A painting That is Not There

A dialogue with a painting


workshop by Adam Rokowski

from Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa

Partner Erasmus+


Aula Pittura 1

19 April 2023 2pm – 6pm

20 April 2023 9am - 1pm


A painting That is Not There

Raphael Santi "Portrait of a Young Man"

A dialogue with a painting

The workshop will be inspired by one of the most important paintings ever to have made its way to a Polish collection - Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man. Painted in oil on panel, the painting dates back to the beginning of the 16th century.

Polish collections of world art, which are not very rich, suffered particularly during the Second World War. One of the lost pieces of art is Raphael Santi’s "Portrait of a Young Man", executed in the first two decades of the 16th century.

The painting from the collection of the Princes Czartoryski came to Poland around the year 1800.


At the outbreak of the Second World War, it was in the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, from which it was taken by the German occupying forces. It disappeared somewhere in Germany in 1945.


There is no certainty as to whether the painting still exists, or whether it is hidden in a safe in some distant country where it will be "miraculously" found one day once the last living witnesses to the theft of the painting have died.


We know what the painting looked like from, among other things, a drawing by Anthony Van Dyck, and several painterly copies and engravings made between the 16th and 19th centuries. There also exist pre-war black-and-white and colour photographs of it. One such photograph now hangs in the Czartoryski Museum, in the place where the original painting used to hang.


We do not know much about the portrayed man. Perhaps it was an idealised self-portrait of the artist himself or Franceso Maria delle Rovere, Duke of Urbino. The identity of the model has also been linked to Frederick Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, or even to Raphael's life companion, Margherita Luti, La Fornarina. […]

Adam Rokowski

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