Since the portrait features a sash of the Order of the Holy Spirit, awarded to Prince Aleksander by Louis XIV, it was presumably painted in circa 1696.
Title: Portrait of Aleksander Benedykt Sobieski
Creator Lifespan: 1659 - 1743
Creator Nationality: French
Creator Gender: Male
Creator Death Place: Paris
Creator Birth Place: Perpignan
Date Created: ca. 1696
Technique: oil on canvas
Subject: The second son of John III Sobieski and Maria Casimire was a humanist by choice but received a thorough military education. In February 1704 the princes Jakub and i Konstanty were abducted near Wrocław upon the order of Augustus III and imprisoned in Saxony. Aleksander became the pretender to the Polish crown, supported by Charles XII of Sweden and Primate Michał Radziejowski. After the brothers were set free by the king of Sweden (December 1706) Aleksander withdrew from political life and in 1710 resided together with his mother in Rome, where the local climate was beneficial for treating his progressing rheumatism. There, Aleksander became involved in local cultural life and became known as a poet and a lover and patron of the arts, who staged opera spectacles in his private theatre. At the end of his life, the ailing prince devoted himself to prayer and died in Rome, where he was buried in the Capuchin church.
Provenance: Painting bought by the Wilanów Palace Museum in 2009.