EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
As you note, Professor Zygulski wrote, "Rembrandts 'Lisowczyk: A Study of Costume and Weapons" which appeared in the "Bulletin du Musee National de Varsovie", VI, 1965, #2,3, p.43-67, as is footnoted in the outstanding article he wrote ; "The Winged Hussars of Poland" (Arms and Armor Annual, ed. Robert Held, 1973, pp.90-103).
In "Polish Armies:1569-1696" (1) by Richard Brzezinski, Osprey, 1987, it is noted on p.5 that Rembrandts famed "Polish Rider" has often been 'mislabeled' as an officer of 'Lisowski cossacks', noting that Chroscicki (Ars Auro Prior, Warsaw, 1981) has finally identified it as a portrait of a Lithuanian nobleman, Martin Alexander Oginski. He had the portrait painted in 1655 while studying in the Netherlands.
While this sounds like the final word on the actual identity of the subject, there is still the usual debate and speculation, but the painting is most definitely Rembrandts work.
In "Rembrandts Eyes" (Simon Schama, N.Y. 1999) notes on p.599;
"...only a gentleman of the horse would have known how to sit on the mount, Polish style, not erect but leaning forward, the right hand curled backward to grasp the head of the 'buzdygan', the battle mace, left hand on the reins".
In looking again at the painting I see that the larger sword under the riders right leg is not an estoc but a large sabre (pallasche?),and the hilt of the light sabre is visible worn on his left side. In some illustrations of hussars they are seen with the estoc under the left leg.The Islamic forces had a form of estoc or straight rapier termed 'mec', but I am not clear on if they were saddle mounted like the Eastern European estocs or carried differently. In the Sudan, in an illustration which I will have to relocate, a rider on horseback is seen wearing an Ottoman hilt sabre, and under his left leg is mounted a kaskara in the same manner as the estocs of Eastern Europe.
Actually I recognized Lebedynsky's work immediately and simply went to the volume I had seen them in. This was one of the reasons I mentioned properly crediting the illustrations. In a discussion with him a number of years ago I asked about using one of his illustrations. He indicated he had no problem with using his illustration (referring of course to in an article) as long as it was properly credited. While this is an informal discussion forum, it is still subject to copyright legality and more than anything a matter of courtesy to credit published material. As I noted also, it is helpful to readers to have references for furthering thier own research, which is why I usually provide them with comments or notes.
You've done excellent work in this presentation! and I think brought forth an outstanding topic which has important influence on the study of the development of many ethnographic swords, not just regimental military forms.
Please keep up the good work!!!!
All best regards,