National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus

Belarus of XVI-XVIII cc. in portraits and heraldry

  • 27.03.2008

This long-term exposition project reflects one of the most difficult and contradictory periods in the history of Belarus - the period of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (mid-16th - late 18th century). The emphasis is on the life of the upper classes of the country's society - the magnates and gentry, representatives of the aristocracy, who played a significant role both in the creation and development, and in the decline of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Commonwealth.

The hall is divided into two parts: in one there is a kind of gallery of the Zawishes, part of the gallery of the Radziwills, as well as a collection of weapons, glass and porcelain; in the other - portraits of the Radziwills, kings, prominent figures of the state, clergy and nobility, including Konstantin Ostrozhsky, Stefan Batory, Lev Sapega, Georgy Kanissky, Tadeusz Kosciuszko and others. Collections of numismatics and sphragistics are also presented here.

Items from the collection of weapons, included in the exhibition, emphasize the masculine features of the "Sarmatian" portraits. These are rare examples of cold steel and firearms. Items made of precious porcelain, exquisite glasses and glass flats give rise to talk about the development of the manufacture of luxury goods.

In the exposition you can see the reconstruction of the women's attire of a wealthy Vitebsk city dweller of the 18th century, which contains fragments of the original fabrics of that time (the author is the costume designer Y. Piskun). In addition, visitors have the opportunity to pay tribute to the skill of modern reconstruction of coats of arms from ancient heraldic books (author's works of the artist A. Levchik).

This project dates back to 2002, when the exhibition "Historical portrait of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 16th – 18th centuries" was opened. In 2008, it was re-exposed, adding items exclusively from the museum's collections, after which the long-term exhibition project received its current name.

The author of the scientific concept is the leading researcher Irina Zvariko. Artist - Vladimir Gladkov.