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2006 | 1 | 39-51

Article title

GOTYCKIE DEKORACJE MALARSKIE ELEWACJI KOŚCIOŁA PARAFIALNEGO P.W. ŚW. KATARZYNY ALEKSANDRYJSKIEJ W GOLUBIU Przyczynek do badań nad dekoracją maswerkową w architekturze Państwa Zakonnego w Prusach


Title variants

GOTHIC PAINTED DECORATIONS ON THE ELEVATION OF THE CHURCH OF ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA IN GOLUB. A Contribution to Studies about Tracery Decoration in the Architecture of the Teutonic Order State in Prussia

Languages of publication



The Gothic painted decorations of the plastered blind windows and friezes on the elevation of the parish church in Golub have been mentioned at the end of the nineteenth century by German conservators and historians of East Prussian architecture (J. Heise, A. Boetticher) in the catalogues of historical monuments written by them. Nonetheless, it was not until the research, drawings and measurements of the roof truss construction were carried out in December 2004 by the employees of ROBiDZ (Torun), that the presence of the titular painted decorations was unearthed. The discoveries were made in a rather inaccessible spot, i. e. under the roof of the chapel of the Holy Cross, covering part of the eastern axes of the northern elevation. The second stage of the measurements performed next to the bell tower disclosed remnants of identical engraved tracery decorations at the level of the fourth storey of the southern tower elevation. The excellent condition of the preserved compositions engraved on a thin layer of lime plaster made it possible to reconstruct their original form. This material, together with photographic documentation, was used for making inventory drawings based on a CAD-type programme. The documentation produced by ROBiDZ (Torun) classified four types of the originally polychromed tracery decoration. With the exception of a plastered band on the cornice, the other compositions share an identical tripartite division of the lower lancet sphere as well as a band above it, featuring a carpet pattern with a recurring four-leaf motif. Moreover, a characteristic feature of the Golub tracery is the fact that the classical three-, four- and five-leaf motifs occur next to each other, and have been executed both from petals cut out of a circle and those which are enclosed within a lancet. The presented article embarks upon an attempt at defining the provenance of the forms of the discovered compositions. A formal analysis has been unquestionably facilitated by the studies conducted by specialists as well as the conservation documentation of similar objects by, i. a. M. Poksinska and E. Pilecka. Golub, located in the territory of the Teutonic Order state, only 40 kms from Torun, must have found itself within the range of the impact exerted by this cultural centre, the second largest in Pomerania, a fact decisive for a search for analogous decorations in the buildings of Golub and its environs. We cannot exclude the probability that the described tracery should be attributed to a group of artists working not only Toruń but also in the provinces. They included representatives of various nationalities and assorted West European trends, influencing art in the region of Chełmno, Kujawy and Varmia. It must be added that the imposing number of architectural solutions and decorative motifs in the land of Chełmno makes it impossible to indicate a concrete source of inspiration for the solutions encountered in Golub. Cited analogies prove that fourteenth-century ornamental motifs were popularised in Toruń and the neighbouring regions by means of the pattern books and construction complexes which appeared in these terrains as part of a cultural exchange augmented by the intensive trade contacts maintained by the Baltic towns. The presented study does not propose an ultimate classification of all types of the tracery decorations originally executed on the elevation of the parish church in Golub. Within this context, the documented examples comprise only part of the whole repertoire of the ornamental blind windows in the church. Initial results of the examination of the chemical composition of lime mortar in the blind windows and tower cornice made it possible to identify the pigments used in the decorations, i. a. iron oxide red, ochre and plant black. The execution technology of the painted tracery could be ultimately explained after complex conservation studies. With all certainty, the tracery discovered in Golub in 2005, both engraved in plaster and painted, confirms the great popularity of this decoration technique in the state of the Teutonic Knights, used not only on sacral edifices but also on secular and town buildings. In turn, the immense variety of the types of compositions attests to the fact that the basic purpose of such ornaments was to enhance the decorativeness and prestige of the embellished objects.






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  • mgr, absolwent Wydziału Sztuk Pięknych UMK w Toruniu (specjalność konserwatorstwo w Instytucie Zabytkoznawstwa i Konserwatorstwa UMK). Po ukończeniu studiów rozpoczął w 1999 r. pracę w Regionalnym Ośrodku Badań i Dokumentacji Zabytków w Toruniu, gdzie zajmuje się zabytkami architektury i budownictwa, historią konstrukcji ciesielskich oraz zagadnieniami z dziedziny urbanistyki miast zabytkowych.
  • P. Tuliszewski, Regionalny Osrodek Badan i Dokumentacji Zabytkow w Toruniu, ul. Rabianska 21, 87-100 Torun, Poland


Document Type

Publication order reference


CEJSH db identifier

YADDA identifier

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