The Portrait Room
It came to being during the last expansion of the Palace conducted in the years 1788-1793. It is one of two rooms of the north passage of the Royal Residence which were intended for the display of King’s painting collections. Owing to this specific situation, both the room and the Painting Gallery of the Palace have the best lighting conditions for the works of art displayed in them.
The Portrait Room was burned down during World War II. The only object which survived the fire was the marble fireplace located in the centre. It is decorated with bas-reliefs of Leda, with heads of Gorgons. At the top of the fireplace hangs a mirror, which makes the small room optically bigger.
The central parts of the walls of the Portrait Room are lined with green silk. It makes a perfect background for the paintings hanging in the room, beautifully harmonizing with their gilded frames. It also gives the interior a very private character. The name “Portrait Room” was coined in the 19th century, during which time only portraits of family members and acquaintances of Stanisław August were displayed here. At present, the room houses outstanding paintings which belonged to the collection of the Polish monarch; they depict genre scenes, landscapes, portraits of scholars or King’s contemporaries such as his friend, Mrs. Geoffrin. The room’s original arrangement included pieces of furniture as well as a three-legged table with a desk top decorated with a mosaic representing a bull, which alluded to the Poniatowski family coat of arms – “Ciołek” (bull calf). The item was made in the Vatican workshops. Works of art deserving closer attention are the candleholders depicting Zephyr, Flora, as well as Cupid and Psyche – made by the great French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet.