Sigismund II Augustus

Portrait by Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1553
A 1568 Lithuanian coin of Sigismund II Augustus with Vytis and the Columns of Gediminas
Queen Elizabeth, by Lucas Cranach the Younger
Portrait of Barbara Radziwiłł by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1553
Portrait of Sigismund Augustus in armour, 1550s
Portrait of Catherine of Austria by Lucas Cranach the Younger.
Death of Sigismund II Augustus at Knyszyn, by Jan Matejko
Tomb of Sigismund Augustus in the Sigismund Chapel at Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, Poland
Letter from Hürrem Sultan, wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, to Sigismund Augustus, complimenting him on his accession to the throne, 1549
Medal obverse featuring Sigismund from 1562, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Parade armour of King Sigismund Augustus, made in Nuremberg by Kunz Lochner, 1550s. Livrustkammaren in Stockholm.
Union of Lublin; Sigismund stands in the center holding a crucifix among nobles, envoys and the clergy.
Sigismund Augustus in armour, 1550s, Alte Pinakothek
Tapestry with Shield-Bearing Satyrs with the royal monogram S.A. (Sigismundus Augustus), woven in Brussels in about 1555
Jan Kochanowski presents his work Satyr to Sigismund, an 1884 illustration by Feliks Sypniewski

King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548.

- Sigismund II Augustus

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Union of Lublin

Signed on 1 July 1569 in Lublin, Poland, and created a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest countries in Europe at the time.

Act of the Union of Lublin from 1569
The Union of Lublin, painting by Marcello Bacciarelli. Two knights hold entangled banners with the coats of arms of both states. A ribbon flutters over them with the inscription: IN COMMVNE BONVM - [COMPL]EXV SOCIATA PERENNI ("For the common good - united forever")
The Union of Lublin, painting by Jan Matejko. King Sigismund II Augustus holds the cross at the centre while surrounded by statesmen, diplomats, the clergy and nobles
Poland and Lithuania in 1526, before the Union of Lublin
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569
Religions in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1750: mostly Roman Catholic in the west and Eastern Catholic (Byzantine rite) in the east (orange color)
Coat of arms of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Memory of the union lasted long. Painting commemorating Polish–Lithuanian union; circa 1861. The motto reads "Eternal union."

It replaced the personal union of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union and an elective monarchy, since Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellons, remained childless after three marriages.

List of Polish monarchs

Ruled at various times either by dukes and princes or by kings (11th to 18th centuries).

Stanislaus II Augustus

This era of progress, also known as the Polish Renaissance, continued until the Union of Lublin under Sigismund II Augustus, which unofficially marked the end of the Polish Golden Age.

Jagiellonian dynasty

Royal dynasty, founded by Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, who in 1386 was baptized as Władysław, married Queen Jadwiga of Poland, and was crowned King of Poland as Władysław II Jagiełło.

Jogaila, later Władysław II Jagiełło (c. 1352/1362 – 1 June 1434) was Grand Duke of Lithuania (1377–1434), King of Poland (1386–1399) alongside his wife Jadwiga, and then sole King of Poland.
Baptism of Władysław III of Poland at Wawel in 1425
The Crusade of Varna was a series of events in 1443–44 between the crusaders and the Ottoman Empire, culminating in a devastating Christian loss at the Battle of Varna on 10 November 1444.
Thirteen Years' War—Battle of Chojnice in 1454
Malbork Castle during Thirteen Years' War (1460)
Sigismund I the Old (1467 –1548), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania
Chicken War or Hen War, a 1537 anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility.
Death of Barbara Radziwiłł Painting by Józef Simmler
Wawel Hill, the castle and the cathedral
Ladislaus II Jagiellon (1456–1516), King of Bohemia and Hungary
Louis II of Hungary (1506–1526), King of Hungary and Bohemia
Discovery of the corpse of King Louis II after the Battle of Mohacs
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The Polish "Golden Age", the period of the reigns of Sigismund I and Sigismund II, the last two Jagiellonian kings, or more generally the 16th century, is most often identified with the rise of the culture of Polish Renaissance.

Polish Golden Age

King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania – Sigismund II Augustus and Queen of Poland, Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania – Barbara Radziwiłł in Vilnius by Jan Matejko.
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, the seminal work on the heliocentric theory of Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543)
Nicolaus Copernicus, one of the most important astronomers in history
Jan Kochanowski, Polish Renaissance poet who established poetic patterns that would become integral to the Polish literary language
Tapestry with shield-bearing satyrs and monogram SA of king Sigismund Augustus, ca. 1555
Wawel Castle
Sigismund's Chapel serves as a tomb for the last Jagiellonian monarchs. Designed by Italian masters, the dome was covered with real gold to illustrate Poland's prosperity during the Golden Age.
Conception of the Polish Crown of Stanisław Orzechowski, a szlachta ideologist. In 1564 Orzechowski wrote Quincunx, in which he expounded principles of a state identified with its nobility.
Castle in Krasiczyn
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at its maximum extent, after the Truce of Deulino in 1619, overlaid over modern borders.
Gdańsk in the 17th century
Sigismund III Vasa (1566-1632) was one of the most controversial Polish monarchs. Fervently Catholic and aiming to seize absolute power in the region, under his rule Poland was at its largest territorial extent
Shuysky Tribute, homage of the deposed Tsar of Russia Vasili IV Shuysky to Sigismund III of Poland
Władysław IV Vasa of Poland (1595-1648), portrait by Peter Paul Rubens. When the Polish army occupied Moscow in 1610 he was elected Tsar of Russia but did not assume the throne

The Polish Golden Age was the Renaissance period in Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, roughly corresponding to the period of rule of the King Sigismund I the Old and his son, Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellonian Dynasty monarchs, until his death in 1572.

Barbara Radziwiłł

Portrait of Barbara Radziwiłł by Lucas Cranach the Younger (ca. 1551)
Sigismund II Augustus and Barbara Radziwiłł in Vilnius by Jan Matejko
Barbara Radziwiłł in coronation robes and pearls that became her signature jewelry. 18th-century copy of an original 16th-century portrait.
Death of Barbara Radziwiłł by Józef Simmler
Remains of Barbara (painting by Ludomir Sleńdziński)
Pan Twardowski summons Barbara's ghost. Painting by Wojciech Gerson.

Barbara Radziwiłł (Barbara Radziwiłłówna, Barbora Radvilaitė; 6 December 1520/23 – 8 May 1551) was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania as consort of Sigismund II Augustus, the last male monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty.

Anna Jagiellon

Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania from 1575 to 1587.

Queen Anna in her coronation robes (1576 painting by Martin Kober)
One of Anna's embroideries: Coat of arms of Poland in silver and gold thread with white pearls on a book from the royal library. It was given to Kraków Academy.
Anna Jagiellon by Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1553.
Polish likeness of Henry III, whom Anne supported and succeeded.
Sigismund Augustus Bridge was finished and protected by Queen Anne.
Queen Anna's tomb in the Sigismund's Chapel was built during her lifetime.
King Stephen Báthory and Queen Anna Jagiellon.
Anna's nephew and successor, Sigismund Vasa, in his youth.
Anna Jagiellon as a widow by Marcin Kober.

After the death of King Sigismund II Augustus, her brother and the last male member of the Jagiellonian dynasty, her hand was sought by pretenders to the Polish throne to maintain the dynastic tradition.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Country and federation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch in real union, who was both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (green) with vassal states (light green) at their peak in 1619
The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1526.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (green) with vassal states (light green) at their peak in 1619
The Union of Lublin joined the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1569.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent in 1619.
Sigismund III Vasa was a religious zealot and an enlightened despot who presided over an era of prosperity and achievement. His reign also marked the Commonwealth's largest territorial expansion.
Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (parliment) in the early 17th century
John III Sobieski, victor over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.
Augustus II the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, wearing the Order of the White Eagle which he established in 1705.
Partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795.
Royal Castle in Warsaw was the formal residence of Polish kings after the capital was moved from Kraków in 1596
Crown Tribunal in Lublin was the highest court of appeals in the Kingdom of Poland
Palace of the Lithuanian Tribunal in Vilnius, which exclusively was the highest appeal court for the Lithuanian nobility in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Republic at the Zenith of Its Power, the Royal Election of 1573
The Constitution of 3 May adopted in 1791 was the first modern constitution in Europe.
Cereals exports in the years 1619–1799. Agriculture, once extremely profitable to the nobility, became much less so after the mid-17th century.
A historical re-enactor dressed in the Polish Winged Hussars armour
Multi-stage rocket from Artis Magnæ Artilleriæ pars prima by Kazimierz Siemienowicz
Krasiczyn Castle was built between 1580-1631 in the mannerist style.
Wilanów Palace, completed in 1696, exemplifies the opulence of royal and noble residences in the Commonwealth.
Nieborów Palace designed by Dutch architect Tylman van Gameren and built in 1697
Social strata in the Commonwealth's society in 1655. From left: Jew, barber surgeon, painter, butcher, musician, tailor, barmaid, pharmacist, shoemaker, goldsmith, merchant and Armenian
Population density of the Commonwealth per each voivodeship in 1650
Saints Peter and Paul Church in Kraków was built between 1597-1619 by the Jesuit order
Original act of the Warsaw Confederation in 1573, the first act of religious freedom in Europe
First anniversary anthem of the Constitution of 3 May 1791 (1792) in Hebrew, Polish, German and French
Topographical map of the Commonwealth in 1764
Statuta Regni Poloniae in ordinem alphabeti digesta (Statutes of the Polish Kingdom, Arranged in Alphabetical Order), 1563
Grand Marshal of the Crown Łukasz Opaliński portraited with the insignium of his power in the parliament - the Marshal's cane, 1640
Rococo iconostasis in the Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, designed by Johann Christoph Glaubitz, 1753–1756
18th century amber casket. Gdańsk patronized by the Polish court flourished as the center for amber working in the 17th century.<ref name="gordon_campbell">{{cite book |author=Gordon Campbell |title=The Grove encyclopedia of decorative arts |year=2006 |page=13 |publisher=Oxford University Press US |isbn=01-95189-48-5}}</ref>
Stanisław Poniatowski, Commander of the Royal Guards and Grand Treasurer. Painted by Angelika Kauffmann in 1786.
Equestrian portrait of King Sigismund III of Poland, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1624
Tapestry with the arms of Michał Kazimierz Pac, Jan Leyniers, Brussels, 1667–1669
Silver tankard by Józef Ceypler, Kraków, 1739–1745
Example of the merchant architecture: Konopnica's tenement house in Lublin, 1575
Hussars' armours, first half of the 17th century
De republica emendanda (1554) by Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, proposed a deep programme of reforms of the state, society and church.
Merkuriusz Polski Ordynaryjny, the first Polish newspaper published on the orders of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga in 1661
Title page of Treny (1580) by Jan Kochanowski, a series of elegies upon the death of his beloved daughter, is an acknowledged masterpiece.
A plate from Michał Boym's Flora Sinensis (1656), the first description of an ecosystem of the Far East published in Europe<ref>{{cite book |author1=Gwei-Djen Lu |author2=Joseph Needham |author3=Vivienne Lo |title=Celestial lancets: a history and rationale of acupuncture and moxa |year=2002 |page=284 |publisher=Routledge |isbn=07-00714-58-8}}</ref>
Taurus Poniatovii, constellation originated by Marcin Poczobutt in 1777 to honor the king Stanisław II Augustus<ref>{{cite web |author=Ian Ridpath |url=http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/poniatowski.htm |title=Taurus Poniatovii - Poniatowski's bull |work=www.ianridpath.com |access-date=2009-05-18}}</ref>
Branicki Palace in Białystok, designed by Tylman van Gameren, is sometimes referred to as the "Polish Versailles."
Pažaislis Monastery in Kaunas, Pietro Puttini, built 1674–1712
Zamość City Hall, designed by Bernardo Morando, is a unique example of Renaissance architecture in Europe, consistently built in accordance with the Italian theories of an "ideal town."<ref name="unesco.org">{{cite web |url=http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/564 |title=Old City of Zamość |publisher=UNESCO World Heritage Centre |date=2009-09-23 |access-date=2011-09-15}}</ref>
Plafond Allegory of Spring, Jerzy Siemiginowski, 1680s, Wilanów Palace
Łańcut Synagogue was established by Stanisław Lubomirski, 1733.<ref>After a fire had destroyed a wooden synagogue in 1733 Stanislaw Lubomirski decided to found a new bricked synagogue building. {{cite web |author=Polin Travel |url=http://www.jewish-guide.pl/sites/lancut |title=Lancut |work=www.jewish-guide.pl|access-date=2010-09-02}}</ref>
Saints Peter and Paul Church in Kraków was built between 1597-1619 by the Jesuit order

A fierce proponent of a single unified Commonwealth was Sigismund II Augustus, who was childless and ailing.

Wawel Castle

Castle residency located in central Kraków, Poland.

Night view of the Wawel complex, with the castle on the right and cathedral in the centre-left.
An older section of Wawel from the 14th century, now the Cathedral Museum.
The Wawel, medieval plan with the rebuilding work of 1502 to 1544 outlined in red. Key: 1: Residential tower; 2(0): well; 3: kitchen; 4: kitchen; 5: ambularory; 6: rotunda of Saints Feliksa and Audakta; 7: Chapel of St Mary of Egypt; 8: Lower gate; 9: Upper gate; 10: Wawel Cathedral; 11: Keep 12: Danish tower; 13: Hen's foot tower.
The Wawel complex, with the Cathedral on the left and Castle to the right. Over centuries, various styles of architecture have evolved side by side.
Smok Wawelski, Wawel's legendary dragon
Wawel Cathedral—the Silver Bell Tower with a coned roof and Sigismund Chapel with a small golden dome.
St. Leonard's Crypt below the cathedral is a relict of an older temple built in the 11th century.
Wawel Cathedral & its subsidiary chapels: 
1: Sigismund Tower;
2: Treasury
3: Czartoryski chapel vault, Czartoryski chapel & clock tower;
4: Hall;
5: Chapel of St Thomas the Apostle & Our Lady of the Snows;
6: Leipzig chapel;
7: Skotnicki Chapel;
8: Zebrzydowski Chapel;
9: Sacristy;
10: Gamrata Chapel;
11: St Mary's Chapel;
12: Chapel of Bishop Piotr Tomicki;
13: Chapel of Bishop Andrzej Zaluski;
14: Chapel of King John I Albert;
15: Zadzik Chapel;
16: Chapel of Bishop John Konarskiego;
17: Sigismund Chapel;
18: Vasa Chapel;
19: Silver Bell Tower & Chapel Szafraniec (in the basement).
20: Potocki Chapel;
21: Chapel of the Holy Cross;
22: Chapel of Queen Sophia;
23: Shrine of St Stanislaus;
24: The High Altar
The tiered arcades of Sigismund I the Old in the Italian Renaissance courtyard within Wawel Castle
One of the State Rooms with Jagiellonian tapestries.
A monumental coffered plafond in the Bird Room and fireplace of Sigismund III designed by Giovanni Trevano.
Sigismund's Chapel: Tomb of the chapel's founder, Sigismund I the Old, and his son, Sigismund II Augustus.
Anna Jagiellon's sarcophagus and tomb in the chapel.
Crown Treasury (center) and Sigismund Tower (right) where the Sigismund Bell hangs since 1521.
Wawel Hill, an 1847 oil painting by Jan Nepomucen Głowacki, the most outstanding landscape painter of Polish Romanticism under the foreign partitions.
Today, the Wawel is both a place of national pilgrimage and a popular tourist destination.
A view on the cathedral from the Vistula river in the 1930s
Replicas of the Polish Crown Jewels
A woodcut of Wawel Castle in 1617
The castle seen from the Dębnicki Bridge
Sigismund III Vasa Tower (1595) and defensive walls
St. Leonard's Crypt under the Wawel Castle
Wawel Royal Castle from the Vistulan Boulevards
Saint Felix and Adaukt Rotunda, 10/11th century
The 16th century Renaissance inner courtyard
Wawel Royal Castle Complex
Cathedral Museum
Parish house
Wawel Royal Castle
Queen Bona Sforza's gardens (1536)
Royal Gardens
View from the Archaeological Museum Gardens
Szczerbiec, the coronation sword of Polish monarchs
Child armour of Sigismund Augustus, 1533
Jupiter, Mercury and Virtue by Dosso Dossi, 1524, is one of the most valuable paintings in the collection.
Portrait of Władysław IV Vasa, 1624, Peter Paul Rubens
Christ Blessing the Children, 1537, Lucas Cranach the Elder
Madonna and Child with Angels, 1475, Sandro Botticelli
The Rape of the Sabine Women, 19th century, Eugène Delacroix
Adoration of the Child, ca. 1490, Domenico Ghirlandaio
Allegory of Painting, 17th century, Guercino
Detail of Lynx and Unicorn, tapestry woven in Brussels to Michiel Coxie's design, ca. 1550
Holy Family, 16th century, Bonifazio Veronese
The Annunciation, ca.1725, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
The Holy Family, 1540, Jan Sanders van Hemessen
By the Spring, 1899, Henryk Siemiradzki

Established in 1930, the museum encompasses ten curatorial departments responsible for collections of paintings, including an important collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, prints, sculpture, textiles, among them the Sigismund II Augustus tapestry collection, goldsmith's work, arms and armor, ceramics, Meissen porcelain, and period furniture.

Sigismund I the Old

King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until his death in 1548.

Portrait by Kulmbach, 1511-1518
Sigismund (far right) with Emperor Maximilian I and brother Vladislaus II in Vienna, 1515. Woodcut by Albrecht Dürer
Sigismund grants a noble status to the professors of the Jagiellonian University, 1535. Painting by Jan Matejko
Medal featuring the profile of Sigismund I, by Giovanni Maria Mosca
Chicken War in 1537 by Henryk Rodakowski. Seated Sigismund is accompanied by his wife Bona Sforza and royal court whilst being surrounded by an angry mob at Lwów High Castle
Polish-Lithuanian army during the Battle of Orsha in 1514, by Hans Krell
Sigismund's halfarmour, Polish Army Museum
Queen Bona Sforza was instrumental in establishing alliances for Poland. She was known for being a notorious conspirator.
Prussian Homage, by Jan Matejko, 1882. Albrecht Hohenzollern receives the Duchy of Prussia in fief from Poland's King Sigismund I the Old, 1525
A posthumous portrait by Lucas Cranach the Younger made in around 1553
Hanging of the Sigismund Bell in 1521, by Jan Matejko
Medal of Sigismund I the Old.
18th-century depiction by Marcello Bacciarelli
As one of the Magi by Joos van Cleve, {{circa|1520}}<ref>{{cite web|author=Marcin Latka|title=Commissions from the territories of today's Poland in the workshop of Joos van Cleve|url=https://artinpoland.weebly.com/en/commissions-from-the-territories-of-todays-poland-in-the-workshop-of-joos-van-cleve|work=artinpoland.weebly.com|access-date=18 January 2016}}</ref>
Portrait made by Andreas Jungholz, 1546
Portrait of Sigismund I in an advanced age by Anonymous Painter, 1550
Sigismund I the Old's tomb by Bartolommeo Berrecci, Sigismund's Chapel, Wawel Cathedral
Sigismund I the Old by Jan Matejko, c. 1880

He was nicknamed "the Old" in later historiography to distinguish him from his son and successor, Sigismund II Augustus.

Wawel Cathedral

Roman Catholic cathedral situated on Wawel Hill in Kraków, Poland.

Wawel Cathedral on Wawel Hill: Sigismund's Chapel (right, with a gold dome) and Vasa Dynasty chapel (to the left)
Schematic of Wawel Hill showing the location of the Wawel Cathedral
Burial chambers beneath Wawel Cathedral: A-I Royal Crypts (B St. Leonard's Crypt), J Crypt of National Poets, K Crypt of the Archbishops.
The Sigismund's Tower, which contains the Sigismund's Bell
The Cathedral's Treasury
Stained-glass window in the Holy Trinity Chapel
The sarcophagus of Jadwiga of Poland
Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument

A square-based chapel with a golden dome, it houses the tombs of its founder and those of his children, King Sigismund II Augustus and Anna Jagiellon (Jagiellonka).