My Bolesław the Brave, Mieszko I Interpretations

Here is my interpretation of the first true Polish king who unified the land and expanded it from what he inherited from his father, Mieszko I; his father was the first ruler of a chunk of Poland to Christianize his people, but Bolesław is considered the first true king as he unified it.

I read his story originally in a book called The Essential Guide to Being Polish by Anna Spysz as I was trying to rediscover my roots. There was a picture of both father and son, and I drew various interpretations from thta image alone of them in different settings, which I added to the images I created.

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Googling Bolesław the Brave, I found this image, which is similar to what I based my work off of as Anna Spysz’s book had a similar image, but flatter on paper and more detailed with legs also being fully depicted.

Poznan one of the oldest and largest Polish cities,Western Poland, st Peter and Paul basilica, scupltures of kings Mieszko I (Lestko I) and Boleslaw Chrobry (Boleslaw the Brave) Greater Poland Province, 2008

As you see, there is some smilarity, but some difference as well. I’ve never drawn a throan before so I decided to add it snd try to draw it in the image I ended up creating. I then started adding the background, such as the wall and doorway, but it looked empty so I added details and objects in.

For instance, there are two paintings in the back wall, one of which is the Polish eagle, and the other a castle, most likely the one Bolesław is reisding in my work. Here is some of my Mieszko I pieces, which I also based off thst image from Anna Spysz’s book.

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Here, Mieszko orays for the young man being ounished by a corrupt system after finding god.

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Anyway, that is it for now, but if you want a longer historical lesson on these two important figures in the founding of the Polish nation and the Piast Dynasty read on as I am wuoting a short, albeit interesting, take on this historical time period from here:

Boleslaw ChrobryAlthough this sounds like an introduction to a fairytale, it’s the more or less how the begining of Poland looked like. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you the story of the Boleslaw I Chrobry (meaning Bolesław I the Valiant or the Brave) and how the Kingdom of Poland was born.

The history begins in year 992, when after the death of his father Mieszko I, Boleslaw I Chrobry took the rule over Poland as its Duke. He turned Poland into a country that was not only comparable to older western monarchies, but also elevated it into the European elite. He was a remarkable politician and general, leading many military campaigns and gaining allies both among neighbour countries’ rulers and the Roman Catholic Church. Although he had a lot of alliances, it was only in 1000 when his way towards the real throne began, and only in 1025 he was officially made a King.

What happened in 1000? It’s called the Congress of Gniezno. The city was the Poland’s capital that time, and during the congress the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to which Poland was subordinate at that time, Otto III raised Gniezno to the rank of an archbishopric (which gave it a lot more meaning in the world political scene), and three new dioceses subordinate to Gniezno were created. Because of what he saw in Gniezno, and how powerful Poland appeared to be, and because the Emperor needed a strong ally, he placed his Imperial crown on Bolesław’s brow and invested him with the title frater et cooperator Imperii (“Brother and Partner of the Empire”). Although it didn’t give Bolesław much power, it was the begining of his way towards the Crown of Poland.

Soon enough after the Congress, though, Otto III died and the amicable relations between the two countries ended quickly. Bolesław took the opportunity and conquered some German regions, one of which after the chaos in Germay settled down, was allowed for him to keep as a fief.

The new land wasn’t the only benefit the Duke managed to snatch in the short period of problems that struck the Holy Roman Empire of Germany. In 1025, just after the new German Emperor Henry II died, Bolesław II Chrobry crowned himself a king and therefore raised Poland to the rank of a Kindgom. Sadly, he soon died himself most likely due to an illness, and the throne was handed down to his son, Mieszko II Lambert. Luckily, he was allowed by the Pope to keep the crown and therefore the Poland was kept a Kigdom.

The history of Poland as a mighty, sovereign country begins in year 1000, in Gniezno, and in Gniezno it is strenghtened on 18th April 1025, when the official, Polish crown finally rests on Bolesław’s brow. Is Poland still as strong as back then? It’s up to you do decide. One it for sure – that the history that happened in Gniezno, never died, and till this day shines bright to remind us how amazing this country can be.

With the short history lesson over, hope you enjoyed my take on it artistically.

 

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