(b Lwów [now L’viv, Ukraine], Nov 20, 1677; d Lunéville, Feb 23, 1766). Polish ruler, painter and patron, active in France. The son of an aristocratic family, he was appointed voivode (governor) of Poznań in 1699. In 1704 he was elected king of Poland under pressure from the Swedish forces of Charles XII (reg 1697–1718), but subsequently went into exile, travelling for several years between Moldavia, Sweden, Germany and Alsace. Following the unexpected marriage of his daughter Maria Leszczyńska to Louis XV, in 1725 he took up residence in the château of Chambord. In 1733 he was again elected king of Poland, but after Russian intervention he abdicated in 1736 in exchange for the Duchy of Lorraine and Bar.
His prolonged rule in Lorraine was largely titular, but he nonetheless introduced a broad economic, social and cultural programme that earned him the nickname of ‘philosophe bienfaisant’. He founded schools and hospitals, moved the university from Pont-à-Mousson to the capital, Nancy, established the first public library in the Duchy and the Académie de Stanislas, and also initiated a number of extensive architectural projects in Nancy. His court in Lunéville was visited by prominent French writers and intellectuals. He was a lover of music and the arts, and his own paintings (mainly pastels) reflect Italianizing Baroque trends....
Reference Entry. 523 words.
Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; 18th-Century Art
Full text: subscription required