Baroque sanctuaries of Warmia region
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
Baroque sanctuaries of Warmia region

collection

Baroque sanctuaries of Warmia region

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Baroque sanctuaries of Warmia region

Pilgrimage sanctuaries, embedded in the rural landscape, of which the most spectacular ones are those with a distinctive church layout circumscribed by cloisters, form vivid landmarks on the artistic map of Warmia. They are accompanied by extensive viewing panoramas, pilgrimage paths, shrines. Only the church in Bisztynek belongs to the old layout of the city of Warmia.

The historical Warmia is part of the former, extensive Warmia diocese in the State of the Teutonic Order in Prussia – the area of bishops’ demesne which as a result of the Thirty Years’ War became associated with the Crown (1466). After the State of Teutonic Order was transformed into the Duchy of Prussia and the after the adoption of the Reformation by it, the demesne remained a territorial enclave of the Crown and the Roman Catholic denomination. This status was maintained until the first partition. The bishops, the chapter of Warmia, monastic orders brought on site, diocese clergy, and bourgeoisie conducted a lively activities aimed at founding new buildings. A local artistic environment was created in Warmia, and artistic import from the Republic of Poland and more distant lands also appeared.

In the 17th and 18th century, founding activities associated with the traditions of piety, places of worship, focused on pilgrimage, concentrated on this small area. Pilgrimage sanctuaries came into being most commonly in places where the worship of depictions or events deemed miraculous dated back to the Middle Ages, as in Chwalęcin, Głotowo, Krosno, Stoczek Klasztorny, or Święta Lipka. The latter complex was created on an extraterritorial stronghold, on Protestant land. A stimulus for the founding activities was provided by vows and ex votos after the cessation of wars and plagues, and expiation acts after iconoclasms.

The older (and newer) traditions were provided with a setting on a spectacular counter-Reformatory scale. New architectural complexes along with fittings met the criteria of the unity of arts and the rank of artistic setting of worship and usefulness. The characteristic (although not exclusive) layout of a church circumscribed by cloisters with corner chapels had its prototype in the complex of Święta Lipka; it was used to manage pilgrimage traffic, processions, and to provide religious services. Artistic fittings of the churches constitute a wide spectrum of style forms and contents depicted in painting series, sculptures, and altar paintings, pulpit decorations, pipe organ casings, or liturgical artefacts.

text by Joanna Piotrowska, NID Oddział Terenowy w Olsztynie

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