Poland Arts and Architecture
From antiquity to the 16th century
According to Top-medical-schools, the most ancient artistic testimonies date back to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic times (female figurines, bone objects with engravings). Agglomerations with wooden houses were discovered from the Bronze Age. Metal objects come from Scythia and the Celts who settled in the Bohemian lands. In the first centuries AD Roman products were also imported; towards the 5th century. the barbarian invasions brought a notable increase in works of art and construction works. Fortified villages were built and the traces of the buildings show a remarkable wooden technique. There is also a local production of silverware and goldsmiths (filigree), which differs from those of other barbarian peoples.
From 966, with the official conversion of the country to Christianity, stone churches began to rise: the pre-Romanesque phase lasted until 1040; basilica-type cathedrals were built (remains in Poznań, Krakow), churches with a central plan (round chapel and the remains of a palace in Przemyśl). The Romanesque period lasts until the middle of the 13th century. Artistic influences came from Saxony, the Rhineland and the Meuse, from Burgundy, from Italy. The Romanesque stopped on the Vistula-San line, the easternmost border reached by this style: churches of Czerwińsk, Łęczyca, Opatów, Płock, Strzelno; the most significant is the second cathedral of Krakow (1090-1142), of which the beautiful crypt of St. Leonard is preserved. Among the notable Cistercian constructions of the 13th century, which introduced the ribbed vault in Poland, are the abbeys of Sulejów and Mogila. The church of St. James in Sandomierz is the oldest example of Lombard construction and decoration in Poland. Between the 14th and the 16th century. the Gothic style developed, of French influence in the S and Krakow, German in the N; it also influenced Greek rite churches, usually in the Byzantine style, and rustic wooden churches, dating back to ancient Slavic traditions.
Among the monuments of Romanesque sculpture are the bronze doors of the cathedral of Gniezno (1129-37), coming from Magdeburg ; Gothic (14th-15th century) are the tombs of the Piasti dynasty in Breslau, Krakow etc. In the 14th century. wood carving flourished; from 1477 to 1496 V. Stoss worked in Krakow, which became an important artistic center. The oldest monuments of painting are illuminated manuscripts from the 11th century. (code called Pułtusk and two evangelaries from Gniezno); in the 15th century. The Krakow school stood out in this field, sensitive to German and Flemish influences as well as Bohemians. Under the Italian influence, mural painting developed in the 14th century. In the castle of Lublin (1415) and in the Armenian cathedral of Lviv there are works by Byzantine painters who, however, did not influence the development of Polish art, which has always remained Western.
The 16th-19th centuries
At the beginning of the 16th century. Poland was one of the first countries to welcome the Italian Renaissance and its artists (Royal Palace of Krakow, by Franciscus Italus, 1510-16, and B. Berecci, 1522-37; Bishop’s Palace in Krakow by GM Mosca called il Padovano etc. .). Monuments of the Polish Renaissance are the municipal buildings of Tarnów, Sandomierz, Pabianice etc. In the 16th century. miniature still flourished in Krakow, while Hans Süss von Kulmbach painted large triptychs for the churches of the city; numerous Flemish and Italian sculptors (G. Cini, GM Mosca, G. Canavesi, the carver GI Caraglio, S. Gucci, B. Ridolfi).
The Italian influence also characterized the Baroque production: numerous were the Italian architects active in Leopoli (P. Romano, Greek church); in Krakow (G. Bernardone, A. Spezza), with local followers (B. Wąsowski, G. Zaor, A. Przybylski); the last monument of the Italian Baroque is the church of S. Anna in Krakow (F. Solari). Also noteworthy is the activity of German and Flemish architects (chapels of St. Casimir in Vilnius, by Dankerts de Ry, 1656). The architecture of the late Baroque (1700-40) is revealed under the influence of Dresden, thanks to the work of architects such as MD Pöppelmann, G. Chiaveri etc. Also active are Italian architects such as G. Bellotto, Giuseppe Fontana and the Polish K. Bażanka, educated in Rome. Influenced by F. Borromini is Poland Ferrari from Rome. France influenced the interior architecture (boiséries by J.-A. Meissonier for the Bieliński palaces in Warsaw and Czartorysky in Pułavy). The Rococo (1740-63) counts the architects G. Fontana, son of Giuseppe, JZ Deybel and the Roman F. Placidi. Important is the Rococo architecture of Lviv (B. Merettini, Jan de Witte), of Vilnius (JK Glaubitz and A. Osikiewicz). In the Baroque period it is worth mentioning the work of C. Tencalla and C. Molli (column of King Sigismund in Warsaw, 1644), by the Germans H. Horst and J. Pfister, while Polish decorators especially worked in the Rococo period. In the sec. 17 ° and 18 ° numerous foreign painters were active in Poland, including the Italians GB Lampi and B. Bellotto, but there was no lack of Poles, especially portrait painters, linked in part to the Italian schools, in part to the French ones (T. Konicz, G. Peszka etc.).
In the period of the ‘Polish Enlightenment’ (reign of Stanislao Augusto Poniatowski, 1764-95), contacts emerged with French neoclassical trends (Polish neoclassicism or Stanislaus Augustus style). Among the neoclassical architects, noteworthy W. Gucewicz (cathedral of Vilnius), J. Kubicki (palace of the Belvedere in Warsaw), and the Italians A. Corazzi (theater of Warsaw), M. Bacciarelli, D. Merlini. E. Szreger and SB Zug worked mainly for the aristocracy and the wealthy bourgeoisie, elaborating the type of the Warsaw bourgeois dwelling and the modern suburban villa. In the sec. 19 ° and 20 ° the historical styles were then practiced. In 19th century sculpture, a French-style realism followed a neoclassicism inspired by B. Thorvaldsen and A. Canova (M. Guyski). From the beginning of the 19th century, painting tended to patriotic content (M. Stachowicz, A. Orłowski, Poland Michałowski, J. Matejko) and placed the accent on the folkloric motif, while not excluding the influence of art Western Europe. Later the Polish Impressionists will also research national themes.
The 20th-21st centuries
After the tremendous destruction of the Second World War, there were extensive urban projects, both of restoration (historic centers of Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk) and of the creation of new residential complexes, buildings, industrial areas, sometimes questionable (such as the skyscraper of the Palace of Culture and Sciences, in Warsaw), more often very appreciable, such as the numerous works by M. Nowicki, J. Nowicki, H. Skióniewska, T. Zieliński, J. Soltan, Z. and O. Hansen. Among these constructions: the central station and the Trasa Łazienkowska transport axis in Warsaw, the Sports Palace in Katowice, the university city in Toruń, the restoration of the Royal Castle and Ujazdow Castle in Warsaw, the Holy Spirit religious complex in Nowe Tychy-Zwakowo. When the influences exerted on the architectural language by the socialist system ceased, the Poland enjoyed the arrival of new commissions: archetypes of the Polish construction tradition reappeared, as well as neo-Cubist and neo-modern formal languages, interpretations of expressionism and creations inspired by symbolism. Among the exponents of the postmodern, deconstructionist or neomodernist tendencies are: R. Loegler (gate of the City of the Dead in Krakow, 1998, and Academy of Economics, University of Krakow, 1999); DDJM Studio (formed in 1991 by M. Dunikovski, A. Jasinski, W. Mieczinkovski, A. Necinski, J. Loos, J. Kutniowski, Poland Uherek: housing complex in Krakow, 1994; Tarnov and Krakow branches of Bank Handlowy Warsaw, 1996 and 1997); JEMS studio (J. Dzikowski, O. Jagiello and M. Milobedzki: Victoria office complex in Kasprzaka, 1998; residential complex, 1993; Agora headquarters, 2002, in Warsaw).