One of the most interesting paintings of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth concerning horses and riders comes from the Kielce Castle http://www.mnki.pl/pl/s,27,Dawny_Palac_Biskupow_Krakowskich.html . This castle was built for the Cracow bishop Jakub Zadzik, by his Italian architects and builders Poncino and Trevano, between 1637-1644 AD. Inside, our good bishop had many tapestries and paintings hung, while the ceilings were decorated with historical scenes of his times, concerned obviously with Polish history he was participant of. The ceiling paintings, and most likely many other paintings found in the castle at the time of its glory, had been painted by the Cracow workshop of Venetian emgirant, Tomasz Dolabella. Tomasz (Tommaso) Dolabella http://www.pinakoteka.zascianek.pl/Dolabella/Index.htm http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Tommaso_Dolabella?uselang=pl was at first a royal painter for our Sigismond III Vasa but the he fell out of royal favors and stayed working in the royal city of Cracow, working for the Roman Catholic Church and eventually for the king Wladyslaw IV. Most of his surviving works are religious in nature but some show the most remarkable knowledge of Poland's life, fashions, historical events and military equipment. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Dolabella_Horseman.JPG
One of the lost paintings showing historical events is the coronation of Maryna Mniszech as Tzarina of Muscovy, know only in black and white photograph. And this painting hopefully will be subject of more posts, but for now enjoy it as it is:
Tomasz Dolabella being Venetian of the Veronese, Tintoretto, Bassano etc traditions was a master of color, but his non-religious subjects and the full extend of colors and splendors can be seen in the surviving Kielce Castle ceiling paintings. Since this blog is all about the horses and horse tack, then especially the one painting concerned with the victorious Smolensk war of our king Wladyslaw IV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C5%82adys%C5%82aw_IV_Vasa is particularly suitable to show his workshop mastery of art.
The set of photographs showing the Smoleńsk painting along with another painting depicting the negotatiations between Sweden and Poland, come from this Mateuszmar collection on Picassa http://picasaweb.google.pl/MateuszMarmajStawowy/PaAcBiskupiWKilecach# however the actual photographer and owner of the said photos is Krzysztof Małys.
My favorite fragments are these two photos, subject to further analysis here, I hope :