Kazimierz Dolny

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Polish town on the Vistula, c. 40 km west of Lublin in Małopolska (Lesser Poland), lying between loess hills with gorges cutting through them. In the first half of the 14th century a royal town replaced the former settlement; on a hill to the north-east of the town a cylindrical tower, part of a royal castle, survives from that period. Nearer the town, on a small ridge, are the ruins of a second castle (first half of the 16th century); Gothic and Renaissance in style, it was rebuilt in the first half of the 17th century. The town's most magnificent development occurred in connection with the growth of Vistulan trade, particularly in corn, from the late 16th century to the mid-17th. The buildings were financed by the upper middle classes, and they represent a regional version of Polish late Renaissance style, with Mannerist elements. The parish church near the rectangular market place is a remarkable artistic achievement by members of the Lublin builders’ guild. The nave and tower were built in 1586–9; the presbytery was erected in 1610–13 by the Lublin mason Jakub Balin (fl 1590–1623), its vaulting covered with stucco decoration typical of the time and region; along the nave are two memorial chapels of the Kazimierz bourgeoisie: the Górski Chapel (1625–9) and the Radzik Chapel (1646–53), both with cupolas. Also in the church are Mannerist wood-carvings, including one of the oldest organ surrounds in Poland (1607–20). Two notable houses in the market place belonged to the rich tradesmen from the Przybyła family (both 1615, one ‘under the sign of St Christopher’, the other ‘under the sign of St Nicholas’), with arcades and lofty attics and façades covered with low reliefs that include human figures, animals and motifs drawn from Dutch patterns. On Senatorska Street the building erected c. 1635 for Bartłomiej Celej has sculpted window decoration and a lofty attic in Kazimierz style, like the window of the Górski Chapel, the gable of the hospital of the Holy Spirit and the portal of the church at nearby Gołab. In the suburbs along the Vistula there are a few surviving granaries dating to the first half of the 17th century.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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