Author: Wöbe Martinus Franciscus
Title: Icones familiae ducalis Radivilianae ex originalibus in Gazophylacio Ordinationis ab antiquo servatis picturis desumptae. Inscriptionibus historico-genealogicis ex documentis authenticis compendiose illustratae, anno 1346 ad 1758. Deductae.
Title in English: Wöbe Martinus Franciscus / Images of the Family of Dukes Radvila, Selected from Original Paintings Long Kept in the Treasury of the Ordynacja. Briefly Illustrated by Historical Genealogical Excerpts from Authentic Documents, Derived from 1346 to 1758.
Published: Nesvisii in typographia privilegiata ducali Radiviliana. Collegii Societatis Jesu, 1758.
Binding: contemporary leather binding.
Graphic art portrait album “Icones familiae ducalis Radivilianae“, published in folio in 1758 in the Radvila family printing house in Nesvyžius. A unique publication, depicting the Radvila family in its entirety, from the legendary ancestor Vaišunda (1346) to Karolis Stanislovas Radvila (1758) in 165 brass plates. The album is a graphic replication of the Radvila portrait collection in the portrait gallery of Nesvyžius. Judging from the engraving technique, only 70 % of the images are original, while others were made from reconstructed portraits. The author of the inscriptions (texts commenting on each depicted person’s name, title, and merits, as well as date of birth and death) and the laudatory dedication to the purchaser Mykolas Kazimieras Radvila Žuvelė, was the court archivist Martynas Pranciškus Vobė (Marcin Franciszek Wöbe). Only 50 copies of the book were published. Very few copies of the original first edition remain up to this day (Belarusian scholars have registered seven), which makes them a genuine bibliographic rarity. The sole copy of the Radvila portrait album, preserved in the National Library of Lithuania, is valuable not only for its iconographic and bibliographic significance, but also for its historical importance.
Reference: Misiūnienė, Jadvyga. Kunigaikščių Radvilų giminės portretų albumas. - Tarp knygų. 2010, Nr. 10.
Kristupas Radvila Našlaitėlis, nobleman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, began a collection of valuables, weapons, started a library and a portrait gallery, which included the portraits of both his ancestors and living family members. Later the gallery was expanded when portraits from collections owned by other family members reached the Radvilas of Nesvyžius. The gallery was also expanded during the period of Mikalojus Kazimieras Radvila Žuvelė. The creation of a monumental family portrait album is considered to be one of his great achievements. The brass plates for the album were created by Hiršas Leibovičius (1700 - 1770), one of the most famous artists of the mid.18th century in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, who was helped by his father Leiba Zuskelovičius and other, unknown artists. The album “Icones familiae ducalis Radivilianae” was published in Nesvyžius in 1758. It is comprised by 165 brass plate copies of the portraits preserved in the portrait gallery of Nesvyžius. Engraved in ovals, the portraits reconstruct the person’s appearance and their luxurious clothing. The representative appearance highlights the dignity of the person.
Reference: Gasiūnas, Vladas. XIX a. Lietuvos grafika. Vilnius: Mokslo ir encklopedijų leidybos institutas, 2007, p. 11.; Bairašauskaitė, Tamara. Nesenstantis praeities paminklas. Iš: Kotlubajus, Edvardas. Radvilos: Nesvyžiaus giminės portretai / M. Starkmano medžio raižiniai. Vilnius: Mintis, 1995, p. 8.