Zaplecze materiałowe kamieniarstwa i rzeźbiarstwa w XVIII w. w Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodów

Michał Wardzyński


The base of material supply for stonemasonry and sculpture in the 18th century in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
A b s t r a c t. The artistic culture and art of the 18th century of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth have earned due recognition and been subject to first systematic studies only in the past 30 years. Considering the preliminary nature of the study, focus has been placed on the most important issues. The summary discusses the share of local deposits and workshops in the materials and masonry market of Central and Eastern Europe. The 18th century was clearly marked by the cosmopolitan movement, promoted in the circles of the royal courts of the Wettins and Stanisław August Poniatowski, based on the French and Italian models of Versailles and Rome, respectively, whose principal sculptural medium was marmo bianco from Carrara. Due to the pressure exerted by that elitist centre in the capital city of Warsaw, local artists sought to imitate the material, which was expensive and difficult to access due to sea freight costs, in more affordable stones covered with a valorizing layer of lime or stucco mortar. As in the 17th century, the Baltic ports continued to be the outposts of West European influence, and local artists primarily used a wide range of decorative rock, which was imported from Italia, France and Spain, both parts of the Netherlands, the Reich and England, as well as the Baltic isles. The influence of those centres reached as far as the central part of the Greater Poland Province, Kuyavia, and Mazovia. In Lesser Poland, Crown Rus’ and Podolia, there were numerous quarries of decorative rock and building stone, which thanks to favourable economic circumstances, project cooperation with professional architects, promotion methods developed in the 4th quarter of the 17th century, as well as a convenient transportation network (rafting down the Vistula in the Crown with connections to Rus’and Lithuania), have preserved their autonomy until the 1780s, successfully competing with artists from the capital city and the Baltic centres mentioned above. A major stage in the professionalization of the quarrying and masonry markets was the establishment of the Royal Marble Factory in Dębnik and Chęciny in 1787. In the 18th century, domestic centres lost their position as exporters of sculptural materials and works. Apart from the import of luxurious marble from Italia and Western Europe, there was a substantial rise in regional purchases of Lower Silesian marbles and sandstones to Greater Poland, which was cut off from the main transportation system due to the fact that the Vistula and the Warta basins were not connected.

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