Larisch Palace, currently the Museum of Cieszyn Silesia, Cieszyn
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Larisch Palace, currently the Museum of Cieszyn Silesia

Cieszyn

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A Neoclassical town palace, of which there are not many in the region. It has a characteristic architectural form, shaped in two stages and adjusted to the local topography, with a unique spatial arrangement in terms of the location of the former stable designed by Joseph Kornhäusel and with sophisticated painted decorations of the representative rooms. The castle is also valuable from the historical point of view, as it is related to the history of the city and Cieszyn Silesia.

History

Before the huge fire of the town in 1789, two structures existed on the land currently occupied by the palace: a two-storeyed, brick house of the Larisch family and a wooden house of the Smolański family. The destruction of both buildings during the town fire of 1789 coincided with the promotion of Count Johann Larisch von Moennich to State Marshal and President of the Land Sejm and the necessity to create a residence suitable for a high-rank official of the Vienna Court. In the years 1790-1795, the houses were replaced with a three-storeyed palace surrounded by a garden, extended in the 1830s by Count Philip Ludwig St. Genois d’Anneaucourt with a rear south wing, containing, among other things, a unique stable designed by the prominent Vienna architect Joseph Kornhäusel. In 1840, the residence became the property of Johann Deml, Mayor of Cieszyn. In 1918, the palace was purchased by the town, which in 1931 turned it into a town museum housing e.g. the museum collection of Rev. Leopold Szersznik, ethnographic collections of the Silesian Museum and the Town Museum, and private collections. In 1942, parts of the building were destroyed in a fire. Restoration works were carried out in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. In 2000, maintenance works were carried out on the palace façades.

Description

The palace is situated in the eastern part of the historic Cieszyn, nearby the former town walls, where there used to be a moat, in the neighbourhood of the present Park Pokoju (Park of Peace). Its front façade faces Regera Street. It is a Baroque-Neoclassical building made of brick and stone, having a quadrangular floor plan consisting of three wings surrounding an irregular, quadrangular yard, enclosed with a blind wall on the east side. The three-storeyed wings, forming a compact structure, are covered with mansard roofs. The façades have a Neoclassical character. The representative façade facing Regera Street consists of an individuated, rusticated ground floor level with a gate opening framed by a portal with a triangular pediment, an upper part divided by pairs of vertical panels and window openings, and a crowning part in the form of an attic. The lower part of the east façade, reinforced by buttresses (being remains of the former town walls) is divided by means of string courses and window trim, just like the façades facing the yard. On the front side and in the south part of the side wing, there are two wide entrance gates leading to the yard, covered with barrel vaults with lunettes. The interiors of the wings basically consist of two suites of rooms of various sizes, usually covered by barrel and sail vaults, more rarely with cloister vaults with lunettes (on the ground floor), groin vaults, and flat ceilings (on the upper storeys). In the front wing, next to the entrance gate, there is a half-landing main staircase. In the south wing, there is a unique stable (currently a café), built on a round floor plan, two-storeyed, and divided by means of elongated, round-arched niches. It is covered with a dome with lunettes, supported by a Tuscan columns located in the centre. On the second floor of the north and south wings, there are rooms which are the most valuable from an artistic point of view, embellished with Neoclassical wall paintings dated at 1796 and the 2nd quarter of the 19th century. In the front wing, there is the former ball room, the so-called Egyptian room, whose painted decorations, made by the Cieszyn-Opava painter Jan Józef Mayer, depict Zodiac signs on the flattened cloister vault, ignudi, putto, and sphinx motifs on the walls directly below the vault, and optical-illusion landscapes framed by architectural elements dividing the walls into sections. The oriental decoration of the neighbouring Chinese study room corresponds to the wall divisions imitating panels and pilasters, framing sections and supraportes containing genre scenes and fantasy architecture images. On the ceiling, there is a painting depicting a bird-of-paradise. In the south wing, there is the so-called Roman room (a ball room), partially destroyed during World War II. On the walls, there are Romantic paintings from the 1930s depicting an Italian landscape, partially concealed by architectural divisions. In the palace yard and in the southern part of Park Pokoju, there is a lapidarium, housing e.g. the remains of portals from the houses of prominent Cieszyn townsmen, Gothic architectural details from the Church of Michael the Archangel, and a Baroque scuplture of St Anthony from the early 18th century, attributed to Antoni Stanetti.

The site is accessible. It can be visited during the opening hours of the museum.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 10-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Chojecka E., Gorzelik J., Kozina I., Szczypka-Gwiazda B., Sztuka Górnego Śląska od średniowiecza do końca XX wieku, Katowice 2009.
  • Iwanek W., Świecka architektura Cieszyna, [w:] Rocznik Cieszyński III, Cieszyn 1976, s. 107-123.
  • Karta ewidencyjna zabytku architektury. Dawny Pałac Larischów (obecnie Muzeum Śląska Cieszyńskiego) [w Cieszynie], opr. M. Cempla, 2001, Archiwum NID.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, T. VI, woj. katowickie, z. 3: Miasto Cieszyn i powiat cieszyński, red. I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samek.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, red. S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen, Warszawa 2006.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1790-1795
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Regera 6, Cieszyn
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district cieszyński, commune Cieszyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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