Prince Józef Poniatowski (1763–1813), a nephew of Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was a national hero thanks mainly to his involvement in the Napoleonic Wars and the struggles for freedom. He defended Warsaw from the Prussian and Russian armies during the 1794 uprising. He joined Napoleon’s army when it entered Poland in 1806. The next year, he became minister of war of the Duchy of Warsaw, and a senior commander in the Polish army in the battles against Austria. He led the Polish troops in the French army during Napoleon’s march on Russia in 1812, and showed extreme courage. Later, he took part in the wars between Napoleon and the countries of the coalition, was made a Marshal of France in the autumn of 1813, an honour that no other foreigner had won, and was immortalised by having his name inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He was wounded in a battle at Leipzig in October 1813, and died on the River Elster. Poniatowski was held in very high esteem by the army, and for many Polish and Lithuanian youths he was a symbol of honour and valour. In 1817, with the permission of the Russian Emperor Alexander I, his remains were reburied next to royalty in the crypt of the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow. This must have been the occasion for Jan Gottlieb Kisling (1790–1846), a talented student in the Department of Graphic Art at the Vilnius School of Art, to create a solemn equestrian portrait of the hero to commemorate his glorious deeds. Text author Rūta Janonienė.