Unknown artist

Johann Heinrich Müntz, soldier, artist, traveller, architect, was a true cosmopolitan—‘an Enlightenment man’. The research he conducted in Italy on antique vases was, in fact, planned as an almost hermeneutic attempt to explore the customs and morality of the antiquity, an ambitions reconstruction that starts from a mere outline. The account of the journey made almost 30 years later around the eastern parts of Poland—mainly on the territory of today’s Ukraine—constitutes the most comprehensive documentation of Polish lands of the time. The album Podróże malownicze (‘Picturesque journeys’) combines ethnographic, touristic and geological approach, supplemented by impressions of the artist, noted on the spot. Müntz’s journey and notes can be nowadays treated as a kind of colonial quest: a detailed inventory of resources, economic and demographic borderland estates of the contracting party—prince Stanisław Poniatowski, nephew of the King Stanisław August.

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