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Abstract

This article introduces the work of the art historian Tadeusz Mańkowski (1878–1956). He trained as a lawyer and took up art history late, as a private scholar. In 1945 he was appointed Director of the State Art Collection at Wawel. Mańkowski was probably the first Polish researcher who established contacts with foreign orientalists studying the arts, especially in the U.S. and the UK, including magazines such as “Ars Islamica” and “Bulletin of Iranian Art and Archaeology”. In this field, his most important article was on Polish trade with Persia in the seventeenth century, in the monumental Survey of Persian Art (ed. A. Upton Pope). In his studies on the relationship between the former Poland and the broadly defined Orient, Mańkowski created an academic groundwork based on extensive archival query. He published a book on Sarmatian Genealogy, in which he uncovered, relying on archival sources, the origins and the development of this formation of Polish culture which was born in the sixteenth century and underwent many transformations up until the eighteenth century. This was an ideological study, setting in motion the on–going debate about Sarmatism which lasts until this day. The framework of Mańkowski’s achievements should be divided into three categories: the Leopolitano (he lived in Lviv until 1945) and Oriental art; the Cracoviana and the Waweliana (Royal Castle in Cracow – Wawel); the Varsaviana and the artistic and collector’s activity of the last Polish king, Stanislaus Augustus.
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