1(7)/2000, p. 61

Wojciech Brzezowski

Texture treatment and colour of Baroque elevations in Silesia

    Fragmentariness of research and the scantiness of scientific literature on contemporary architectural facture treatment and colour, significantly hinders conservatory works and more than once leads to errenous conclusions. The aim of this article is to bring to notice the especially interesting period in the history of transformations of colour and facture treatment solutions constituted by the Baroque.
    The dominant tendency of those times to bring out the elevation surface, with, at the same time, endeavours to imitate Italian prototypes was, as it seems, the main stimulus which caused devel-opment techniques in the elaboration of plaster facture treatment. The palace in Żagań was one of the earliest and the most representative examples illustrating this phenomenon – its elevations made almost wholly of plaster have a variety of stone wall types’ imitations. The attractiveness of this solution is manifested in the imitations of the Żagań residence in neighbouring buildings (mansions in Broniszów, Lasocin and Chotków).
    To diversify the elevation facture treatment, the surface of fresh plaster was grooved or punched. The latter method, used on a wider scale on the elevations of the monastery in Lubiąż, occurs fairly often up to the of the end of the 20th century. The elevations of monasteries in Henryków and Kamieniec Ząbkowicki are exceptional with relation to the facture treatment technique as well as colour conceptions. The elevation surface is varied through the application of plaster rings on to its face, the corner rustication was punched, and the areas of cartouches and under-the-window panels were enriched by inlaid work of glass pieces in the plaster face. A rich colour solution was obtained mainly through applying plasters coloured en masse, and some elevation fragments were painted. Baroque colours depended, above all, on the accessibility of dyes, and the symbolism of hues also had its meaning. Colour usually played a role lesser in meaning to the decorations, it strengthened the three-dimensionality of architectonic articulation and intensified the decorative art, however, fairly numerous is the group of buildings where on a smooth wall surface illusory architectural divisions were painted (the castles in Otmuchów and Rudnica, and the mansion in Lisi Kąt).
    The texture treatment solutions were supplemented by colour, especially intensive in the 17th century. Up to the first quarter of the 18th century there predominates painting with a darker colour, most often red, of the articulations while the background usually remains lighter, usually white. This principle is turned a-round in the 18th century, i.e. the background is darker and the articulation lighter. The palette of hues succumbs to gradual weakening, simplification is also noticeable in the facture treatment solutions.
    The examples described are the result of only a preliminary reconnaissance, which proves the necessity and purposefulness of carrying out further research on contemporary colour and texture treatment of elevations.