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Augustus II 'The Strong' (1670–1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony

Photo credit: The Trustees of the British Museum

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Augustus ('The Strong') acquired his name through his great physical strength. He was also noted for the number of his illegitimate children – said by some to be around 365. Born in Dresden, Saxony, in 1694 he became Elector of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I. On converting to Roman Catholicism he was on two occasions elected to the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Confederacy as Augustus II and participated in a series of wars which engulfed the area. He failed in his aim to make the Polish throne hereditary but his body is buried in Krakow and his heart in Dresden. This portrait is very similar to one in the Polish National Museum, Poznan, executed around 1718 by the French artist Louis de Silvestre (1675–1760) who was Court painter to Augustus II.

British Museum

London

Title

Augustus II 'The Strong' (1670–1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 127.6 x W 103.2 cm

Accession number

Painting.2

Acquisition method

gift from Reverend Andrew Planta, 1765

Work type

Painting

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