Augusburg Evangelical church of Divine Providence (former manorial church), Wrocław
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Augusburg Evangelical church of Divine Providence (former manorial church)

Wrocław

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The design of the church of Divine Providence revolutionised the Silesian architectural tradition, serving as a model of a new type of church, featuring an interior that strives for both spatial and functional unity, its elliptical galleries surrounding a nave covered with a spherical dome. The church combines influences of Late Baroque design, the variant of Rococo architecture prevalent in Prussia under Frederick the Great as well as the Berlin strand of early Classicism.

History

The church of Divine Providence was erected on the site of the former General Tax Office building, which was donated to the Calvinist community of Wrocław by the Prussian king Frederick the Great following the acquisition of Silesia by Prussia in the years 1740-42. Along with an allocation of land, the king also issued a privilege which allowed the Calvinist community to hold public church service. Once the existing buildings were partially demolished and once the necessary funds were obtained by way of a fundraising campaign among the community, the construction of the new church began in 1746. On May 23, 1747, the cornerstone was laid; soon afterwards, however, on June 21, the works were discontinued due to the damage caused by the explosion at the nearby tower which served as a gunpowder storage facility. The construction was only resumed following a second fundraising campaign, under the direction of Jonas Friedrich Arnold. On September 27, 1750, the official consecration ceremony took place. The design of the church is attributed to the royal architect Johann Boumann the Elder or to Ernest Gottlieb Klackbrenner, a master brickmason from Wrocław who was also responsible for the execution of the architectural detailing.

In 1830, the Prussian king Frederick William III conferred upon the temple the status of a Court Church in order to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession.

In 1850, modernisation and renovation works were performed, extending mostly to the stairs, galleries, designated seating areas and pews. The interior colour scheme was also changed; the interior was now painted white, even though the existing gilded decorations, executed by A. Guder and M. Rogge under the direction of C. H. Studt) were suffered to remain. In 1928, the tower cupola received a new copper sheet cladding, with the façades repainted in a yellow ochre shade. In 1945, the roof truss was destroyed. After restoration was complete, the parish church of the Augsburg Evangelical community was consecrated on 30-11-1947. Subsequent renovation works followed in years 1982-1984 (interior repainting), 1989 (tower cupola), 1994 (front façade), 1997 (tower) as well as in years 1989-1999 (façades, roof, window joinery replacement, door joinery restoration, restoration of the original interior colour scheme on the basis of stratigraphic research).

Description

The Late Baroque church is not oriented towards the east; it is a brick structure following an aisleless layout, its walls covered with plaster. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the church features a pair of pseudo-avant-corps projecting from the middle of the side façades as well as truncated southern corners. The entire structure is topped with a mansard roof. The quadrangular tower is partially blended with the northern façade and is topped with a pyramid roof. The ground floor section of the front façade is adorned with decorative rustication; further above runs the crowning cornice in the form of an entablature, with paired composite pilasters at the edges providing the finishing touch. The tower features rusticated, truncated corners; the corners of the upper section of the tower are flanked with pilasters which support a corbelled crowning cornice. A sandstone portal is positioned in the ground floor section of the tower; it is adorned with ornamental urns as well a bas-relief depicting an eagle brandishing a laurel wreath and a palm twig; the door leading into the church was designed in the Rococo style. The windows of the front façade and the tower as well as those of the ground floor section of the side façades are framed with sandstone surrounds, with come of them also adorned with acanthus scrolls and rocaille ornamentation. The side façades feature architectural framework divisions, with the upper window surrounds executed in plaster.

The interior features a spherical vaulted ceiling and is illuminated by two rows of windows. Two levels of elliptical galleries facing the combined altarpiece and pulpit positioned against the southern wall run around the entire nave. An organ loft with a Rococo pipe organ casing designed by the renowned organ builder Johan Gottlieb Wilhelm Scheffler is positioned in the northern part of the church, with the existing pipe organ dating back to the years 1917-22. The stairs leading up to the galleries are positioned in the northern corners, separated from the nave by partitions erected in 1850. The sacristy is located behind the altarpiece, within the peripheral walls of the church.

The chancel section contains a Baroque Revival baptismal font from the 19th century, relocated from the church of Christ the Saviour which was destroyed in 1945.

compiled by Beata Sebzda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 29-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Atlas architektury Wrocławia, vol. 1. Wrocław 1997, p. 57.
  • Burgermeister, Grundmann G., Die Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Niederschlesien. Bd. 1,2 Die Stadt Breslau. Breslau 1933 pp. 210-214.
  • Grundman G., Der evangelische Kirchenbau in Schlesien. Frankfurt a.M. 1926, p. 63.
  • Konwiarz R., Stephan B., Die Baukunst Breslau. Breslau 1909, pp. 19-20.
  • Leksykon architektury Wrocławia, Wrocław 2011, pp. 220-221.
  • Oszczanowski P., Kościół ewangelicko-augsburski pw. Opatrzności Bożej, Przewodnik. Wrocław 1997 („Zabytki Wrocławia’, series editor: Łukasz Krzywka).
  • Oszczanowski P., Kościoły ewangelickie na Dolnym Śląsku. Evangelische Kirchen in Niederschlesien. Wrocław 2013, pp. 16-33.
  • Pilch J., Zabytki architektury Dolnego Śląska. Wrocław 1978, p. 321.
  • Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska. Warsaw 2005, pp. 433-434.
  • Sztuka Wrocławia, M. Zlat (ed.) Wrocław 1967, pp. 337-339.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, p. 996.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: l. 1746-50
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kazimierza Wielkiego 29, Wrocław
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district Wrocław, commune Wrocław
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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