Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, forming a complex with a bell tower, Uchanie
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Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, forming a complex with a bell tower

Uchanie

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The best-known and most complete work by Turobin-based builder Johann (Jan) Wolff - in the so-called “Lublin Renaissance” style, distinguished by two hexagonal “transept” chapels and a pair of “donkey’s ears” towers at the facade. The fittings include two valuable two-storey Renaissance tombs of the Uchański family dating back to the 2nd half of the 16th century (Santi Gucci workshop) and the 1st quarter of the 17th century (Johann Wolff workshop).

History

The present Renaissance-Mannerist parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected partly on the site of a previous smaller Gothic church built after 1470. Following destruction by the Tatars in 1549, it was extended in the subsequent years by the Uchański family (consecrated in 1574), new owners of the town. In 1603-1635, (after a fire?), the church was reconstructed in two stages with funds donated by Mikołaj and Jan Mikołaj Daniłowicz in the Renaissance-Mannerist style by builder and mason Johann Wolff, who created the architectural and sculptural setting of the tomb of Paweł and Anna Uchański in the church. A pair of hexagonal cupola chapels was added at the time, a two storey annex was attached to the facade in front of the main entrance, with an arcaded portico on the ground floor and a pair of corner towers, and the whole structure received a new Renaissance-Mannerist architectural finish (“Lublin type”). Despite wartime destruction (in 1655, 1714 and 1915) and fires (1742, 1809), the church did not undergo any major alterations except the lowering of the nave roof, removal of an attic above the sacristy and a floor above the portico (1867), and a modification of the cupolas on the towers, added during a general repair in 1896-1903 (designed by Stanisław Czachórski). Another repair was completed in 1960, preceded by architectural surveys in 1954-1958, during which old wall paintings were unveiled. The present work on the church has continued in stages since 2007.

A brick bell tower, designed in 1910 by architect Józef Krycki, was built in 1929.

Description

The church complex is situated on a hill to the south-east of the village, located at the junction of Grabowiecka and Zamkowa streets (nearby the castle hill). Standing at the centre of an unfenced cemetery, the church is oriented, with access by terrain stairs in the axis of facade from the road (Zamkowa St.). The other stairs lead diagonally from the junction of the two streets. There is a bell tower in the southern part of the cemetery.

The church is built of brick, plastered, in a single-nave, three-bay layout, with a slightly narrower, three-bay presbytery enclosed on three sides. The nave and presbytery roofs are of the gable type, covered with sheet metal. At the interface of the nave and the presbytery, there is a pair of hexagonal “transept” chapels opening to the presbytery with the arcades of the first bay, equal in height to the nave and the presbytery. The chapels feature tented roofs topped with a brick lantern with a bulbous cupola. Abutting on the northern side of the presbytery and the chapel is a two-storey sacristy on an irregular quadrilateral plan, with a narrow staircase at the entrance in the northern wall.

The nave incorporates the baldachin system of supports and vaults - the lunette abutments of the barrel vault rest on wide responds, with high arcaded niches between them, with windows surrounded by archivolts in the lunette sections. The articulation of the nave consists of pairs of Corinthian pilasters attached to responds standing on common plinths and supporting sections of the entablature. Its projecting architrave ends form imposts of archivolts, merging into their abacuses in the pilaster capital section. The pilaster intercolumniatios accommodate narrow conch niches. A half of the last bay of the nave is occupied by a three-arcade musical choir gallery supported by pillars with chamfered corners. The vault is of the Lublin type, covered with sparsely spaced stucco-work with plaques (coats of arms) in oval fields. The presbytery is barrel-vaulted, with identical decoration. Presbytery walls without divisions, with large arcaded entrances to the side chapels. The southern wall accommodates a pair of tall windows, the northern wall contains smaller windows of the gallery above the sacristy in profiled surrounds, and the slanted walls are closed by single oculi. Chapel walls in the form of blind pillar arcades with windows in axes, partitioned by Corinthian pilasters in wall offsets. Entablature with a frieze decorated with triglyphs above pilasters capitals and strapwork with oval cartouches. Cupolas and lanterns covered with Lublin-type stucco-work with decorative plaques.

Twin-tower, two-storey, three-axis facade divided by pilasters, with pilaster pairs in the tower section and single pilasters in the middle part. The upper section consists of a gable framed by a pair of small towers (‘donkey’s ears”) with bulbous lantern-type cupolas. The Doric order lower storey rests on a high plinth - the entablature is slightly offset above pilasters with triglyphs and decoration with winged head motifs and strapwork. The intercolumniations feature the arcade motif, closed with a semi-circular arch in the narrower, lateral arcades, and with a three-centred arch in the wider, middle section. In the lower section, stone arcaded portals with a pair of single-bay arcaded vaulted portico covered with a three-pitched canopy Narrow conch niches in the axes of the side arcades. Gable in aedicula form with a pair of pilasters, framed with volutes on the attic walls and the plinth, common for the gable and the side towers. The middle section is divided into two square panels - the lower one is filled with a surround with ears, and the upper features a smaller oval surround. Uppermost section of the aedicula featuring a segmented pediment topped with a plaque depicting Mother of God in radiant glory. Tuscan-order arcaded towers topped with slender lantern-type cupolas.

Side facades of the nave and the chapels with arcade/pilaster articulation in the Doric order, with wide triglyphs above the pilasters. Entablature identical as on the facade. In the arcade axes, high windows topped with a half-circle, in surrounds with ears at the bottom, a cornice with triglyphs at the top and symmetrical decoration featuring animal motifs at the tops. The chapel windows in surrounds are topped with a segmental arch, crowned with strapwork decoration. The presbytery walls have no divisions and are topped with entablature continued from the chapels and the body of the church.

The fittings include the main altar dating back to the first half of the 18th century, 4 side altars in the nave and the chapels (18th century), a cabinet-type portable altar dating back to the first half of the 17th century, with two double-decker tombs of the Uchański family: Arnulf and Stanisław on the southern side; a late Renaissance one from the 3rd quarter of the 16th century, and Paweł and Anna on the3 northern side, a Mannerist one from the 1st quarter of the 17th century, and a pipe organ

A brick bell tower on a regular hexagonal plan with a structural shape and facade decoration reminiscent of the architecture of the church chapels, with an entrance topped with an arch on the western wall axis. The main openings of the bell tower are topped with semi-circular arches filled with wooden panelling in the form of louvered portes-fenêtres. Tented roof covered with steel metal, topped with an arcaded, openwork lantern covered with a dome with a spire.

The church can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 27-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Kowalczyk Jerzy, Turobińsko-zamojski murator Jan Wolff oraz jego dzieła na Lubelszczyźnie, Kronika Historii Sztuki, No 1/1961.
  • Sygowska Iwona, Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, mps PP PKZ O. Lublin, Lublin 1988 (NID Lublin Branch archive)
  • Zin Wiktor, Kościół uchański, [w:] K. Spaleniec (red.), Dzieje Uchań 1484-2006, Uchanie 2006.
  • Żywicki Jerzy, Urzędnicy, architekci, budowniczowie, inżynierowie cywilni…, Lublin 2010

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1484 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Uchanie
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district hrubieszowski, commune Uchanie
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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