Portrait of Francis I Rakoczi, early 19th century Continental School.
By Roy Precious From United Kingdom
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Oil on canvas in period gilt frame.
This arresting image, full of drama, is a portrait of the Transylvanian prince Francis I Rakoczi (Rákóczi Ferenc).
The sitter, his armour draped with a wolfskin cloak, his expression fierce, looks to the right of the viewer. Drawing his sword it seems as if Rakoczi has seen a threat approaching and takes action to defend himself and us.
This early 19th century painting, by an artist as yet unidentified, perfectly captures the spirit of this 17th century warrior.
The portrait itself has a fine bravura quality with a painterly delight in using the medium, especially in the treatment of the light on Rakoczi's armour.
FRANCIS I RAKOCZI (1645 Transylvania – 1676 Royal Hungary) was a Hungarian aristocrat, prince of Transylvania and father of Hungarian national hero Francis II Rákóczi.
He was the son of George II Rákóczi, prince of Transylvania, and Zsófia Báthori.
He became Prince of Transylvania in 1652 but lost his kingdom after the Turkish invasion of 1660 and withdrew to his Castle Palanok. He converted to Roman Catholicism under the influence of his mother Sophia.
In 1666 Francis married Jelena Zrinska (Ilona Zrínyi in Hungarian), a Croatian countess, and joined the Wesselényi conspiracy (Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy in Croatia), one leader of which was Jelena's father, Petar Zrinski (Hungarian: Zrínyi Péter).
Francis soon became the leader of the conspiracy, and, as a culmination of their anti-Habsburg stratagems, started an armed uprising of nobles in Upper Hungary, while the other conspirators were supposed to start the fight in Croatia. Due to poor organization and discord between the conspirators, however, the Austrian authorities were well informed; they quickly suppressed the Croatian branch of the revolt.
When Rákóczi was informed of his father in law Petar Zrinski being captured by the Austrians, he laid down his weapons and applied for mercy. For a ransom of 300,000 Forints and several castles he was pardoned.
Francis I had 3 children - György (1667); Julianna Borbála (1672–1717); and Francis II (1676–1735), the future ruling prince of Hungary and leader of a war of independence named after him, who was born a few months before his father's death in 1676.
SIZE: 47.5 x 39.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Devizes Castle, Wiltshire.
(Image 5 shows Devizes Castle).
We specialise in portraits from the 16th to the early 20th century, we also stock some 17th and 18th century ship paintings, furniture of the 17th and 18th centuries, and other artefacts dating from 200 B.C. to the 20th century.We have sold to many important collections including The Historic Royal Palaces collection and The Yale Center for British Art. Viewing is by appointment, or an arrangement can be made for the item to be brought to your home for inspection.