St Sigismund Parish Church Complex, Szydłowiec
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St Sigismund Parish Church Complex

Szydłowiec

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The church complex displays historical, artistic and scientific values. The temple has not changed its outer appearance since the 16th century, except for a western porch added in the first half of the 17th century and a steeple from the 18th century. The Late-Gothic character of the architecture is complemented with a Renaissance interior decor. Buildings forming a part of the complex represent an example of applying Szydłowiec sandstone in monumental sacred architecture.

History

A brick church in place of a wooden one from the early 15th century began to be constructed here in 1493. It was founded by Jakub Szydłowiecki, Grand Treasurer of the Crown and the then owner of the town. However, the construction was completed only after his death by his brother, Mikołaj Szydłowiecki, around 1525. Mikołaj was a founder of a northern chapel of St Stanislaus and a choir gallery in the western part of the nave. The western porch with a cupola and the northern porch were built in the 17th century when Szydłowiec belonged to the Radziwiłł family. Next to the church there is a belfry, which was also erected in the 16th century. At the turn of 19th and 20th century the church was restored under the guidance of Stefan Szyller. The church suffered damages as a result of both world wars.

Description

The historic complex consists of the Church of St Sigismund along with a stone bell tower and a church cemetery wall with tombstones.

The church is a masonry feature, built of Szydłowiec sandstone, partially plastered, decorated with stone blocks, crowned with brick gables. The temple consists of a three-bay presbytery and a much wider and taller rectangular nave. A two-bay Gothic sacristy and a one-bay treasury adjoins the presbytery from the north. The chapel of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary adjoins to the nave from the south; it was erected initially as the burial chapel of the Szydłowiecki family. From the north, the chapel of St Stanislaus and the porch abut on the presbytery. A rectangular vestibule is located in the west, on the front façade’s axis.

The walls of the church are braced with buttresses on the outside; all façades are decorated with plinth, eaves and crowning cornices. The brick gables of the nave include arcaded blind windows and stone shields with coats of arms of the Szydłowiecki family. The steeple on the roof dates back to the mid-18th century. Moreover, inscriptions were carved in walls of the southern part of the temple. They include names, surnames and dates indicating that they were created at the turn of the 16th and 17th century. Probably they represented a form of commemorating persons buried in the church cemetery. Next to inscriptions, the walls include two solar clocks from the 17th century.

Inside, particular attention should be paid to the Late Renaissance main altar with a sculpted group of paintings of the Coronation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and the Late Gothic altar polyptych. It was founded by Jakub Szydłowiecki. It consists of eighteen tempera on battens. The central part of the representation includes a scene of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary surrounded by the Apostles, with an image of the founder, Jakub Szydłowiecki, and his family. The altar was created around 1509 in workshops of Cracow, perhaps even in the workshop of Marcin Czarny.

The presbytery includes a tombstone of Mikołaj Szydłowiecki, built of red Hungarian marble in a workshop of Bartolommeo Berrecci. A Classicist tombstone of Mikołaj and Maria Radziwiłł, a work of Giacomo Monaldi - a court sculptor of the king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski - has a form of a marble portico with a figure of a sleeping woman placed inside. The presbytery has a stellar vault. What is unique is that its design was drawn on the northern wall of the main nave. Above it, there is a wooden vault with lavish wall painting, perhaps created by Stanisław Samostrzelnik. Below the choir gallery there is a coffer vault from 1526.

An organ from the 19th century is an important element of the temple’s fittings. They are used during the International Festival of Chamber and Organ Music.

The Szydłowiec church is an example of broken stonework. It is particularly visible in the sculptural arrangement of Late Gothic portals, through chamfering and application of roll-moulding that transect each other in arches as well as in window frames of the north façade and the sacristy.

The church can be viewed from the outside; inside, it can be viewed outside the hours of religious services.

Compiled by Bartłomiej Modrzewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw, 21-11-2014

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. III, Województwo kieleckie, red. J. Z. Łoziński, B. Wolff, z. 10. Powiat radomski, inwent. K. Szczepkowska, E. Krygier, J. Z. Łoziński, Warszawa 1961.
  • D. Słomińska-Paprocka, Powiat szydłowiecki w województwie mazowieckim, Szydłowiec 2009.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1493-1525
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zakościelna 13, Szydłowiec
  • Location: Voivodeship mazowieckie, district szydłowiecki, commune Szydłowiec - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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