"Royal Series"  by Ewa Olszewska-Borys


The “Royal Series” designed by Ewa Olszewska-Borys  was emitted in 1985-2003  upon the initiative of the Koszalin Branch of the Polish Numismatic Society (former- Polish Archeological and Numismatic Society). The decision of the issue of the medals was the idea of Marian Okulicz, the president of the Koszalin Branch. The series is composed of 43 medals (70 mm), struck in tombac, silver-plated and patina versions, and in finest silver. The number of some of the medals from the series exceeded 3000 copies and they are still sought by collectors.

 The obverses of the medals depicting  the royal portraits were based on the “Gallery of Kings and Dukes” drawn by Jan Matejko, the great Polish nineteenth-century historical painter. These portraits appear in an illusive, spatial relief, typical for the author. An equally spatial treatment, symptomatic for sculpture, was applied in the case of architecture, visible on the reverses, usually sacral and historically associated with a given ruler or originating from the time of his reign. In the case of Ewa Olszewska-Borys we are dealing with an attempted “direct transposition”, i.e., a transference of the Matejko vision into the world of spatial forms in such a manner so as not to lose the value of the work, its expression, or the psychological veracity of the portraits. The artist makes full use of her workshop and the opportunities provided by minting techniques, including a patina, which rubbed in, remains in the indentations. In this way, the relief of the medal, enhanced with  qualities characteristic for painting, becomes closer to the original.

    Ewa Olszewska-Borys spent eighteen years working on a royal portrait gallery, executing successively two or three medals annually. The series is artistically cohesive and authentic owing to the fact that was created in a natural manner, parallel to the other works of the author, and in accordance with her own sculpture vision, stemming from a perception of space, included into the arrangement of forms and endowed with a concrete, material shape.

     The iconographic material at the disposal of the artist constituted a pretext for new creative guests. In the case too, the subject matter, albeit suggested from the outside, was inspiring for two reasons: it concerned a portrait, which for long has remained within the sphere of the author’s  interest, as well as architecture, fascinating not only due to the solid itself but also owing to its relations with surrounding space. Sculpting the magnificent figures of historical rulers, brought to life by the talent of Master Matejko, and portrayed on medals jewels of the Polish Romanesque, Gothic or Renaissance style  was an unusual adventure for Ewa Olszewska-Borys, and one which enriched her creative workshop.

 The list of the medals from the  “Royal Series”

Obverse  ( 01)                               Reverse ( 02)

 1   Mieszko I                                             Dobrawa

 2.  Boleslaw I Chrobry                              The coronation sword

 3.  Mieszko II                                            Rycheza

 4.  Kazimierz I Odnowiciel                         The abbey of the Benedictine in Tyniec

 5.  Boleslaw II Smialy                                The rotund of St. Nicholas in Cieszyn

 6 . Wladyslaw I Herman                            The crypt of St.Leonard in Wawel- Cracow 

 7.  Boleslaw III Krzywousty                      The church of St. Idzi in Inowlodz

 8.  Wladyslaw II Wygnaniec                      The church of St. Andreas in Cracow

 9.  Boleslaw IV Kedzierzawy                     The cathedral church in Leczyca

10. Mieszko III Stary                                 The collegiate church of St. Peter in Kruszwica

11. Kazimierz II Sprawiedliwy                    The church of St. Prokop in Strzelin

12. Leszek Bialy                                         The abbey of the Cistercian order in Sulejow

13. Wladyslaw Laskonogi                           The church of St. Nicholas in Wysocice

14. Henryk I Brodaty                                 The church of the Cistercian convent in Trzebnica

15. Konrad I Mazowiecki                           The church in Skalbmierz

16. Boleslaw V Wstydliwy                          The church of the Franciscan order in Cracow

17. Leszek Czarny                                      The “Florian Gate” in Cracow

18. Przemysl II                                           The cathedral church in Gniezno

19. Waclaw II                                            The church of the St. Cross in Wroclaw

20. Wladyslaw I Lokietek                         The cathedral church in Wawel in Cracow

21. Kazimierz III Wielki                            The collegiate church in Wislica

22. Ludwik Wegierski                                The church of the Corpus Christi in Cracow

23. Jadwiga                                                The church of the Shod Carmelites in Cracow

24. Wladyslaw II Jagiello                          The post-Visitants church in Lublin

25. Wladyslaw III Warnenczyk                 The parish church in Piotrawina

26. Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk                      The St. Mary church in Gdansk

27. Jan Olbracht                                         The church of St. Johns in Torun

28. Aleksander                                           The church of St. Anna in Vilno

29. Zygmunt I Stary                                    The „Hens Foot” of the Wawel castle in Cracow

30. Zygmunt II August                                The front door of the castle in Niepolomice

31. Henryk Walezy                                     The church of the Bernardine order in Bydgoszcz

32. Anna Jagiellonka                                   The part of the “Zygmunt Chapel” in Wawel

33. Stefan Batory                                       The parish church called“Vitolds Church” in Grodno

34. Zygmunt III Waza                                 The church of St.Mary of Mercy in Warsaw                

35. Wladyslaw IV                                      The cathedral church in Lvov

36. Jan Kazimierz                                       The Cameldolite order on the Wigry Lake

37. Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki              The church in Wisniowiec

38. Jan III Sobieski                                    The church of the Capuchins in Warsaw

39. August II Mocny                                  The church of the Paulinian order in Warsaw

40. Stanislaw Leszczynski                           The front of the Dominican monastery in Tarnobrzeg

41. August III                                              The church of the Visitants convent in Warsaw

42. Stanislaw August Poniatowski               The chapel of the Holy Trinity in Wolczyn

43. Jan Matejko (painter)                           Marian Okulicz and the author of the series


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Mieszko I
Boleslaw I Chobry
Mieszko II
Kazimierz I Odnowiciel
Boleslaw II Smialy
Wladyslaw I Herman
Boleslaw III Krzywousty
Wladyslaw II Wygnaniec
Boleslaw IV Kedzierzawy
Mieszko III Stary
Kazimierz II Sprawiedliwy
Leszek Bialy
Wladyslaw Laskonogi
Henryk I Brodaty
Konrad I Mazowiecki
Boleslaw V Wstydliwy
Leszek Czarny
Przemysl II
Waclaw II
Wladyslaw I Lokietek
Kazimierz III Wielki
Ludwik Wegierski
Wladyslaw II Jagiello
Wladyslaw III Warnenczyk
Kazimierz Jagiellonzyk
Jan Olbracht
Zygmunt I Stary
Zygmunt II August
Henryk Walezy
Anna Jagiellonka
Stefan Batory
Zygmunt III Waza
Wladyslaw IV
Jan Kazimierz
Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki
Jan III Sobieski
August II Mocny
Stanislaw Leszcynski
August III
Stanislaw August Poniatowski
Jan Matejko (painter)
Marian Okulicz and the author of the series