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    Unraveling the Mystery: The Dual-Faced Canon and Cultural Restitution Efforts

    Discover the intriguing tale of Adam Kazimierz Oporowicz, depicted in a dual-faced portrait, and learn about the restoration of the enigmatic artwork and the ongoing mission to reclaim Poland’s heritage.

    Painted on a copper plate, a round epitaphic portrait depicts Adam Kazimierz Oporowicz – who died in 1674 as an apostolic protonotary. The local legend was associated with the portrait, telling of a canon with two faces. According to numerous written accounts, the portrait hanging in the collegiate church in Łowicz depicted a man with two faces – possessing double eyes, noses, and mouths.

    The legend proclaimed that this was how Adam Kazimierz Oporowicz appeared, and due to his extraordinary appearance, he conducted services wearing a hood, facing the altar in profile. The legend was reinforced by the fact that as early as the 19th century, the canon’s grave in the collegiate church was empty.

    The recovery of the stolen painting allowed for the solving of the mystery of the canon Oporowicz’s double face. The portraitist first painted the man’s face facing right, then repainted the portrait, turning the face the other way. After some time, a second pair of eyes, nose, and mouth emerged from beneath the top layer of paint. Currently, the double face of the canon is no longer visible because the painting has undergone conservation.

    Restitution efforts by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

    The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage continuously seeks works of art lost from Polish public, private, and ecclesiastical collections during World War II, as well as those stolen in post-war and contemporary times.

    The list of Polish losses is very long and constantly updated. Thanks to the almost detective-like work of our specialists, over 700 valuable objects have been recovered. Among the recovered cultural assets are paintings, sculptures, works of artistic craftsmanship, manuscripts, archaeological objects, an ethnographic collection, and a zoological collection.

    Currently, the Ministry of Culture is conducting 150 restitution proceedings in 15 countries around the world.

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