|Palace on the Water
Pałac Łazienkowski (Polish)
Palace's northern façade.
|Town or city||Warsaw|
|Construction started||before 1683|
|Client||Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, Stanisław August Poniatowski|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Domenico Merlini (1775-1795)|
The Łazienki ([waˈʑɛŋki]) Palace (Polish: pałac Łazienkowski)—in English, the Baths Palace; also called the Palace on the Water, or Water Palace (Polish: pałac Na Wodzie), and the Palace on the Isle (Polish: Pałac Na Wyspie)—is a Baroque palace in Warsaw's Royal Baths Park.
The building began as a bathhouse for Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, owner of adjacent Ujazdów Castle. After 1678 the Lubomirski palace complex in Ujazdów, was enriched with four park pavilions: Arcadia, Hermitage, Frascati and the largest of them the Bathhouse. The marble building was constructed before 1683 according to design by Tylman Gamerski. Finished in 1689, it was intended to serve as a bathhouse, habitable pavilion and a garden grotto. Interiors of the newly built structure were embellished with profuse stucco decorations, also designed by Gamerski. Among the decorations were water deities (like Nereus), surrounding the main decorational feature of the pavilion - the fountain. Other chambers had richly decorated plafonds and supraportes, while the walls were covered with Delft tiles. The façades and interiors were decorated with sculptures, reliefs, Latin inscriptions (Musa Dryas, Nymphaeque boves et Pastor Apollo / Hic maneant, fugiat diva Minerva domus - Muse, dryad and nymphs, bullocks and Apollo the shepherd let stay here, the divine Minerva let disdain this house on the portal of the southern façade) and Lubomirski coat of arms - Szreniawa.
Stanisław August Poniatowski decided to convert it into private quarters, and it was remodeled by Domenico Merlini between 1764 to 1795. During World War II, the Germans drilled holes into the walls for explosives but never got around to blowing up the palace. Afterwards the palace served as a barracks.
The palace is built on an artificial island that divides the lake into two parts, a smaller northern lake and a larger southern one. The palace is connected to the surrounding park by two Ionic colonnaded bridges. The façades are unified by an entablature carried by giant Corinthian pilasters that link its two floors and are crowned by a balustrade that bears statues of mythologic figures. The north façade is relieved by a central pedimented portico. On the south front, a deep central recess lies behind a screen of Corinthian columns.
On the palace's ground floor is the Bacchus Room, decorated with 17th-century Dutch blue tiles and a painting from Jacob Jordaens' workshop depicting Silenus and Bacchantes. The 1778 ceiling painting, Bacchus, Ceres, Venus and Cupid by Jan Bogumił Plersch, was destroyed by German forces in 1944. The Rotunda, designed by Domenico Merlini, occupies the central portion of the palace. Decorated in yellow and white marble, with figures of the Polish kings, it is one of the most important examples of neoclassical decoration within the palace. It leads to the Bath Room and the Ballroom. On the other side of the Rotunda is the lower Picture Gallery, which contains minor works by Rubens and Rembrandt, and the chapel. Also on the ground floor is the Dining Room in which the famous Thursday Dinners took place, to which King Stanisław August Poniatowski invited leading Freemasons and other notables of the Polish Enlightenment. Its furniture and paintings are in the Classicist style.
The Solomon Room, one of the largest of the palace's ground-floor interiors, was embellished with a series of paintings depicting the History of Solomon. It comprised six paintings: The Dream of Solomon (plafond), The Queen of Sheba before Solomon, The Judgment of Solomon, Consultation with King Hiram (friezes), Dedication of the Temple and Solomon's Sacrifice (walls). They were executed for King Stanisław Augustus in 1791–93 by Marcello Bacciarelli and depicted the monarch himself as the biblical king. All these paintings were deliberately and completely destroyed by the Germans in 1944 (burned in a fire before the palace) during the preparations to blow up the building. On the first floor are the royal apartments, the upper picture gallery, the balcony room, the king's cabinet, the royal bed chambers, the cloakroom, and the officer's room.
- (Polish) "Lubomirski's Bathhouse". Varsovia.pl. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- Analogously to the title of Handel's "Water Music" — in Polish, "Muzyka na wodzie".
- (Polish) "Historia". Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- (Polish) "Pokój Bachusa". Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- (Polish) "Royal Baths Museum". culture.pl. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- (Polish) "Sala Salomona - Palac na Wyspie". Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie (Royal Baths Museum). Retrieved 2010-02-19.
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