milan. In Warsaw she made only a fairly brief
appearance; she did not distinguish herself in any way which would have
merited at least a brief mention in Wojciech Bogusławski’s Dzieje Teatru Narodowego [History of the National Theatre] published in Warsaw in 1820.
Gattai had been King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s long-time
mistress since the beginning of his reign. Stanisław August appointed
her husband, Carlo Thomatis (Tomatis), director of the first public
theatre in Warsaw. The couple arrived in Warsaw in December 1764. In the
following year, the king gave them the title de Valery, and in 1778
they acquired the Królikarnia estate. The king’s relationship with
Catarina lasted for more than ten years.

The first of Bacciarelli’s two portraits of Catarina Thomatis in the
Łazienki Palace, which Alina Chyczewska dated to 1780–85, was made
before 1783 because it is recorded in the first catalogue of the gallery
which bears that date. [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 8, p. 72.]


  • Title: Catarina Gattai Thomatis
  • Creator: Marcello Bacciarelli
  • Date Created: before 1783
  • Location Created: The Palace on the Isle - Salle de Salomon, ground floor
  • Physical Dimensions: h 66,9 w 54,9
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: oil
  • Art Genre: portrait
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: canvas

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