Filial Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Niemojów
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Filial Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Niemojów

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The filial church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary constitutes a representative example of the ecclesiastical architecture of the Kłodzko Region, dating back to the early 18th century - the final phase of the Early Baroque period - when new concepts ushering in the era of the full-fledged Baroque architecture began to appear alongside the earlier solutions originally developed by Northern Italian architects. Notable features include the stonework detailing and figural sculptures which grace the façades of the church, representative of the trend in art known as vernacular Baroque. Both the church itself and its stonework decorations present an outstanding artistic value.

History

The village of Niemojów was originally founded in 1578; in 1597, the local Lutheran community erected a wooden church for themselves. In 1624, this church was taken over by the Catholics, becoming a local centre of Marian worship. Numerous pilgrimages flocked to the church in Niemojów, which harboured the miraculous figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the 19th century, however, the pilgrimage movement abated. The existing masonry church in Niemojów, designed in the Baroque style, was erected in 1716, its appearance reflecting the spirit of the final phase of the Early Baroque period and incorporating solutions originally devised in the second half of the 17th century by North Italian architects. The church exhibits a certain degree of spatial unity, with all of its constituent parts being covered with a single roof. The front façade combines elements of a typical towerless façade with those of a façade with a tower; the shape of the windows is not dissimilar to Diocletian windows, while the façade decorations include festoons suspended from ornamental draperies, flower bouquets in vases, winged angel heads and acanthus motifs, accompanied by aesthetic features derived from vernacular art (the rosette motifs adorning the portal). Some of the formal solutions applied are typical of the full-fledged Baroque architecture, including the front façade composition, portals with recesses designed to accommodate sculptures as well as pilasters with composite capitals. In designing the church, its creators tended to pay attention to the tectonic structures underpinning its architecture, although some features - such as the front façade portal - have been designed in complete disregard of its tectonic function, its appearance a clear nod towards vernacular art. The stonework decorations and architectural detailing were executed by the local stonemasons from the so-called Lesica circle of craftsmen which functioned in the years 1698-1716 or thereabouts in the town of Międzylesie and in the surrounding area. These works of these craftsmen were in the spirit of vernacular Baroque. They tended to simplify the forms applied to the point of primitivism, although the works they created also exhibited a great degree of imaginative thinking. The church in Niemojów underwent renovation works on numerous occasions, including ca. 1860 and 1892, when the painted decorations of the chancel interior were executed, combining architectural and purely decorative themes; these Historicist decorations are clearly reminiscent of the polychrome décor of the church in the nearby village of Lesica (→Lesicy). The organ gallery is believed to have been redesigned somewhere around the year 1910, when the nave itself also received painted decorations of a rather modest sort, designed in the Historicist style.

Description

The village of Niemojów lies alongside the border road in the Dzika Orlica river valley. The church is not oriented towards the east; it was erected on a platform which cuts into the slope of the hill, in a spot which allows it excellent visibility in the surrounding landscape. The church is made of stone, its walls covered with plaster. It consists of a distinct chancel with a semi-hexagonal termination and an elongated nave, its north-western section incorporating a quadrangular tower. A sacristy adjoins the chancel. Both the nave and the chancel are covered by a common roof. The five-storey tower is a quadrangular structure integrated with the nave up to the level of the fourth storey. The uppermost storey is covered with a cupola with a roof lantern. The façades of both the main body of the church and its tower are topped with a profiled crowning cornice. The windows are arranged on a number of axes on two levels, their shape reminiscent of Diocletian windows. The front façade of the church is topped with a triangular pediment above which rises the uppermost storey of the tower. The ground floor level of the front façade features a stone portal flanked by a pair of niches, their sills adorned with draperies and festoons made up of ornamental flowers and fruit. The portal itself is adorned with rosettes. Above the portal there is a cartouche bearing an inscription, surmounted by a relief depicting the scene of the Visitation. This sculpted portrayal is flanked by a pair of inverted volutes, each supporting a vase filled to the brim with fruit and flowers. The side façade features an eared stone portal adorned with a festoon suspended from a drapery. Above the portal there is a niche containing the sculpture of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. The chancel follows a single-bay layout, its walls partitioned with pilasters supporting a profiled crowning cornice which runs at the base of the barrel vault with lunettes, supported by structural arches. Both the articulation and layout of the vaulted ceiling are emphasized by painted decorations. The nave is wider than the chancel, its tall interior featuring a wooden false ceiling; the walls of the nave are adorned by rather restrained painted decorations. The wooden organ loft and side galleries in the north-western part of the nave feature a solid parapet, its design reminiscent of the parapets which grace the organ loft and galleries inside the church in Kamieńczyk (→Kamieńczyku). The fixtures and fittings of the church include the architectural main altarpiece, designed in the Baroque style (1717, with painted decorations executed in years 1721, 1797 and 1883), a pair of Late Baroque architectural side altarpieces devoted to St Anne and St Francis Xavier (third quarter of the 18th century, with paintings from the third quarter of the 19th century), a Baroque pulpit from 1726, a stone baptismal font from 1612 with a Baroque wooden lid as well as period wooden doors and pews (pre-1776).

The building is open to visitors 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, 24-08-2015.

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
  • Katalog rzeźby barokowej na Śląsku, pod red. K. Kalinowskiego, Vol. 1. Hrabstwo Kłodzkie, Poznań 1987, [Institute of Art History of the Adam Mickiewicz University, Department of Early Modern and Modern Art].
  • Kögler J., Historische und topographische Beschreibung der in der Grafschaft Glatz und zwar Habelschwerdter District glegenen Rosenthal und Schnallenstein, 1804, Vierteljahrschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde der Grafschaft Glatz, Bd. III, Habelschwerdt 1883/1884.
  • Tschitschke M., Die Wallfahrtskirchen Marienthal und Freiwalde, Arnestuskalender 4/1927.
  • Volkmer, Hohaus, Geschichtsquellen der Graffschaft Glatz, Dritter Band, Constitutiones Synodi Comitatus Glacensis in causis religionis, 1559, Die Dekanatsbücher der Christophorus Neaetius 1560 und des Hieronymus Keck 1631, Habelschwerdt 1884.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Niemojów
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district kłodzki, commune Międzylesie - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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