The Court Banner was created at the wedding and coronation of Sigismund II Augustus and his third wife, Catherine of Austria, which took place on 30th July 1553 in Kraków.
It was made in Kraków – the unknown painter showed a cartouche with the emblems of the Crown and Lithuania, as well as the Habsburg coat of arms - the insignia, under the crown, is surrounded by the 22 coats of arms of the boroughs of the Kingdom of Poland. The heraldic message symbolised the Commonwealth’s political unity from Kraków to Vilnius.
It was used during state occasions, swearing homage or royal funerals, and it was kept in the Crown Treasury. It avoided destruction during the looting of the Treasury by the Prussians after Poland’s Third Partition, when the royal regalia disappeared and made their way to the collection of Princess Izabella Czartoryska in Puławy. Looted by the Russians in 1848, it was taken to the Hermitage where, on the basis of the Treaty of Riga in 1921, it was returned to Wawel in 1928. It also spent the Second World War years in Wawel, hidden here in various places by museum employees. It is one of the few items once stored in the Crown Treasury which have survived until the present day.
silk, tempera, gold and silver
229 x 352 cm