HENRYKA MARCONIEGO PROJEKTY RESTAURACJI KATEDRY W PŁOCKU
PROJECTS FOR THE RESTORATION OF PŁOCK CATHEDRAL BY HENRYK MARCONI
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The economic boom during the period of the Kingdom of Poland stimulated the development of construction. The state authorities of the period attached importance to a programme intent on introducing order into urban space. An essential determinant was the postulate of the aesthetic and representative appearance of the most important objects and their closest surrounding. From the very beginning of the Kingdom of Poland, Płock, the capital of the voivodeship of Płock and subsequently the Płock gubernia, was one of the most prominent towns in the country. The most outstanding accent of its architectural outline was the Renaissance cathedral built in 1532-1535, later frequently redesigned and thus deprived of its stylistic uniformity. In the course of one of the many repairs a Classical portico was added to the façade. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, the building represented a highly unsatisfactory technical state and demanded immediate repairs. The voivodeship authorities treated the renovation of the cathedral as a priority since they regarded the edifice to be a valuable monument of mediaeval origin. First projects for the restoration of PΠock cathedral were prepared in 1842 by Michał Jakub Miklaszewski, the gubernia architect. The designs planned to exchange the interior outfitting and did not interfere in the outer appearance of the church by limiting themselves only to repairing the walls. The Miklaszewski projects were rejected by the central authorities, and in 1843 Henryk Marconi – a celebrated architect and a member of the Government Commission for Internal and Spiritual Affairs, proposed new schemes. Marconi opposed the conception of exchanging the interior outfitting of the cathedral, which he regarded as valuable, and proposed transferring some of the side altars in order to display the aesthetic qualities of the inter-nave arcades concealed by them. He also designed new stucco decorations of the presbytery vault and side walls in order to grant the outer appearance of the cathedral decisively Renaissance features. On the outside, Marconi planned to remove the Classical portico and to endow the building with a more cohesive look. He also decided to apply the rundbogenstil form in order to create a new façade in the belief that such stylistics would best evoke the “ancient” character of the building which his contemporaries believed to have been of twelfth-century origin. The Marconi projects were approved by the Construction Council - the superior body entitled to control all construction undertakings in the country. Nonetheless, there were never implemented due to insufficient funds. The designs remain proof of Marconi’s great personal culture and comprise an interesting contribution to research into the nineteenth- century restoration of historical monuments in the Kingdom of Poland.
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