2010 | 1-4 | 85-94
Article title

Konserwacja obiektów sztuki sakralnej Kresów Wschodnich Rzeczypospolitej

Title variants
Conservation of objects of sacred art in the eastern borderlands
Languages of publication
The tumultuous history of World War II along with its political outcomes have not only lead to moving borders of the Republic of Poland, but also to losing a considerable part of its territory. The lands which were the source and the breeding ground for multicultural tangible and intangible values remained beyond the eastern border. While direct military activities did not lead to the destruction of many temples, the period of fratricidal combat, particularly in Volhynia, fuelled chiefly with hatred and anger, caused vast destruction. Another period was the rule of the Soviet authorities, whose main goals included fighting religion, as well as its entire tangible heritage. The forms and the intensity of fighting varied: temples were being closed, blown up or transformed into factories, power stations, prisons, bakeries, warehouses (usually for artificial fertilizers, oftentimes stored loose), mills, stables, department stores, gymnasiums, offices, apartments, concert halls, or museums of atheism and religion; this was connected with the removal of crosses, towers and domes. Frequently, reconstructions were so extensive that today it is very difficult to recognise that they were once sacred buildings. The furnishing of temples, which often was at the highest artistic level in the world, suffered the cruellest fate. Usually, it was barbarically removed and burnt. Immense geopolitical changes in East-Central Europe in the early 1990’s brought independence to many countries, which undertook a number of regulations enabling the return of temples to their rightful owners. This process, very vigorous in the first period, has almost ceased in recent years. Restoring fairly original appearance to the recovered temples required a huge sacrifice, and oftentimes heroism. First of all, protective, repair, and construction works had to be conducted, in many instances without adequate knowledge. The restoration of the sacred interior designs of the temples was done on a random basis. While the way of proceeding with the restorations was somewhat justified at the time, the activities in recent years, including among others, the inappropriate reconstruction of furnishing, have resulted in a loss of the last remaining values. They have been replaced with mediocrity and tackiness. Professional restoration works have been carried out only in few cases. The reasons for this are varied, on the one hand, among others, the lack of funds, the lack of adequate identification and the preparation of objects in such a vast territory, and on the other hand, the lack of partners. Presently, works on the appropriate professional level are being conducted almost in every scope and discipline at several dozen temples. They are carried out by highly experienced specialists from Polish schools. The works which have been conducted for the last 22 years in the 17th century collegiate church in Zhovkva, Ukraine, constitute one of such exceptions. They have been carried out by students and graduates of Polish schools: the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, as well as the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń at the faculty of conservation and restoration of sculpture and architectural structure, and occasionally conservation and restoration of painting, or historic textiles. The works have been conducted in various forms: as holiday internships (month long) or MA theses (in case of the Academy in Warsaw), and the most difficult conservation issues are solved by international committees of specialists and are rendered by certified conservators and restorers of works of art based on the contract for specific task (it has only been several years that this form has contributed to a significant acceleration of the state of completing the restoration of the temple), and also as a form of volunteer work. This last form of activity (increasingly popular) requires highly qualified specialists who undertake full responsibility for the conducted works. Moreover, specific regulations exist which pertain to carrying out restoration works on historical monuments. The assistance, especially financial, of the Department of National Heritage, existing as a part of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, or the Centre of Polish Cultural Heritage Abroad at the Association “Polish Community”, as well as the Senate of the Republic of Poland and various foundations, has decidedly increased the number of works rendered on the highest professional level in the world serving the preservation of heritage of the eastern borderlands. It is, regrettably, still “a drop in the ocean”.
Physical description
  • absolwent Wydziału Konserwacji i Restauracji Dzieł Sztuki Akademii Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie (1984 r.), pracuje w Katedrze Konserwacji i Restauracji Rzeźby Kamiennej i Elementów Architektury warszawskiej ASP, gdzie jest kierownikiem Pracowni Technologii Konserwatorskiej i Inwentaryzacji. Autor ponad 300 raportów, opinii i ekspertyz konserwatorskich dotyczących pojedynczych obiektów zabytkowych oraz całych zespołów zabytków w ponad 20 krajach świata, jak również licznych realizacji konserwatorskich indywidualnych i zespołowych zarówno na terenie Polski, jak i za granicą, w Austrii, Białorusi, Belgii, Chile, Egipcie, Francji, Libanie, Litwie, Łotwie, Rosji, Szwajcarii, Turcji, Ukrainie. Autor szeregu wystąpień dotyczących ratowania polskiego dziedzictwa kulturowego i dziedzictwa kulturowego mniejszości narodowych na konferencjach krajowych i międzynarodowych, a także kilkunastu publikacji z zakresu konserwacji. Brał też udział w wielu wystawach konserwatorskich.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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