Wincenty Aleksander Gosiewski (born before
1620– died 1662),Treasurer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1652,
Lithuanian Field Hetman from 1654; he participated in the Cossack Wars
in the years 1648–49 and 1651 and the wars with Russia in the years
1654–55; diplomat, translator and poet.
The painting was the property of August Sułkowski (1729–86) in
Rydzyna, from where it was acquired, with a group of at least eight
other paintings, for the Stanisław August collection before 1776.We do
not know how the Rydzyna paintings came to be in the king’s collection;
they may have been a gift of Sułkowski who, although at odds with the
King, in 1774 began seeking to regain the monarch’s favour. Sułkowski
was successful in his endeavours as evidenced by the establishment of
the Rydzyna entail by Parliament in 1776 … . In that year, Gosiewski’s
portrait had already been installed in the overdoor of the Vestibule in
the Łazienki Palace, as can be seen in the drawing made by Johann
Christian Kammsetzer in 1776.
Kałamajska-Saeed argued the sitter was Jan Ferdynand Sapieha
(1629–59) … . Her conclusion was based on the portrait of Sapieha in the
Sapieha ancestral gallery in Kodeń, painted in 1709 … .
Kałamajska-Saeed suggests the Łazienki portrait was made after
Schollenberger’s engraving and the Kodeń portrait—after the Łazienki
painting, but, unlike the engraving, it bears the correct inscription. …
Both possibilities, which is why when sustaining the
identification of the sitter in the Łazienki portrait as Gosiewski,
based on the inscription in Schollenberg’s engraving, and upheld for
more than two hundred years—the interpretation suggested by
Kałamajska-Saeed should also be taken into account. ...
The question of the sitter’s identity may also be analysed on the
grounds of costume. Maria Kałamajska-Saeed believes the sitter’s dress
is that of a captain of the light cavalry, which, in her opinion, would
point to Jan Ferdynand Sapieha who, in 1651, fought at the Battle of
Berestechko as captain of a Cossack squadron. However, it does not rule
out Gosiewski who, in 1648, also led a cavalry regiment under the
command of Janusz Radziwiłł. ...
In our opinion, the sitter’s costume is a compilation of actual
garments and arms, and imaginary items such as, for example, a headdress
of unusual shape. [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 124, pp. 452–456.]