EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MONASTIC COMPLEXES OF THE REFORMATI ORDER IN LESSER POLAND AND THE RUTHENIAN PROVINCES
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In less than two centuries (1623-1772) the Polish Reformats built 60 monasteries inhabited by 1345 monks. The Reformats of Lesser Poland decided on an aisleless building, without a tower, and with a narrower and elongated presbytery with a straight-ended termination divided in the middle by the main altar, behind which a monastery choir was located. A separated by a semicircularly chancel-arch presbytery was lower, most often two-buy, while the nave was usually three bay. The architecture of the interior was simple with modest decoration. The churches differed only in the scale of decorativeness and types of ornaments. Monasteries were constructed on a quadrilateral plan around an internal courtyard. A church formed the fourth wing of the complex. The principle of rigorous poverty limited the architect's freedom both with regard to the spatial layout and the elements of architectural decoration. Monastic complexes created a unique group with homogenous forms and artistic programme, and the purpose of utility, regardless of the location of foundations. This tradition was continued in the 18th c., but all new Reformati churches had richer interior and the exterior decoration. The distinctive feature of the 18th c. interior was a three-axial altar with the middle wider than the two side axes. There was a carved crucifix in the central part, and in the niches of side parts, the figures of Our Lady of Sorrows, St John the Evangelist or other Franciscan saints. Another distinctive characteristic of the Reformati architecture were precincts that enclosed the church, situated opposite the main entrance and bounded with a wall in which, from the 18th c. on, the shrines of Stations of the Cross were built. The majority of the complexes built in the 18th c. were by architects of greater or lesser scale: Paolo Fontana, Thomas Bellotti, Giovanni Baptista Bellotti, Józef Martyn of Kety and Antoni Castelli, Giovanni Columbani. Among the few known monks who worked as carpenters, woodcarvers and painters were: Michal Dobkowski, Antoni Fraczkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz, Tomasz Hoffman, working in Kraków, as well as Walenty Chartynski and Wojciech Wnukiewicz, working in Kazimierz Dolny.
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