Parish church of Corpus Christi, Międzylesie
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The parish church of Corups Christ in Międzylesie presents a significant research and historical value, being one of the few examples of Gothic Revival architecture from ca. 1600, with a Late Renaissance structure still identifiable at its core. It is also a representative example of the activities of North Italian builders and architects in the Kłodzko Region and in Silesia during the second half of the 17th century. The church is the only surviving building of its kind in the Kłodzko Region which features a connecting section linking it directly to a nobleman’s residence. In addition, its artistic value remains outstanding today, including, in particular, the painted interior decorations as well as the original stove from 1678 located in the patrons’ gallery.

History

The first written mentions of the town of Międzylesie appear in 1294, with references to the local parish being made in 1360, followed by the first express mentions of the church in 1384. In 1595, the original church was demolished and then replaced by the current church in the years 1600-1615. This new church was erected on a different site, near the manor house. This brick church, designed as a single-tower structure, featured a wide nave, a wide and shallow chancel with a polygonal termination as well as a patrons’ gallery. Inside, the church featured wooden ceilings adorned with painted decorations. The parish church in Międzylesie was erected in the Late Renaissance style with Gothic Revival influences, including pointed-arch windows in profiled stone surrounds as well as external buttresses. These features were a manifestation of an ideological and artistic trend prevalent in architecture around the year 1600. In 1625, a Catholic parish in Międzylesie was reestablished, with the building itself undergoing a Baroque redesign in the years 1676, 1678 and 1699. The redesign was performed at the initiative of the comital family of von Althann, with the actual works being conducted by builders from North Italy who were also involved in the construction of the municipal palace. When redesigning the church, they retained the Late Renaissance core as well as the pointed-arch windows of the nave. The entire shape of the church became more uniform in spatial terms. The chancel received a new, vaulted ceiling, while the buttresses were extended. An additional illumination of the nave was provided courtesy of a series of oculi. In 1678, the church also received a new patrons’ gallery towards the south. The décor of the façade was supplemented through the addition of a profiled crowning cornice as well as window surrounds following either a moulded or eared design. The upward extension of the tower followed in 1699. In the course of the Baroque redesign, a wooden organ loft and galleries were also added, as was the new nave ceiling adorned with Biblical scenes. In the 18th century, the church underwent renovation or alteration works. It was at that point that the upper storey of the tower attained its current appearance. In 1778, the existing connecting section between the palace and the patrons’ gallery adjoining the church was added, designed as a two-storey brick structure, its ground-floor section forming an open arcade supported by stout pillars. In the second half of the 18th century, the chancel was adorned with painted decorations designed in the Late Baroque style. In 1818, a false wooden ceiling of the nave was constructed, as were - it is believed - the current organ loft and galleries. The nave ceiling received new painted decorations in the Late Baroque style, incorporating both Rococo and Early Classicism influences. In 1882, the new, southern porch was built; the church interior underwent restoration, as did its fixtures and fittings and the painted decorations, the latter being renovated by one Reimann, a painter from Lądek. A subsequent series of restoration works was carried out in years 1926 and 1927, with the frescos receiving the attention of the painter Leo Richter, also from Lądek.

Description

The church, oriented towards the east, is located in the centre of the town, north of the palace and the market square. It is made of brick and stone, its walls covered with plaster. The church consists of the nave and the chancel, covered with a common roof, with a six-storey tower adjoining the main body of the church. The tower, positioned asymmetrically vis-a-vis the axis of the nave, features an octagonal top section topped with a tall cupola with two openwork, lantern-like sections. The church is also adjoined by a number of smaller annexes, including two patrons’ galleries. The façades of both the main body of the church and its tower are topped with a profiled crowning cornice, with some of the window openings being framed with stone or plaster surrounds. The chancel is visually distinct from the rest of the church and features a pentagonal end section, its walls supported by a trio of buttresses. Inside, the chancel features a barrel vault with lunettes. The nave features wooden side galleries and a two-level pipe organ loft; above it all rises the false barrel vault with lunettes, following a flattened outline. Both of the vaulted ceilings inside the church are adorned with painted decorations incorporating Biblical themes. The decoratively framed plafonds and medallions incorporate scenes from the Old and the New Testament, symbolic paintings, figures of the Apostles, Church Fathers, saint bishops and popes as well as two portrayals of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The remaining sections of the vaulted ceilings are adorned with acanthus leaves, Regency ornaments (bands and lattice), cartouches as well as bellflower and palmette motifs. The selection of both the ornamentation and the colour schemes of the painted decorations in the chancel and the nave clearly show the immense stylistic diversity applied. The balustrades of the organ gallery and the side galleries are adorned with panels displaying foliate motifs painted in a vernacular style as well as acanthus bands intertwined with rocaille motifs. The fixtures and fittings of the church include the 1831 main altarpiece, two side altarpieces designed in the Baroque style (first half of the 18th century), a boat-shaped pulpit with both Baroque and Rococo influences (ca. 1760), a 1745 pipe organ casing made by Kristian Krause from Międzylesie as well as a number of Baroque paintings dating back to the mid-18th century. Other preserved items of note include a tiled stove from 1678, incorporating the coats of arms of the Althann family, located in the patrons’ gallery, as well as the original wooden doors and threaded grillwork.

The building is available all year round; interior tours upon prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Iwona Rybka-Ceglecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 20-08-2015.

Bibliography

  • Bach A., Urkundliche Kirchen-Geschichte der Grafschaft Glatz, Breslau 1841.
  • Berger A., Eine Übersicht über die Pfarreien und Kuratien der Grafschaft Glatz betreffend die Zeit von 1841-1946, Kirchlengen, Kreis Herford 1961.
  • Brzezicki S., Nielsen Ch., Grajewski G., Popp D. (ed.), Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006
  • Chronik der Grafschaft Glatz p.a. 1882, Vierteljahrschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde der Grafschaft Glatz, Band II, Habelschwerdt 1882/3.
  • Kalinowski K., Architektura barokowa na Śląsku w 2 połowie XVII w., Wrocław-Warsaw-Cracow-Gdańsk 1974.
  • Kalinowski K., Architektura doby baroku na Śląsku, Warsaw 1977.
  • Lutsch H., Verzeichniss der Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Schlesien, Die Kunstdenkmäler der Landkreise des Reg.- Bezirks Breslau, Breslau 1889, Band II
  • Patzak B., Mittelwalde im Kreise Habelschwerdt, Guda Obend 1931.
  • Słownik geografii turystycznej Sudetów, Kotlina Kłodzka i Rów Górnej Nysy, Vol. 15, Wrocław 1994.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: koniec XV w. - 1 poł. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Międzylesie
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district kłodzki, commune Międzylesie - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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