Dominican complex with the church of Stanislaus the Martyr, Lublin
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Dominican complex with the church of Stanislaus the Martyr

Lublin

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The monastery complex traces its roots back to the 13th century and remains an important place for the history of both the town and the nation due to its links with the act of conclusion of the Union of Lublin. The historic structure of the Dominican complex includes elements originating from the successive phases of its development: the medieval buildings from the 13th and 14th century (chancel, nave, northern part of the monastery), the Late Renaissance and Baroque additions (the front façade, the chapels of the Firlej and Tyszkiewicz noble families, the interior décor, the organ gallery, the southern part of the monastery) as well as the fixtures and fittings designed in the Baroque style (paintings and polychromy), the Late Baroque style (side altarpieces created by artisans from Puławy, the pipe organ) as well as the Classicist style (main altarpiece, confessional).

History

Church: According to Dominican sources, the monastery in Lublin (the monastic house) was founded somewhere around the year 1253. The new, brick church was erected in 1342, with king Casimir the Great providing the necessary funds; it is believed that its chancel might have been adapted from an even older structure. During the initial period of its existence, the church followed a two-nave layout, with the third nave being added at a later stage; its interior followed a three-bay plan and featured a rectangular chancel. Being a Dominican church, its façade did not feature a tower; instead, a separate bell tower was built in its vicinity. The church was gutted by fire on two occasions, in 1505 and in 1550. It is suspected that the church was reconstructed in the Late Gothic style. In 1569, a solemn ceremony attended by King Sigismund Augustus himself was held at the church to celebrate the conclusion of the union between Poland and Lithuania. In 1575, the church was damaged by fire once again, with much of its structure, including the vaulted ceilings and gable walls collapsing as a result. The reconstruction process conducted under the supervision of Rudolf Negroni was completed in the early 17th century; the architect decided to retain the original interior layout while redesigning the church in the early modern fashion, which manifested itself through the addition of groin vaults and a stepped, arcaded gable, which was subsequently slightly redesigned in the early 17th century through the addition of volute-shaped, ornamental fractables. The ribbed vaulted ceiling in the first sacristy and the portal in the second sacristy, however, have survived intact; together with the walls of the church, they are all that remains today of the original, Gothic structure. In the mid- 17th century, the interior was redesigned in the Baroque style by the architect Piotr Gallon), while after 1668 the front façade was enriched through the addition of two squat towers at its corners.

From 1574, the rather modest outline of the church was enlivened through the addition of the chapel of the Confraternity of the Rosary, funded by Katarzyna Ossolińska, wherein the 17th century painting of Our Lady of Piotrków Trybunalski is kept. In years 1615-1630, the chapel of the Relics of the Holy Cross, also known as the Firlej chapel, was erected, its design, created by Jan Wolff, being a combination of Renaissance and Mannerism. The funds for the construction of this chapel were provided by Henryk Firlej, the bishop of Płock. The largest of all chapels - the Tyszkiewicz family chapel which also serves as the place where the monastic choir gallery is located - was erected in years 1645-1658 by Jan Cangerle, a master brickmason from Lublin, its decorations being the work of the plasterwork specialist Giovanni Battista Faconi, who applied fully mature Baroque forms in his design, as well as of the painter Tomasz Muszyński, who created the painting depicting the Judgment Day on the cupola ceiling. The chapels of St Mary Magdalene, St Catherine and St Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Pszonek family chapel, were erected during the second half of the 17th century; the chapels of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, the chapel of Christ and the chapel of St Stanislaus were built in the third quarter of the same century, while the chapels of St Andrew (chapel of Our Lady Ruszelska, containing a painting particularly revered by father Paweł Ruszel - hence its name) and the chapel of Our Lady of Paris were both constructed in years 1728 - 1729, flanking the chancel. In the second half of the 19th century, a porch was added, while the roofs of the towers and the steeple were redesigned, attaining their current shape.

The monastery: During the reign of king Casimir the Great, only the single-storey eastern wing was erected; it was subsequently extended during the mid-15th century and then redesigned in the late 16th century by a renowned master brickmason, Rudolf Negroni. The remaining wings were gradually added in years 1635-1670. Following the dissolution of the monastery in 1884, the church was taken over by the priests from the local diocese, with the abandoned monastery buildings coming under the control of the armed forces and the city council, which adapted some of the spaces to serve as the municipal archive. In the early 20th century, the third storey of the eastern wing was added, with the southern annex being redesigned in the Renaissance Revival style by the architect Stanisław Weiss). It was only in 1938 that the Dominican monks have returned, taking over the church and parts of the monastery. Today, the southern wing of the monastery is occupied by the Puppet and Actor Theatre.

In the mid-1990s, the slope of the hill near the church was secured and reinforced, with the retaining wall being subjected to a similar treatment in the year 2000. The foundations of the outer walls and the corner of the south-eastern wing of the monastery were all reinforced as well, while the roof of the monastery itself was extended upwards, allowing the attic to be adapted for new purposes. The full-scale restoration also extended to the interiors of the complex.

Description

The Dominican monastery complex rises above the Old Town Hill, taking up nearly the entire south-eastern block of the Old Town, right up to the line of the medieval city walls, with its southern and eastern sections partially crossing the said line. The church is slightly receded compared to the rest of the tightly clustered frontage of Dominikańska street, with the entrance to the church being located at the end of a cul-de-sac which forms an extension of Złota street. The monastery complex spreads south of the church, reaching up to the southern slope of the hill.

The church is a brick building, its walls covered with plaster. Its three-bay main body follows a three-nave hall layout with two rows of chapels on the sides and a pair of domed chapels at the ends of both side aisles towards the east. The chancel is a three-bay structure ending with a large, octagonal domed chapel (the Tyszkiewicz family chapel) in the east, with the second chapel (the chapel of Our Lady of Paris) being positioned alongside the northern wall of the chancel. The ceiling above the individual bays takes the form of a canopy made up of groin vaults; the vaults of the main nave are supported by arches resting upon massive pillars adorned with paired Corinthian pilasters and topped with an entablature. The rood arch follows an analogous design, resting upon engaged pillars. The Late Baroque pipe organ gallery is suspended between the last pair of pillars and features a decorative, convexo-concave parapet outline.

Inside the chancel, the walls are divided into three bays by a series of blind arcades adorned with paired pilasters supporting sections of entablature held together by the second rood arch which opens up towards the monastic choir gallery. The groin vaults feature a lierne decoration designed in a mixture of the Gothic and Renaissance styles (late 16th century). The monastic choir gallery (the Tyszkiewicz chapel) is designed on an extended octagonal floor plan, with windows piercing the walls of an angular tholobate that supports an elliptical dome with lantern above. The walls of the main body are accentuated by Corinthian pilasters positioned in places where individual sections of the walls meet, with a full entablature above providing the finishing touch. Panels incorporating paintings in ornate gilt frames fill the spaces between the individual pilasters. The pilaster shafts, the entablature frieze and sections of the walls surrounding the tholobate windows are all adorned with lavish plasterwork decorations incorporating both foliate and figural motifs, while a fresco portraying the events of the Judgement Day graces the surface of the cupola ceiling. The outer walls of the side aisles are partitioned by a narrow cornice positioned at the window sill level; beneath the cornice there are arcaded entrances into the side chapels which all feature vaulted ceilings of the groined type. The interior of the Firlej chapel (otherwise known as the chapel of the Relic of the Holy Cross) is octagonal in shape, its walls partitioned by four pairs of Corinthian pilasters with fluted shafts, positioned on common pedestals and adorning the diagonal sections of the walls. The entablature above incorporates a triglyph frieze, while both the cupola ceiling and the inside of the roof lantern above are decorated with lierne plasterwork in the so-called “Lublin style”.

The front façade is flanked by a pair of projecting two-storey towers, each of them set on a tall plinth. The corners of the towers are accentuated by pairs of lesenes in the lower section and paired Corinthian pilasters in the upper section, with the ornate roof lanterns above the roofs completing the entire design. The front façade itself follows a three-axial layout and features horizontal partitions similar to those used on the towers. A porch projects from the façade at the ground floor level, featuring a wide entrance topped with a semicircular arch and topped by a decorative gable with a volute-shaped fractable. On the side axes of the façade, a pair of windows topped with semicircular arches and adorned with profiled surrounds rise above the string course which cuts across the façade. The broad gable of the front façade is partitioned by low pilasters and cornices into five distinct levels, accentuated by small pinnacles and volute-shaped fractables. The side façades of the main body of the church are partitioned by prominent buttresses which rise above the chapels that flank the church. The side wall of the Firlej chapel is adorned with rusticated lesenes at the corners and an incomplete entablature incorporating a triglyph frieze; there is also an elongated window, adorned with a decorative surround.

The monastery building was designed on a floor plan approximating the shape of a rectangle, with a five-bay annex (the interiors of which were converted into a single, open space at a later date) positioned perpendicular to the southern wing as well as a dedicated hallway wing which divides the entire edifice into two sections: a narrow transfer yard located between the wicket gate near the southern tower and the main entrance to the monastery in the eastern wing and a large, almost square garth in the southern part of the building, with a covered walkway (cloister) on the ground floor level. The eastern wing, which has been extended upwards some time after the monastery was originally erected, is a three-storey structure the interior of which follows a two- and three-bay layout in the northern and southern sections respectively, featuring groin vaults throughout its interiors, with the exception of the former refectory, where a lierne vault supported by a single pillar was used instead. The first floor features a different layout, with monastic cells being positioned on both sides of a central hallway. The southern and western wings are two-bay structures with a hallway leading alongside the garth, while the northern wing features a two-storey cloister hallway. The roofs of the monastery are covered with roof tiles and sheet metal, depending on the section of the building. The inner façades feature irregular divisions effected by means of decorative cornices, with the façade of the southern annex, designed in the Renaissance Revival style, being divided into distinct levels; the final storey of the annex is clad with clinker bricks. The southern gable of the annex takes the form of a two-storey, arcaded aedicula crowned with an octagonal turret with a bulbous cupola. The corners of the structure are further accentuated by a miniature, round oriel and a square turret. The ground floor section features decorative rustication, while the windows of the upper storeys are adorned with Renaissance Revival surrounds. Inside the garth, the design of the façades of the northern, southern and eastern wings hinges on the use of blind arcades on the ground floor level, with windows and doors being positioned in the middle of each of the arches. The ground floor section of the western façade, on the other hand, is partitioned using flat buttresses. The upper level of the northern wing façade follows the same pattern as the ground floor, while the two-storey upper section of the eastern wing is divided by pilasters in giant order positioned directly above each of the buttresses below. The relatively low walls of the upper storey of both the southern and western wing are partitioned in a similar manner using short, Corinthian pilasters. The pilasters of the southern wall incorporate reclaimed sections of Renaissance-era stonework - pilaster shafts with foliate decorations and capitals as well as a heraldic cartouche positioned above the gate.

Fixtures and fittings: Classicist main altarpiece (late 18th century), ensemble of Late Baroque side altarpieces with figural sculptures, two Late Baroque pulpits, a two-storey marble tomb of the Firlej noble family designed in the Renaissance style (inside the Firlej chapel), fragments of a marble headstone from the early 17th century (embedded in the western wall of the northern aisle), monastic choir stalls (17th century) and a collection of paintings (16th-18th century).

The church can be viewed from the outside all year round, while the monastery garth can be seen from inside the gateway leading to the theatre.

compiled by Roman Zwierzchowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 5-12-2015.

Bibliography

  • Gapski Henryk, [ed.], Dominikanie w Lublinie, collective work, Lublin 2006.
  • Kowalczyk Jerzy, Architektoniczno-rzeźbiarskie dzieło Falconiego w Lublinie (Kaplica Św. Krzyża przy kościele Dominikanów), “Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” 24 (1962), no. 1.
  • Łoziński Jerzy Zygmunt, Grobowe kaplice kopułowe w Polsce 1520-1620, Warsaw 1973.
  • Majewski Karol, Wzorek Józef, Z badań nad rozwojem architektury w Lublinie w I połowie XVII wieku, “Rocznik Lubelski”, no. 13 (1970), pp. 59-79.
  • Michalczuk Stanisław, Sąd Ostateczny Tomasza Muszyńskiego w kościele Dominikanów w Lublinie, “Roczniki Humanistyczne”, no. 13 (1963), vol. 4, pp. 15-52.
  • Niedźwiadek Rafał, Rozwałka Andrzej, Stasiak Marek, Lublin wczesnośredniowieczny, Warsaw 2006.
  • Wadowski Jan Ambroży, Kościoły lubelskie na podstawie źródeł archiwalnych, Lublin 1907.
  • Wzorek Józef, Drzewo Krzyża Świętego. Kościół oo. Dominikanów, Lublin 1991.

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1253 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Złota 9, Lublin
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district Lublin, commune Lublin
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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