Steps Return to Poland

Palatial Return

Palatial Return

Germany has returned one of Poland’s most valuable paintings. The Palace Stairs palace” will be the only painting of Francesco Guardi in Poland. It was one of the most precious paintings before the war. The painting was stolen during the occupation and now, after over 70 years, this precious work of art returned to Poland, to the National Museum in Warsaw. Although the dimension of the painting is not so big, it is great and extremely valuable. An 18th century painting ‘Palace stairs’ by Venetian artist Francesco Guardi was one of the most precious paintings in Poland during World War II. The small oil painting depicts the stairs of Venice’s Doge Palace. There are the bearers walking up the stairs and there are also noblemen standing in the shadow of the palace arcades. Grażyna Bastek from the National Museum in Warsaw says that the unique composition of the painting shows the greatness of this work. Despite of its small size (a little bigger than A4 sheet), the image gives the impression of grandeur. There is also a play of light: the shadow in the foreground perfectly transforms into a lightened courtyard. The painting was bought by the National Museum in Warsaw in 1925 from an art collector Leon Kranc. The National Museum paid for the painting 8,5 thousand zlotys. On Monday 31 March, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier handed back the painting to his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski. The ceremony took place in Berlin. Recently ‘Palace stairs’ was at the National Art Gallery in Stuttgart.

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