Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Krakow inside out

Bask in an eternal summer

executive summary by darmansjah

KRAKOW’S white-grey winter gives it the look of a city cloaked in pigeon feathers, but at the Franciscan Church I find a palette worthy of a bird of paradise. One of the city’s 120 religious buildings, the 13th-century church has a stunning art nouveau interior designed by Stanislaw Wyspianski. When the church was renovated in 1895, the Polish artist covered the walls in a blaze of color, painting over-sized water lilies and pansies in purple, green, yellow and orange. Looking at the vivid panels, I an transported to a sun-drenched picnic on the edges of a bluebell wood. Bright, winter lights is filtered through an extraordinary stained glass window, which depicts the bearded figure of God surrounded by vibrant flames of turquoise and inky blue.

Wyspianski’s imaginative designs also decorate the windows of Krakow historic St Mary’s Basilica, the imposing Gothic church adjacent to the main market square. Inside, the vaulted ceiling rises above me like a giant Faberge egg, tis cerulean blue panels overlaid by hundreds of golden stars. The church’s interior is a gloriously assembled patchwork of styles: blazing pink and red stone panels dotted with gilt-cloaked religious figurines and an imposing organ, heavy with pewter-grey pipes.

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