1975 | 1 | 13-22
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Początki starożytnictwa i myśli konserwatorskiej w Polsce

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The second half of the 18th century, being a period of scientific and artistic patronage of Poland’s last King, Stanislaus Augustus, saw enormous and rapid growth of interest for the past. This process was closely linked with the steadily growing observance of traditions in the ancient Polish towns where in the 17th century were developing the historiography and iconography, but much more still in the gentry families in which were preferred the objects coming from old days and furnishing an evidence of their long history and importance. As an example of such an approach can be quoted the activities of Wacław Rzewuski, the Crown Great Hetman whose interest for history and literature is commonly known and who at the same time busily collected relics of the past as, for instance, ancient weapons, -works of art, books and the like. The first modern historical school in Poland had its roots in activities of the Commission of National Education. The syllabuses were prepared by the same Commission headed by A. Naruszewicz and as their foundation was adopted his „History of the Polish People” the narrative of which has been brought by the author to the year 1386. Ignacy Krasicki, Bishop of Warmia was in those days a representative of rational, historically inquiring approach toward relics of the past which he carefully protected at the same time giving his residence, at Lidzbark Warmiński as an example and on many occasions speaking against reconstructions of ancient buildings. Tadeusz Czacki, in 1791, lustrated the Wawel Castle in Cracow and presented a comprehensive programme of protective measures. He reasoned his programme by emphasising the national importance of this object recalling the better past days in Poland’s history. Along with rational approaches toward the relics of the past at the end of the 18th century a sentimental and romantic fashion aroused taking the form of admiration for ruins and ancient details becoming the inspiration for feelings and incentives for imagination. Throught demolitions carried out at the end of the 18th and early in the 19th century numerous old castles have been turned into picturesque ruins as was, for instance, the case with the so-called „Mice’s Tower” at Kruszwica or a large range of stone keeps and larger strongholds surviving in the territory of the Cracow—Częstochowa Jura or others. At the same time, however, in parks surrounding aristocratic residences, in full accordance with the commonly approved idea of Izabela Czartoryska dating from 1805, a number of artificially made romantic ruins has been erected whereas into façades of various buildings were built-in stone fragments coming from original old castles, churches, old town houses and so forth. As an example of this may be considered the „House of Archpriest” in Arkadia near Nieborów residence that was erected by S.B. Zug for Helene Radziwiłł in 1795 or the „Gothic House” at Puławy built by P. Aigner for I. Czartoryska in 1809. In that latter case within the house a collection of archaeological materials and historic relics was sited. The first list of Poland’s historic monuments was presented in 1816 by T. Święcki in his valuable book titled „The Description of the Ancient Poland” where at the same time quite a vast programme of protection of the „relics of past” has been outlined by the author. As an interesting contribution in the process of development of historical consciousness among the Polish people is to be considered the production of painters. On the leading places in that range stood M. Bacciarelli who was the author of a large collection of paintings on historic subjects designed for decoration of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and Z. Vogel to whom we should be grateful for his excellent collection of drawings illustrating the then, i.e. at the end of the 18th century, existing architectural monuments. There can be any doubt whatsoever that people who at the end of the 18th century have laid the found ations for the modem development of conservation and protection of historic monuments are fully deserving our gratitude.
Physical description
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