Hospital of the Holy Spirit with the chapel of St Anne, Frombork
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Hospital of the Holy Spirit with the chapel of St Anne

Frombork

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The only historic hospital building in Poland which retains its original form despite having been established as early as the first half of the 18th century; the preserved set of Gothic wall paintings from the 2nd quarter of the 15th century is also of great historical value.

History

The first hospital in Frombork (along with the accompanying chapel) was erected as early as the mid-16th century; the building was made of wooden logs covered with clay. Between 1426 and 1433 a brick and stone chapel was constructed on the eastern side of the site at the initiative of Arnold von Datteln, the rector of the Warmia chapter, while the so-called Gothic House, containing a bath, kitchen, dinning room and residential rooms was built on the western side thereof. Between these two buildings stood the general hospital room, erected on a common foundation; this timber-framed structure contained two rooms for the poor and one room for the sick. The second stage of construction took place during the period when the hospital briefly remained under the management managed of the Order of St Anthony, brought from Tempzin in Mecklenburg by bishop Łukasz Watzenrode (years 1507 - 1519). During that time, in 1507-1513 the timber-framed walls of the hospital were demolished and replaced with brick walls. In 1686, the third stage of building works commenced, carried out at the bequest of the canon Ludwik Demuth. The existing building was thoroughly redesigned through the addition of a set of walls which formed a taller middle section of the main body topped with a gable roof, their surface covered with plaster. Inside, the newly built walls divided the interior of the structure so that it now followed a basilica layout. The aisles were divided with partition walls forming six cells while the passageways from the aisles to the main nave were now topped with semi-circular arches. In 1709, at the initiative of Jan Jerzy Kunigk, the curator of the chapter, a new sacristy was added to the semi-circular apse, with the former sacristy now serving as the chapel of St Joseph. The construction of a new steeple in 1742 was the last significant part of the redesign of the chapel. It was during this period that the building gained the appearance which has remained substantially unchanged until this day. From 1874 onwards, the hospital functioned under the care of the Catherine nuns (Congregatio Sororum S. Catharinae) as a shelter for the poor, while the chapel performed sacred functions. Renovated before the mid-19th century, in 1907 as well as in years 1931-32. After World War II, the building was used only periodically; it was restored in years 1955-57 and 1978-1990. A branch of the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum dedicated to medical history was established inside the building, which was adapted for exhibition purposes, while the surrounding area now serves as a herbal garden.

Description

The complex consists of a Gothic chapel as well as a hospital which combines elements of the Gothic and Baroque styles. Situated in the eastern part of the town, in Stara street, it is surrounded by a herbal garden. The building was built on a strongly elongated rectangular floor plan; the chapel features three annexes and a semi-circular apse on the eastern side, while the elongated hospital building with a three-nave basilica layout is positioned on the western side. The structure was built using solid ceramic brick, with parts of the facade covered with plaster. The building features gable roofs above its individual sections, except for the sections containing the rows of cells flanking the main body of the building, which feature shed roofs. A Baroque steeple juts out of the roof ridge of the hospital. The facades of the building feature rather austere detailing from the late 17th century: cornices beneath the eaves, rows of windows topped with segmental arches and rusticated quoins which grace the corners of the western facade. The main entrance in the western facade leads through a portal topped with a semi-circular arch adorned with quoins and flanked by a pair of Tuscan pilasters. The main nave of the hospital is connected to the chapel by means of a wide, semi-circular arched passage; twelve small rooms for the sick and the former dining room, kitchen and pharmacy are positioned alongside the nave. Inside, the building features an extremely valuable set of wall and ceiling paintings, most of them originating from the Gothic period, including 19 scenes of Judgement Day from the 2nd quarter of the 15th century, whose authorship is attributed to the town writer from Frombork, Krzysztof/Chrystian Blumenroth; in addition, fragments of ornamental decorations on the rood arch dating back to the 15th century as well as decorations on the side walls dating back to the 2nd half of the 16th century can also be found inside the building.

Accessible structure; it may be visited during the opening hours of the museum.

Compiled by Iwona Liżewska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 15.10.2014.

 

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki. Braniewo. Frombork, Orneta i okolice. Województwo elbląskie. Warszawa 1980, p. 112-114.
  • T. Piaskowski, H. Szkop, Zabytki Fromborka, Frombork 2003, s. 104-113.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1426-1433
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Frombork
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district braniewski, commune Frombork - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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