Polish Arts

Polish art, the name for the independent style variants that developed for the first time in the 14th century and which took on an emphatically national character around 1800.

Since the beginning in the 10th century, according to computergees, the art of Poland has been under changing influences from Central Europe and Italy.


The first medieval buildings are round chapels like those of Saints Felix and Adaukt (end of the 10th century) on Kraków’s Castle Hill. The St. Andrew’s Chapel in Kraków (beginning of the 12th century) and the collegiate churches in Opatów (11th century) and Tum bei Łęczyca (12th century) are very well preserved from the Romanesque architecture that lasted in Poland from around 1050 to 1250. The Romanesque sculptures represent in particular the bronze door of the Gnesen Cathedral (around 1170) from a previous building and the relief columns of the Trinity Church in Strzelno (12th century).


With the Gothic, which was brought into the country by the monastic orders in the middle of the 13th century and the v. a. shaped numerous Cistercian buildings, specific Polish building types emerged, including the cathedral in Kraków (1320–64) and a number of two-aisled churches based on the model of the collegiate church in Wiślica (after 1350–88). In addition, the Silesian architecture exerted an influence on the development of the Polish Gothic, especially in Lesser Poland. The planned urban development began, with the exception of the Teutonic Order, with Krakow in 1257. The tradition of wooden churches in the Tatra Mountains and the Carpathian Mountains extends from the 14th to the 18th century. From around the middle of the 14th century, brick buildings were built under German influence (Dom in Gnesen, 1342–1415); In addition to the architecture in the area of ​​the Teutonic Order, this also includes the Niedzica Castle in the High Tatras (14th – 15th centuries) and the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow (part of the Collegium Maius, around 1500). In Gothic painting, western, v. a. Bohemian influences with such an Eastern Byzantine stamp. The sculpture, initially represented almost exclusively by the royal tombs in Kraków Cathedral (14th and 15th centuries), was by V. Stoss (1477–96 in Cracow) led to a climax. The main work is the St. Mary’s altar (1477–89) carved for St. Mary’s Church; The tomb of King Casimir IV (1492) in the cathedralalso comesfrom Stoss. Other Nuremberg artists working in Krakow included H. von Kulmbach and H. Dürer. At the same time, the “Cracow (Sudeten) School” was formed, which produced numerous winged altars after 1450 (Wawel Cathedral in Cracow) and mixed western influences with local tradition (Altar of Mary’s death, triptych in the former collegiate church of Bodzentyn, 1508). In the 15th century, wall painting was under the influence of Silesian and Bohemian in Greater Poland, while Dutch and North German influences shaped its appearance in the north.


She found under Sigismund I (⚭  in 2nd marriage with Bona Sforza, who was born in Milan , * 1494, † 1557) Entrance in Poland (»Golden Age«). He called Italian builders to Poland who built the royal residence on Castle Hill in Krakow (1502–36) and the Sigismund Chapel at the cathedral (1517–33). Their style was adopted in secular feudal architecture: castles in Baranów Sandomierski (1579–1605) and Krasíczyn (1580–1614). Wealthy citizens mainly adapted the Renaissance as a decoration system that was pre-screened for the building (for example the »Polish attic« used for fire protection, among other things on cloth halls and patrician houses in Krakow). Specific Polish elements are the elevation of the »piano nobile« and roof shapes that differ from Italian fashion (Wawel Castle in Krakow). It was not until the end of the 16th century that Italian painters came to Poland. In the late Renaissance, the northern and eastern areas of Poland were also more closely involved in the development of art. A special national style emerged (e.g. the ideal city of Zamość, founded in 1580). From around 1650 until the end of the 18th century, v. a. in portrait painting, a partly conservative, partly orientalizing tendency which, with its naive display of splendor, accommodated the tastes of its aristocratic clients (“Sarmatian style”).

Baroque and Classicism

Baroque architecture was initially shaped as the »Jesuit Baroque« by the example of Il Gesù in Rome, v. a. the Jesuit Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Krakow (1596–1619). The Dutchman Tylman van Gameren (* around 1632, † 1706) worked in the new capital Warsaw. the Krasiński Palace with a garden (1677–82) and some churches, e. B. the Capuchin Church (1683–92); he also designed the collegiate church of St. Anna in Kraków (1689–1703). Van Gameren represented the stricter north German direction of the baroque. He worked several times with A. Schlueter. The center of artistic life became that of Augustin Vincenti Locci (* around 1650, † around 1730) The Wilanów estate near Warsaw was converted into a castle from 1677–96. In the 18th century a cosmopolitan circle of artists gathered around the court in Warsaw (including M. Bacciarelli, B. Bellotto, J.-P. Norblin de la Gourdaine). In addition to Italian, French influences also became increasingly effective (»Saxony axis« and Czapskipalais in Warsaw). The century ended in a synthesis of Baroque and Classicism, the “Stanislaus August Classicism”, which lasted from around 1760 to around 1840 (including the buildings by D. Merlini).

Polish Arts