Krasiński Palace

Palace of the Commonwealth
Pałac Krasińskich (Polish)

Krasiński Palace, view from the gardens
General information
Architectural style Baroque
Town or city Warsaw
Country Poland
Construction started 1677
Completed 1683
Demolished 1944
Client Jan Dobrogost Krasiński
Design and construction
Architect Tylman Gamerski

The Krasiński Palace (Polish: Pałac Krasińskich, otherwise known as Palace of the CommonwealthPałac Rzeczypospolitej), is a baroque palace in Warsaw, Poland. It is located on Krasiński Square (Plac Krasińskich).


Krasiński Palace, 1770. Painting by Bernardo Bellotto.

The palace was built in 1677–83 for the Voivode of Płock, Jan Dobrogost Krasiński, according to design by Tylman Gamerski. It was decorated with pediment reliefs showing the triumph of the legendary "ancestor" of the Ślepowron and Korwin Polish clans, the Roman commander Manius Valerius Maximus Corvinus Messalla (263 BC) and sculptural work, all by Andreas Schlüter.[1] Jan Dobrogast Krasinski was a Warsaw starost, crown ‘referendarz’ (a royal clerk) and Plock voivode (Plock provincial governor). He was a descendant of an old Mazovia sentors’ family, the minister’s son and the heir to a large fortune. After his father’s death he wished to have a magnificent residence in the capital city which was to fulfill his excessive political ambitions that, however, had not been fulfilled and to show his enormous pride in his family, which made him cultivate and develop a 16th-century legend about the antique origin and alleged royal connections of his family. Mr Krasinki knew the French culture, and he was clearly interested in art so that this building was created by the most outstanding artists staying in Poland on his order. He kept a detailed accountancy book from which we can learn about the course of the works on the building. The whole idea was realized according to the design of the great architect Tylman from Gameren. He was of Dutch origin, educated in Italy, and he was brought to Poland by the Lubomirski family. He made a large number of various designs for Lubomirski Family, the Royal Family, the representatives of different noblemen and gentry families as well as for the Church and Orders. Some Warsaw architects were also employed to build the palace as building contractors or as suppliers of materials or to control the master craftsmen, bricklayers or artisans. These people were Joseph Bellotti, Jacob Solari, Izydor Affaita and Maderni. The main role in decorating the palace was played by a Gdansk sculptor, Andrew Schluter, who had cooperated with Tylman before. The first floor porte-fenêtre (vertical French door/window) was crowned with a cartouche supported by two angels bearing the founder's monogram JK. It had many baroque decorations inside. The frescoes were made by Jan III Sobieski's court painter Michelangelo Palloni.[1] Among his notable works in the palace, most worth mentioning are the plafond and frescoes in the supraportes (the space between the portal and ceiling, usually richly decorated) of the palace's vestibule. Moulding which remain in vestibule and partly in the stairwell, also the heads of pilasters or festoons on external elevations made of stucco as well as the armorial cartouche of the façade from the garden side were made by unknown artists under the watchful eye of said architect as well as under supervision of the stuccoer Joseph Belloti. The paintings in the vestibule not existing anymore, mainly the plafond and some fragments of murals in supra porta that remained after the last war were painted by Michael Palloni. The interiors were partially finished in 1699. Other paintings by Albrecht Dürer, Antonio da Correggio, Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens are no longer present.[2]

The palace, actually the palace-garden complex was created on the vast area, hardly developed at that time, between Dluga Street and Swietojerska Street in the place of the old manor house with garden that belonged to Mr Krasinski. The owner, while having the new palace being built, bought some surrounding plots, what made possible to create a vast complex. The building works started in 1677, but in the 1682 the main part of the building shell was ready already. Finally the building and the decorations of the palace were completed in 1695. According to Gamerski's conception, the palace was intended as a French style palace entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden) with cour d'honneur, two symmetrical outbuildings, parterre garden (à la française) with three radial alleys and a palace in the center of the axis, but it was never fully accomplished.

In 1765 the palace was purchased by the Rzeczpospolita (the Polish State) as a seat of the Treasury Commission. After a fire in 1783 it was partly rebuilt inside according to Domenico Merlini's design.[1] During the interwar period, the palace housed the Supreme Court of Poland.

The palace was burned down and demolished by the Germans during the World War II.[3][4] It was later rebuilt. Today it is a part of the Polish National Library's Special Collections Section (Manuscripts and Old Prints) from the Załuski Library (only 5% of former rich collection located in the palace, which was deliberately destroyed by the Germans after the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising in October 1944).[5][6]

The building's facade features sculptures by Andreas Schlüter. The decorations inside the building were designed in the 1780s by Domenico Merlini and were restored after World War II. Nearby there is the Krasiński Garden, accessible to the public since 1768. The elevation of the building has nineteen axis with the avant-corps in the middle having five axis and the avant-corps in the corners having three axis. The avant-corpses in the middle of both elevations are dominant and they are characterized by giant triangle abutments filled with bas-reliefs. On the avant-corps in the corners of the main elevation there were balustrade attics covering the separate roofs of these avant-corps. They counterbalance the middle abutment. The façade portal of the courtyard was decorated by freestanding columns in Tuscan order and the armorial cartouches placed as their continuation as well as wide-stretching fruit vases.

The assumption of the originator and investor the Krasinski palace was to make a strictly antique palace. The scope of this assumption, in spite of the facts it was not realized to full extent, makes us treat this Warsaw residence as a new type of residential building, based on the idea of the Palace of Versailles. This type can be called a baroque suburban monarch residence. The architecture of the building is vastly superior to the Royal Palace of Wilanow and other palaces in the Warsaw surroundings. In 1730 a learned Saxon physician Erndtel wrote about the Krasinski Palace that “it is considered by all experts in architecture as an absolutely unique building”.


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Krasiński Palace.


[7] [8] [9] [10] [11]


  1. 1 2 3 Stefan Kieniewicz, ed. (1984). Warszawa w latach 1526-1795 (Warsaw in 1526-1795) (in Polish). Warsaw. ISBN 83-01033-23-1.
  2. "Krasiński Palace". eGuide / Treasures of Warsaw on-line. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  3. Krystyna Kreyser. "Pałac Krasińskich". (in Polish). "Puls Warszawy" No. 10. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  4. "Plac Krasińskich i ulica Długa". (in Polish). August 1998. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
  5. Wanda M. Rudzińska, Straty w zbiorach Gabinetu Rycin Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie w latach II wojny światowej
  6. Tomasz Stańczyk (2 October 2004). "Blizny i relikty". (in Polish). Rzeczpospolita, No. 232. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
  7. Mossakowski, Stanisław (1972). Pałac Krasińskich. Warsaw: PWN.
  8. Mossakowski, Stanisław (2012). Tylman from Gameren. Kraków: DiG.
  9. The Encyclopedia of Warsaw. PWN. 1994.
  10. Putkowska, Jolanta (1991). The Architecture of Warsaw in XVII century. PWN.
  11. Miłobędzki, Adam (1980). The Polish Architecture in the XVII century. PWN.

Coordinates: 52°14′57.59″N 21°0′13.72″E / 52.2493306°N 21.0038111°E / 52.2493306; 21.0038111

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