Dekoracje architektury Starego Miasta w Olsztynie
Decorations of the architecture of the Old Town in Olsztyn
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In 1945, the liberating Red Army caused enormous devastations to the Old Town in Olsztyn. Damaged, burnt and destroyed buildings – that was the picture of the liberation of the city, but also an unusual challenge for those who started to settle Olsztyn already from February 1945. In further years, the city was gradually cleared of debris and a non-uniform reconstruction process was eventually started, referring both to historicist (neo-Baroque) forms and the broadly understood modernism. By the beginning of the 1960s the Old Town in Olsztyn was reconstructed to a large extent. Among people engaged in the reconstruction of the Old Town there were also artists from Olsztyn. Their task was to arrange colours of selected objects and to design and prepare decorative motifs. Most of the artists living in the city participated in the performance of the above works, including Andrzej Samulowski, Bolesław Wolski, Maria Szymańska, Eugeniusz Kochanowski, Henryk Oszczakiewicz, Roman Ilkiewicz, Ryszard Wachowski, Maria Wachowska and Hieronim Skurpski. Works of those artists can still be seen today on the Olsztyn Market Square, Staromiejska, Prosta and Staszica streets, and we can also encounter single items on streets going beyond the area of the old historic Olsztyn. The thematic scope of the Old Town works oscillates around the subject of human labour. It can be categorised into several groups: the first of them comprises activities connected with the Warmia region and shown in a folk fashion. The second group is related to motifs referring to the intended use of buildings, which illustrate their functions connected with work and daily activities. The third group comprises geometrical motifs that complement figural decorations or occur as independent decorations. Another group represents the free use of plant motifs. We can also distinguish single independent decorations that are not linked thematically to the above, but refer to the Warmia and Masuria region. This undoubtedly interesting collection of works from Olsztyn is worth special attention. Inspired presumably by the Warsaw Old Town, it has become an integral part of the reconstructed city. It is also a testimony to the involvement of artists in the aesthetic aspect of the reconstruction. The prevailing technique is sgraffito, which is the most suitable technique for works of this kind because of its durability; the latter is best reflected by the fact that after more than 50 years decorations are still lucid and retain their colour. Painting & sculpture works in Olsztyn that are of interest to us are not covered by conservation protection; the same goes for most of the buildings decorated by them. As objects not entered into the register of monuments, they are handled without restraint, deformed or even destroyed fragmentarily or entirely. However, it is impossible to ignore their artistic values or grounds for their protection.
- doktorant w Instytucie Historii Sztuki UKSW w Warszawie, nauczyciel historii sztuki. Zakres badań: historia architektury, sztuka i historia Warmii i Mazur, problemy konserwatorskie w sztuce sakralnej
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