CHOPIN 2010
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BROCHÓW

At the time of Fryderyk Chopin's birth, Żelazowa Wola belonged to the parish of Brochów, where, in Saint Roch's Church, the composer was baptised and where his parents and later his sister, Ludwika, got married.

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw conducted restoration work of this unique in Europe, 16th century church, which combined sacral and defence functions. The renovation and reconstruction work in the interior of the basilica was financed from the "Fryderyk Chopin" Operational Programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH IN BROCHÓW :

Present reconstruction

The modern project of the revitalization of the church in Brochów aimed at restoring the interior and the surrounding's state to the level corresponding to its cultural and historical rank. The remaining interior elements are exposed against the background of new arrangements smoothly fitting the previous style. The work has been financed from the "Fryderyk Chopin" Operational Programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage realized by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (NIFC) in Warsaw. Reinforcement of the historical bell tower was co-financed with the funds of the Self-Government of the Mazovieckie Voivodeship. The whole project was supervised by the Voivodship Office for Monument Protection in Warsaw, Department in Płock.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH IN BROCHÓW:

1. Polychromies 

During the complex renovation and arrangement work conducted between 2008 – 2009 in the framework of the programme "Fryderyk Chopin 2010", the interior of the temple regained its former glamour. The introduction stage comprised collecting, ordering and detailed analysis of the available archives (descriptions, photographs and pictures) and conducting renovation research aiming at finding relics and historical paintings. The walls of the main nave, side aisles, the gallery, and the presbytery underwent examination. With the aid of the photographic material, sample exposures were conducted in locations where the archive photographs represent surviving destruction fragments of the painting decoration. 

The conducted research work resulted in the conclusion that the whole interior of the church is covered with a thick sand and lime layer probably dating back to the period between wars when the church underwent reconstruction. Historical plasters and whitewash remained only in several places with difficult access (corners, window frames, naves). Broad, preserved parts visible on the archive photos documenting the post–war destruction were most probably removed during the consecutive reconstruction work at the beginning of the 20th century. The church walls also received polychromies, as relics of paintings with various shades of red colour were found. However, their scope and nature remains unknown. Large, well preserved part of the painting decoration was also found in the nave in the southern part of the presbytery. On the other hand, no traces of paintings were found on the ceiling of the apse, on walls and on the ceiling in the chapel in the southern tower. 

In general, during the work more than a dozen relics of the renaissance paintings were found and restored. They became a point of reference for the design and painting of the new ceiling decoration. During the development of the interior colour design, close following of the historical forms was avoided. Thus, the modern creation work with fragments of original renaissance decoration inscribed in it result from the approach. At the realisation stage, motifs typical for the polychromies present in churches from the mentioned Płock-Pułtusk group were added. Sylwester Piędziejewski designed the polychromies project and at the same time performed the work. Marcin Kozarzewski coordinated the conservation and arrangement work. 

2.  Remaining elements of the interior

The reconstruction work in the interior of the church was not limited to the attempt at restoring the polychromies. The whole surface of the temple’s floor was replaced. Both galleries were restored. On the basis of the archive photographs from the period before the World War I, the main altar was reconstructed in the form close to the one dating back to the years 1816 – 1915. The form of the architectural altar typical for the classicist period discretely fits the whole picture and does not constitute a dominating element. 

Dueto to missing archive material which could have constituted an example to follow, the side altars were designed anew. The adopted solutions were based on traditional forms of one-floor altarpiece, with square mensa and separate predella. Simplified arrangement, linear divisions and Doric order were applied unlike in the presbytery arrangement. Paintings for the new altars with themes congruent with the Church’s vocation and its historical tradition are based on the masters of Italian Renaissance (Guido Reni, Titian).

Moreover, the wooden Church pews were reconstructed and replaced. The new pews have been produced on the basis of the preserved photographs dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. 14 wooden sculptures, 3 oil paintings on canvas, the finial of the feretrum dating back to the 18th century, 6 epitaphs and memorial plaques (including one of them found during work in the tower), elements of the altar of Passion Fathers (pl. oo. Pasjonistów), the stone figures of the Saint Roch and the Mother of God with the Child underwent conservation work. 

3.   Renovation work – outside

Irrespective of work conducted inside, the external walls of the church underwent renovation together with the tower and the defence walls. Window trims were reconstructed, just like missing bricks, deteriorating elements of the front elevation and walls were reinforced. In case of the defence walls, conservation work comprised also the earth work. The church’s bell tower underwent thorough conservation work. The roof, walls and the old wooden doors of the building were renovated, the interior was prepared for the bells to be fitted. 

Christine Dalnoky, a renowned French landscape designer, develops a revitalization project of the 19th century park in Brochów for the Polish National Fryderyk Chopin Institute. According to her design, the park will have rural landscape, historical and ecological features. The whole conception will fit the system of local roads, where among others bicycle paths and tourist infrastructure will be developed in cooperation with the Brochów municipality.

In order for the park to be prepared for its revitalisation, the NIFC is conducting greenery grooming work such as forest clearance concerning dead trees, clearance of the undergrowth and the brushwood opening new landscape perspectives to the lakes created in the Bzura River's old riverbed.  

At the same time, the Dawidczyk i Partnerzy architectural atelier is developing the project of adaptation and reconstruction of the mansion in Brochów located in the central part of the park. The restored building will have guestrooms, café and multifunctional rooms dedicated also to exhibitions. 

 

More information at the Fryderyk Chopin Institute’s website.

Photographs