Learn about the portraits and works of Vincent Pol – the patron saint of the university

Few people know that a small exhibition dedicated to Vincent Pol – the patron of the University – has been arranged in the space of the new library of our Academy.

This outstanding Polish man was born on 20 April 1807 in a tenement house in the Old Town in Lublin, and died on 2 December 1872 in Krakow. He went down in the history of Polish literature and science as a poet of the Romantic era, a soldier of the November Uprising in Lithuania – awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari – a pioneer of sightseeing, researcher of the Polish lands, founder and first professor of the Department of Geography at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (1849-1853).
The 19th- and 20th-century editions of the poet’s and geographer’s works collected at the exhibition were presented by PhD Grażyna Połuszejko, assistant professor at the university, in two display cabinets specially made for this purpose.

Particularly valuable among these volumes are eight volumes, out of ten, of Vincent Pol’s Works in verse and prose. First collective edition revised and rearranged by the author himself, published in Lviv in 1875-1878, purchased by the Academy in 2023 and subsequently subjected to conservation treatment.These items received a beautiful embossed binding with a gilded image of the poet, according to a photograph by Avit Szubert, on the cover of each volume,

says PhD Grazyna Poluszejko.

The display case containing the poetic works of the Academy’s patron featured, among other things, an expanded edition of Pol’s poetry volume “Pieśń Janusza”, with which the poet made his debut in 1835 (Paris). Next to it, there were two more volumes with Song in the title: Pieśń o ziemi naszej [Song of our land], called a heartfelt geography of the Polish lands, whose edition, truncated by tsarist censorship, was published in Warsaw in 1859 under the title Pieśń o ziemi. This rare copy also enriched the library Poliana of the University in 2023. Also on display is the first edition of Song of Our Home (Lviv 1866), a volume dedicated to Polish Mothers, in which the author depicted the spirit of the nation and the Polish family, its customs and traditions.

– We are still looking for two volumes (II and III) of the Viennese edition of V. Pol’s Poetry, published by the author in 1857, for the collection. In the showcase you can see the first volume of this edition entitled Memoirs of JM. Mr. Benedykt Winnicki. In three parts – explains the author of the presentation.

In a display case dedicated to scientific achievements in geography and ethnography – relating not only to Polish lands – and resulting from Pol’s research journeys, conducted with particular intensity between 1839 and 1844, geographical writings are presented in volumes. Notable among these is the Geography of the Holy Land in two volumes: Geography of the Holy Land and Ethnography of the Holy Land, with the accompanying chart ‘The genealogy of the inhabitants of the Holy Land and Arabia from Noah‘. For this position, Pol’s deep religiosity and his close ties with the Church and the clergy, the Holy Father Pius IX awarded the poet the Knight’s Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great in 1864. A complete list of Vincent Pol’s decorations and membership of scientific societies, compiled in 1902 by his son, Vincent Hugo Pol, is also included in this display case.

The researcher included his prose, exhaustive descriptions of the journeys he made in two volumes entitled Images from Life and Nature (Krakow 1869 and 1870), which were largely diary-like in character. The first of these, presented in the showcase, is illustrated with a woodcut of the island of Rügen, on which Pol travelled in 1847.

In turn, the fruit of his travels in the Tatra Mountains is the ‘Charter of the Tatra Mountains’ – found in 2006 in the Jagiellonian Library collection – made by Pol the professor in 1850 for teaching purposes. Its photographic reproduction can also be seen in the display case.

Among the books there are images of the poet; a photograph of his portrait from 1841 and medals with his image by Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz (1980) and Piotr Gorol from 2007 issued by the Vincent Pol University. In a unique way, Pol’s Tableau was honoured among eminent Polish writers and scholars: Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński, Eliza Orzeszkowa and Stanisław Staszic.

The contents of the showcase are complemented by an autograph print of V. Pol’s poem From the Wilderness, his business card and a correspondent’s card with an image of the author of Songs of Our Land.

Above the display cases, four framed photographic copies of oil portraits of Vincent Pol are presented.

The first one, from the left, was painted in 1841 by a Lviv painter, Marcin Jabłoński, and its original (in the MWL deposit) is kept in the Museum – Manor House of Wincenty Pol in Lublin (13 Kalinowszczyzna Street). The second one is a copy of a watercolour portrait from 1849 (copy owned by Vincent Pol University), made in Vienna by Friedrich Lieder junior, during Pol’s efforts to obtain the Chair of Geography at the Jagiellonian University. Another, by Franciszek K. J. Daniszewski, was painted in 1888 in Krosno. The last, very beautiful image was painted in 1864 by Andrzej Grabowski, a well-known portraitist from Lviv, commissioned by Katarzyna Countess Potocka and intended for the library of the palace in Krzeszowice (oil copy owned by VPU).

We encourage all lovers of literature and science to visit our library and discover the extraordinary legacy of Vincent Pol.

Skip to content