Siedemnastowieczna polichromia kaplicy nowicjatu karmelitanek bosych w dawnym pałacu Kazanowskich w Warszawie
Seventeenth-century Polychrome in the Interior of the Novitiate Chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the Former Kazanowski Palace in Warsaw
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In the former Kazanowski Palace in Warsaw, transformed into a convent of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the latter half of the 17th century, in one of the rooms on the upper storey a rich set of polychromes was discovered under a layer of whitewash. They are composed of trompe-l’oeil decorations in the architectural divisions of the interior; fruit and floral festoons painted in grisaille; and of the decoration of a symmetrically composed acanthus mesh filling the ceiling panels. The architectural decoration is completed with quotes from the writings of St Teresa of Ávila and other Carmelite writers, given in Polish and preserved in fragments. Besides the architectural and ornamental decoration, the painterly décor of the interior is made up of a rich figural programme: St Joseph, St Teresa of Ávila, St John of the Cross, St Mary Magdalene, a kneeling Carmelite nun. The southern gable end of the interior is filled with a complex painterly composition showing a series of five scenes from the hagiographic legend of St Euphrosyne, undoubtedly being one of the richest painterly presentations of the saint’s hagiographic legend. A cohesive character of the painterly decoration of the interior, featuring a clear Carmelite undertone, undoubtedly points out to the fact that its creation was associated with the existence of the Carmelite Nunnery in the former Kazanowski Palace. In 1686, the nuns created a chapel of their novitiate in the room. The polychromes discovered in the interior of the novitiate chapel of the Carmelite Nuns in the former Kazanowski Palace constitute a unique and tremendously precious set, both artistically and iconographically. A similar arrangement of a convent chapel in the last quarter of the 17th century has no analogy in Polish art, also unquestionably constituting a rare example on the European scale.
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