Parish Church of Sts. Nicholas and Francis Xavier, Otmuchów
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Parish Church of Sts. Nicholas and Francis Xavier

Otmuchów

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The church founded by the bishops of Wrocław features works made by outstanding Silesian painters: Michael L. Willmann and Carl Dankwart. The original décor and fittings together with the architecture form a complete uniform work of art.

History

The bishops of Wrocław had their seat in Otmuchów from the 13th century to the early 19th century. To them the ty owes, among others, the construction of the castle, palace and town hall. The first church of St. John the Baptist was erected there in the 13th century, then it served as a collegiate church for some time. In the second half of the 17th century, bishop Franz Ludwig decided to replace the stone church which was rebuilt several times with a new building, and entrusted J.P. Dobler with the development of its design. Soon after the demolition (1690), the foundation stone was laid, and the construction of the current Church of Sts. Nicholas and Francis Xavier was completed in 1693. Painted decorations were authored by Karl Dankwart (known, among others, for his works in the Church of Sts. James and Agnes in Nysa). The main altar made by Johann Weinmann of Ellwangen was consecrated in 1701.

Description

The Baroque masonry church is situated on a hill in the western part of the city. It consists of a three-aisle body with a transept and a westward-facing and apse-finished chancel. The eastern part is composed of two towers; the church is covered with a gable roof. The thee-storey façade is partitioned with pilasters and surmounted by a gable adorned with a volute-shaped coping and flanked by towers topper with cupolas. The main aisle opens up towards the side chapels with galleries in a series of arches. The lavishly designed interior is covered with a barrel vault on arches and lunettes. Colourful and grisaille paintings on the ceilings and walls were authored by Karl Dankwart. The stucco work was made by Giovanni Alberti, Bartolomeo Mutino, and Pietro Simonetti. Paintings on the ceilings, some of them in stucco frames, depict biblical scenes and the lift of the church's patron saints, Nicholas and Francis Xavier. The fixtures and fittings date back to the time of the foundation of the church, from the 17th/18th century. The apse of the chancel is fitted with an altar with the painting of St. Nicholas blessing the castaways made by Michael Willmann (1696). The second painting by the same artist entitled "The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist" is located in one of the eight side altars. The pulpit (1696) with a balustrade with bas-reliefs of evangelists is crowned with a canopy with figures of Christ and four Fathers of the Church. The chancel is also fitted with two stalls with lavish woodcarving decoration (1694-1695).

The structure is used and open to visitors.

compiled by Joanna Szot, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 01-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Biller L., Neisse, Ottmachau und Patschkau, die Städte am Mittelauf der Glatzer Neisse (Veröffentlichungen der Schlesien Gesellschaft für Erkunde E.V. und des Geographischen Instituts der Universität Breslau, H. 15), Breslau 1932.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. VII: Województwo opolskie, issue 3: Powiat grodkowski, prepared by T. Chrzanowski, M. Kornecki, Warsaw 1964.
  • Lutsch H., Bilderwerk schlesischer Kunstdenkmaler, Breslau 1903.
  • Lutsch H., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Schlesien, Bd. 4: Die Kunstdenkmäler des Reg.-Bezirks Oppeln, Tl. 1, Breslau 1890.
  • Steinborn B., Otmuchów, Paczków (Śląsk w zabytkach sztuki), Wrocław 1982.
  • Weber R., Schlesische Schlösser, Dresden-Breslau 1909.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1690-1693
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Jana Pawła II , Otmuchów
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district nyski, commune Otmuchów - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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