1(7)/2000, p. 19

Ewa Łużyniecka

Colouring and facture treatment in mediaeval architecture of Cistercian manasteries in Poland

    The subject of this paper is the analysis of colouring and fac-ture treatment of mediaeval Cistercian manasteries in Poland. It was performed on the basis of the author’s research carried out in the Cistercian coenobites of the Lubiąż filiation. In the remaining cases the starting point of the analysis were the author’s observations and the publications and of other authors who had investigated Cistercian polychromies, often non-existent at present.
    Despite the feeble state of preservation of the Cistercian architecture colour decoration, several general conclusions may be presented. The colouring of the outer elevations was planned first of all. At the end of the 12th and in the 13th century the Cistercian façades were one-coloured (gray) or two-coloured (gray and brown or red and white). In the red and white elevations the third hue (gray) appeared at the end of the 13th century in the form of architectonic polychromy. From the beginning of the 14th century, with the use of the brick arrangement with over burned bricks, three-coloured elevations become common, but sometimes mo-nochromatic plastered façades also appear. Further colours (turquoise, yellow) are used from the end of the 14th century, together with the introduction of glazed elevation bricks.
    Interior elevations of Cistercian buildings (the most well preserved come from the 14th century) were designed in accordance with the principle of contrasting the flat and two-coloured, quite wall background with richly sculptured and multicoloured architectonic details. It may also be presumed that the colour design model of Cistercian architecture did not depend upon displaying that which today seems to us most attractive, i.e. the severity and nobleness of natural materials. If it was only possible, the stone and brick architecture was covered with coloured, not always precise, painting, and sometimes by an astonishing arrangement of houes.