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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Isabela Czartoryska

b. 1746, Warsaw; d. 1835, Wysock, Poland

The correct spelling of this name is IZABELA CZARTORYSKA.

The Polish princess Izabela Czartoryska used her position to champion educational and cultural endeavors. During the 1780s, at their family palace in Pulawy, she and her husband created an intellectual and political center that rivaled the king’s court in its patronage of architecture and literature. In 1795, Poland was annexed by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Deeply disturbed by her country’s loss of independence, Izabela embarked on her greatest endeavor, the preservation of Poland’s heritage, transforming Pulawy into a national shrine. She commissioned the Neoclassical architect Chrystian Aigner to create a park—the Garden of Allusions—with various structures, including the Temple of the Sybil, where she housed her collection of Polish antiquities. The Temple, Poland’s first museum, opened to the public in 1801. Several years later, she added the Gothic House, a museum of European history.