Confusion surrounding Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man in the Czartoryski Collection

Raphaël (1483-1520)
Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1511
Oil on Panel - 72 x 56 cm
Formerly Cracow, Czartoryski Muzeum
Painting disappeared during the Second World War

1/8/12 - Restitution - Cracow, Czartoryski Muzeum - In 2007 we had published an interview with Prince Czartoryski who directs the foundation of the same name and which manages the Czartoryski Museum in Cracow. The prince had explained how he attempted, at times successfully, to recover paintings belonging to the collection which resurfaced after having been looted during the Second World War.

This museum, which holds Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine, also owned a painting on panel by Raphael representing the portrait of a young man (ill.), a self-portrait according to some. Prince Czartoryski had told us at the time that he did not know its whereabouts.
However, today certain Polish newspapers announced that the representative for the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the restitution of cultural assets had evidence showing that this painting had not been destroyed and that its whereabouts had been determined, in a country where "the law favors its restitution" [1]. But it seems that this is not quite exact. Since then, the Ministry has explained that its words had been misinterpreted : it is true that the work has not been destroyed (a fact established several years ago already), but there is still no indication of where it is located [2].
There is thus no proof that this major work for art history will return anytime soon to its rightful museum, alas.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 13 août 2012


[1] The information was published in The Art Newspaper.

[2] According to an article on the website

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