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Andrzej Laskowski

Cracow University of Economics

Abstract:

The neo-Gothic Franciscan church in Jasło was built between 1903 and 1904 to the design of Michał Łużecki, a Lviv architect, who also designed several neo-Gothic elements in the interior. It was the only sacred structure outside Lviv designed by the architect. Almost completely destroyed in WWII, it was a modest neo-Gothic church, consisting of a tower, a nave, and a chancel enclosed on three sides; there was no transept. Churches of this type were popular in Germany, and some examples are to be found in Poland as well.

Studies suggest that Michał Łużecki was an architect of his times, straddling historicism and modernism. His knowledge and inventiveness allowed him to draw from a variety of neo-stylistic forms; his creative output includes designs inspired by the Middle Ages (the neo-Gothic church in Jasło) and modern architecture (the neo-baroque Blessed Virgin Fountain in Lviv), as well as free interpretations of historical forms, in which a stylistic costume is used to serve a modern function (e.g. the water tower at the Eastern Trade Fair in Lviv). Łużecki was equally skilful in the use of various materials, such as stone, brick and wood (e.g. the celebrated Hunting Pavillion at the Fair). He did not shy from conservation tasks. Deep down, however, he was an artist on a constant quest for new means of expression, conscious of the impending artistic breakthrough; the designs and projects he undertook in the 20th century were already influenced by the spirit of art nouveau. Throughout his life, Łużecki enjoyed widespread esteem and authority, first as an employee and later as the director of the Urban Construction Office in Lviv, and a jury member in numerous architecture contests.

Keywords: architecture, Galicia, Jasło, Lviv, Michał Łużecki

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The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in Galicia brought a radical change in the size and functionality of Roman Catholic churches. Old wooden churches were disappearing rapidly, especially in the provinces,[2] and they were being replaced by new ones, constructed of brick and stone, often on an unprecedented scale.[3] Common demand for these “rural cathedrals”, as they were then called, greatly helped to create the new or support the already recognized authority of architects, such as Jan Sas Zubrzycki, Teodor Talowski or Stanisław Majerski, who designed the largest number of church buildings in Galicia, and did not shun commissions received from lay investors.

That construction boom brought, especially in the countryside, a radical change in the cultural landscape, which was no longer dominated by manor houses and large farms, until then the main centres of patriotic thought and economic life, but by monumental churches, whose tall towers, often surrounded by additional, large-sized elements (fencing, chapels, free-standing bell towers, vicarages with adjacent buildings, etc.), usually towered over the area. It is therefore no coincidence that in a today’s Galician town the church can be found without difficulty whereas identification of the location of a manor house may be a problem, especially if it is now devoid of its surrounding park, visible from afar.

It was no different in cities and towns[4], in whose panoramas the historical significance of parish churches and town hall towers became lost in favour of the emerging dominance of new churches (of various denominations) and monasteries, and in the case of the more important centres of economic life, also in favour of slender brick factory chimneys, which constituted a kind of sign of new times.

Among the numerous churches erected in Galicia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Franciscan church in Jasło is not distinguished by either its scale or any particular class of architectural form. However, it deserves close attention as the only identified, complete (not temporary), ​​sacred building designed by architect Michał Łużecki from Lviv. The church was built quite far from the capital of Galicia[5], for the Franciscans, who had their own specific requirements. It is now non-existent, either in its original form or in its original location. Michał Łużecki’s involvement in Jasło was an important element which balanced the clashing influences of Cracow’s and Lviv’s architects in that city in the period of the Galician autonomy. For that architect himself, working for the Franciscans in Jasło meant an opportunity to create a monumental sacred building, important to the local community, which – for many reasons – would have been extremely difficult for Łużecki in Lviv’s architectural environment, extremely unapproachable and full of professionals.

[member]

The figure of Michał Łużecki, designer of the Franciscan church in Jasło, in the light of previous studies

Archival materials preserved leave no doubt that it is Michał Łużecki, a figure of merit but also underestimated, that was the creator of the Franciscan church in Jasło. Although his name appears in almost every general study devoted to the architecture of Lviv of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, his work has not been extensively discussed so far[6] while references related to him are generally of marginal character. Let us, therefore, on the basis of relevant information scattered in the literature, present at least an outline of his work.[7]

Michał Łużecki was born in Sławuta in 1868.[8] After completing secondary school, he studied at the Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Lviv, in the years 1888–1896; then in the years 1893–1895 he was a civil engineering lecturer at that university. Łużecki’s academic career was closely linked with the figure of Prof. Julian Zachariewicz, who, after the reform of the university and the approval of its new charter in 1894, chaired one of the two departments of architecture at the Technical University of Lviv (the other was chaired by Prof. Gustaw Bisanz). In Zachariewicz’s department, where Łużecki was the only lecturer at that time, the subjects taught included aesthetics, general design, railway structure design and “the science of form”.

The turning point in Łużecki’s career was his involvement in preparations for the National Exhibition which was held in Lviv in 1894. In various ways, Łużecki contributed to the emergence of numerous objects on the exhibition grounds, no doubt thanks to Julian Zachariewicz, his protector and a senior Lviv architect. These were mainly: a water tower (designed on the basis of Zachariewicz’s draft), the Hunting Pavilion (a design), the gate of Stryjska Street (a design), a pavilion for an orchestra (a design), and the most prestigious of all: the Palace of Fine Arts (a detailed design in cooperation with Grzegorz Peżański, according to the concept by Franciszek Skowron).

Łużecki’s activity during the widely acclaimed National Exhibition could not remain unnoticed. The architect then started to receive his first individual commissions on the difficult and highly competitive market of Lviv. As soon as in 1894, he began cooperation with Jakub Kuraś, the effect of which was the so-called First House of Technicians at 18 Issakowicza Street (now Herbaczewskiego Street), built according to their joint design. The building was the seat of the “Brotherly Help” society [Bratnia Pomoc], associated with the Technical University of Lviv. In that same year (1895) Łużecki made a design of the restoration of Lviv’s historical powder tower [baszta prochowa]. In the years 1895–1897, he participated in the design of the second of three buildings of the Lviv Railway Directorate, situated at 5 Krasickich Street (now Ohijenki Street), for which the decoration on the façade was designed by the famous Leonard Marconi.[9]

Significantly, the extensive list of selected buildings constructed or rebuilt in the years 1893–1918 in Lviv, made by Jakub Lewicki on the basis of the Lviv City Building Archive, contains no single mention of Michał Łużecki’s designs. This was probably due to the fact that at the end of the 19th century, the architect was employed in the Lviv office of urban construction, and the design of private projects conflicted with the nature of that job (those who could not refrain from designing outside the office, asked colleagues outside this institution to sign their designs).

Already in 1896, Łużecki was an assistant [adiunkt] and several years later (perhaps around 1910)[10] he was probably the head of the office. While performing this job he become an advocate of the architectural and urban development of the city in the spirit of Art Nouveau, exerting an influence on many architects of that time. Suffice it to mention that it is Łużecki that Jakub Lewicki sees as the originator or one of the initiators of the revolutionary urban planning solution, implemented in Lviv in the years 1904–1908 in the vicinity of Asnyka Street (now Bohomolca Street), namely the complex of 15 houses, situated not only along the street, on its both sides, but also around the dead end (a kind of square with a roundabout), which was designed for one of the frontages.[11]

At the beginning of the 20th century, Łużecki was a participant (and often among the winners) of several Galician architectural competitions, including: the design of the great altar of a parish church in Zakopane (the second prize), the hotel on Morskie Oko Lake (the third prize) and St Elisabeth’s Church in Lviv (not awarded but appreciated by the jury). The first prize was won by him in 1904, in the competition for the well casing topped by the statue of Our Lady [Fig. 1], which was to be transferred from St Mary’s Square in connection with plans to erect the monument of Mickiewicz there.[12]

Most of the buildings associated with Łużecki were erected after 1905 in Lviv. Stoff’s house at 8–8a Jabłonowskich Street comes from the years 1905–1906 (a joint work with Edmund Żychowicz) [Fig. 2], the Henryk Sienkiewicz Municipal School with sculptural decoration by Franciszek Biernat was built around 1907. In the years 1909–1910, the following houses were built according to his design: at 8 Badenich Street (now Rylejewa Street) 8, the Elsters’ house at 3 Sapiehy Street (now Bandery Street) at the corner of Łąckiego Street (now Briulowa Street), both built by Żychowicz. The building of the Austro-Hungarian Bank at 5 Mickiewicza Street (now Czynu Listopadowego Street), built in 1912, with sculptural decoration by Juliusz Bełtowski, designed by Łużecki and Żychowicz[13]; the façade of the Krakowski Hotel at 7 Bernardyński Square (now Soborny Square) was built ​​ in the years 1913–1914 according to the revised design by Rudolf Macura. The year 1913 saw the completion of the houses designed by Łużecki at 3, 5 and 7 Romanowicza Street and the Zippers’ house at 32 Market Square (co-designed by Łużecki and Żychowicz) [Fig. 3].[14]

During that time, Łużecki did not only design buildings but was also involved in social activity. In 1907 he was recorded as a member of the Lviv Polytechnic Society,[15] and when the Lviv City Beautifying Society was founded in Lviv in 1911, Łużecki became a member of its board.

Łużecki also became engaged in business initiatives quite original for an architect. In autumn 1908, the press announced the establishment of a three-person company with his participation. The company intended to open a sugar factory in Galicia. In January 1909, there were plans to build two factories (in Tarnów and Stanislawów) and the commencement of deliveries of sugar from October 1 of that year (the company had over 100 members with shares of over 2 million crowns). The applications of new members and orders for sugar were received by Łużecki (at the address in Lviv, Bernardyński Square).[16]

Thanks to his work in the City Council Office, work as a designer and his social involvement as well as participation in numerous competitions, Łużecki gained experience and reputation, which resulted in the fact that with time he was asked to be a member of the competition jury evaluating various Lviv designs: in 1909 he served as secretary of the jury in a competition to design the Bromilscy family house, a year later he took part in the session of the jury of the competition for the City Casino building and the competition held by the Galician Credit Society for drafts of tenement houses in Kopernika Street and Szajnochy Street (now Bankiwska Street), in 1911 he participated in the selection of the design of the already third house of the State Railway Directorate (he was a member of the jury by proxy) and in the choice of the monument of Franciszek Smolka (for the Polish Architects’ Society, which organized the competition), in 1912 he found himself among the renowned jury members of the competition to renew and decorate the Vlach Orthodox Church and in the jury of the competitions for the building of the Chamber of Craft Associations and St Anne’s Church. Apart from the competitions in Lviv, he also judged the contests for buildings planned in other towns: Przemyśl (the construction of a three-storey house, 1910), and Drohobycz (the Town Hall, 1913). Moreover, he participated in the work of the committee established to evaluate the newly designed external forms of the mortuary hall at the new Jewish cemetery in Lviv; he also answered a special questionnaire formulated in this respect by that committee.

During World War I Łużecki probably remained in the city. In the winter of 1916 he was involved in the preparation of the draft of a new construction law. Among several projects, the one by Łużecki, Tadeusz Obmiński, Tadeusz Michalczewski, Ignacy Drexler and Artur Kühnel (all were employed in the urban construction office in Lviv) was considered the best, although it did not come into force. In the following year, along with Ignacy Drexler, he developed the plan of the city which contained urban Lviv assumptions inspired by the concept of garden cities, and implemented just before the war.

Łużecki continued his career in the interwar period. All the time he was associated with Lviv and probably with the Lviv urban construction office. In 1919 he became the head of a special artistic construction committee appointed to carry out the construction of the mausoleum of the city’s defenders. At least in the years 1919–1920, Łużecki was heavily involved in the creation of Lviv’s Church of the Missionaries: he participated in the church construction committee, made the draft of the church and the congregation house, necessary to obtain from the city authorities a plot of land for the construction (presented to the public in late October 1919); he took an active part in the discussions on the target project developed by Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz (in late 1920). In 1930, as the head of the municipal building office, he was in the jury of the competition on the “draft sketch” of the church of Our Lady of Ostra Brama, and the Salesian educational facility in Łyczaków. In 1936 he made a provisional draft of the temporary Franciscan monastery (along with the public chapel) in Kozielniki, which became part of Lviv in 1930. The draft was modified later, already during the construction work (which ended as soon as 1936), supervised by Wawrzyniec Dayczak and Łużecki himself.

Łużecki also designed elements of church interior and small objects of architecture. In addition to winning the competition for the the statue of Our Lady on St Mary’s Square, which was then actually made (the well was made by Julian Góra in 1904), by World War I Łużecki had developed the design of the organ for the church of St Nikolai in Lviv, made in 1905 by the well-known Lviv sculptor Tadeusz Sokulski, and the commemorative plate on the 500thanniversary of the Battle of Grunwald (made in 1910 by the recognized company of Henryk Perier). In the interwar period, in 1928, Łużecki designed a plaque in the art déco style with the medallion portrait of Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński, made by Janina Reichert-Toth and Tadeusz Iwanowicz, and placed on the façade of the Lviv Ossolineum.

Michał Łużecki died after 1939, in a place still unknown to researchers.

The history of the construction, transformation and destruction of the church

The history of the Franciscan church in Jasło has already been fairly well elaborated;[17] therefore I will only provide the most important facts.

The key to the s ettlement of the Conventual Franciscans in Jasło was the testimentary legacy made by Rev. dr Jan Mazurkiewicz, who in his will written on 27 December 1893 in Lviv granted them 15,000 Rhenish guilders to establish a monastery in Jasło. The donor died on 21 April 1895; however, the breakthrough did not come until 1899, when the settlement of the Franciscans in Jasło was accepted by the Jasło City Council (on 31 August) and immediately afterwards (on 12 September) by the then Bishop of Przemyśl, Fr Łukasz Solecki. The first monks arrived following these decisions, on 1 October of that year, and began the collection of money to build a church and a monastery as well as efforts to obtain an appropriate plot of land. Out of the various, often controversial offers of support (granting the former Carmelitan square, Dulębowskich square or subsidies paid regularly for several years), the Franciscans first chose the former Carmelitan square, and following the unwavering resistance of the opponents of this location, they chose to accept subsidies for the construction. Earlier, in September 1900, Emperor Franz Joseph I, who was staying in Jasło for the rehearsal of military maneuvers, had been persuaded to participate in the collection of funds and granted 1,000 crowns for the purpose of the planned construction. After quite a long search, the monks decided to buy the so-called Heitzmannówka, i.e. a house with a garden situated in Długa Street (now Jagiełło Street), where they moved in on 11 February 1902. In the same year the building underwent general repairs, made by the local contractor Jan Rybak.[18]

At the end of August 1902, a plot of land adjacent to Heitzmannówka on the south side was purchased from Franciszek and Klotylda Polak, which made it possible to begin designing. Residing in Lviv, Provincial Fr Benigny Chmura sent Michał Łużecki, connected with the Lviv City Council Office, to Jasło in order to carry out measurements of the land and draw up the plan of the church. Perhaps the choice of a Lviv architect had been influenced by the fact that the position of the superior of the convent in Jasło was then held by Fr Feliks Bogaczyk, a priest previously associated with the convent in Lviv and, through his role of the vicar, with the local parish church of St Nicholas there.

Originally, Łużecki suggested the location of the church in Heitzmannówka, facing towards Długa Street. Ultimately, however, he changed the plans and undertook the construction of the church on the plot purchased from the Polak family.[19] While waiting for the construction permit, earthworks commenced by digging the foundations of the chancel, and on 30 October 1902 the provincial consecrated the site and commissioned Jan Rybak to conduct the construction works. Two variants of construction were taken into consideration: a church with a tower in the front or without a tower, depending on the result of efforts to acquire land for its construction from the city. Before winter the workers managed to make part of the foundations and then, due to complaints from neighbours, alleging the monks had begun building the church without the appropriate permit, the municipal authorities stopped all work for a few months. In April it was decided to continue the construction of the variant of the church with a tower [Fig. 4], which was to stand on the municipal grounds (the Franciscans bought this land in January 1909). Therefore it became necessary to re-build the foundations of the chancel. They were completed by May 16, 1903 and the next day the bishop of Przemyśl, Rev. Józef Pelczar, blessed the cornerstone for the construction of the church. The foundation act stated that, apart from Łużecki and Rybak, the construction process involved the Jasło city architect Emanunel Jarymowicz[20], referred to as the construction manager.

Due to the prevailing bad weather, construction work did not proceed very fast in 1903, yet in the middle of May the following year the walls of the church were already erected to the level of cornices in the whole building.[21] The church immediately received windows and doors as well as the roof structure, which was tiled (this work was done by Józef Stejner[22]). In July, ​​the bell tower was made, and on 29 November the statue of Our Lady was placed above the entrance, in the façade. The statue was made ​​of sandstone by the famous sculptor Antoni Popiel from Lviv.[23] Before the consecration of the church, which was performed on ​​31 December 1904, the Lviv sculptor Sokulski began setting the great altar, in the centre of which there was placed a wooden statue of St Anthony (also made by Popiel), later supplemented by other figures (St Alphonsus Liguori and St Francis de Sales), made by the same artist.

In subsequent years, the church gradually acquired decorations. Probably also thanks to Łużecki, the neo-Gothic Franciscan church was maintained consistently in this style. The architect himself (probably in 1906) developed the design for the main altar banisters,[24] in 1907 – the pulpit (both elements were made by the carpenter in the monastery in Lviv), and in 1909 – two side altars (made by a monk in the Lviv monastery, Rogier Sowiak).[25]

The process of building and equipping the church also involved significant changes in its surroundings. In August 1904 the monks purchased from the city a building known as the canteen, located southwest of the church, which had been one of the few traces left after a fairly long period of troops stationing there.[26] In March 1906 the provincial of the order purchased from Kazimiera Minnicka a plot of land with a building, directly adjacent to the side wall of the church. In this building, after the adaptation work, the monks settled in October of that year, and their old residential building (Heitzmannówka) was demolished in the spring of 1907. In the next decade, from 1912, the area of the monastery was surrounded by brick fencing with iron railings and gates, and a sidewalk was placed along the fencing [Fig. 5]. In 1923, an outbuilding was constructed in the yard of the monastery, and in 1925 a conservatory was built in the garden. In 1928, a complete rebuilding of the monastery façade was conducted, and in 1929 its roof was covered with galvanized metal sheets. Four years later, a stone statue of St Francis was placed in the square on the west side of the church.

The church itself also required attention. In 1919 repairs of the bell steeple were carried out; it had a construction defect that caused its gradual tilting. In 1929, in connection with the planned painting of the church interior, ​​insulation was made above the vaulting and, above all, an exchange of roofing tiles to copper plates. By decision of 1938 the choir was arranged in a room above the sacristy, which was directly adjacent to the church.

During the Nazi occupation, the monastery was occupied by the Germans, there was also a trade school, and the monks were crowded in just a few rooms. The church held services (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and organ concerts organized by the Germans. In September 1944 two Soviet bombs damaged the roof of the church. On 5 or 6 December, German soldiers burned the church and the monastery, and a few days later they blew up the tower and the nave, seriously damaging the remaining parts of the church and part of the monastery building. The Franciscan church in Jasło practically ceased to exist [Fig. 6]. Many years later it was rebuilt in another location (at the intersection of Szopena and 3 Maja Streets) and in a modified form (according to the design by Zbigniew Kupiec). This unusual structure, combining elements of traditional and modern materials in an interesting way, undoubtedly deserves close attention of researchers of post-war church architecture. The space formerly occupied by the church at the turn of the century has unfortunately deteriorated.

Reconstructional description of the church

The Franciscan church in Jasło was situated relatively close to the historical city centre, at the junction of Mickiewicz and Długa Streets, on the edge of a plateau gentle sloping toward Długa Street.[27] From the east, the church bordered on an already existing residential building (a monastery from 1906), beyond which further east there was a group of facilities of the Jasło junior secondary school. On the western side there was a canteen and the so-called Heitzmannówka: a house used as the monastery in the years 1902–1906 [Fig. 8].

The core of the church was a three-nave structure built on an elongated rectangular plan; on its south end it had a tower with quadrilateral (probably square) base while at its north end there was a chancel, triangular and narrower than the main body of the church. In the south-eastern corner of the church, close to where the tower and the nave met, there was an extension, added to the east wall of the tower and many-sided on its east side. It housed the staircase allowing access to the upper storeys of the tower. On both sides of the chancel, next to the nave, there were rectangular extensions with the length of two spans of the chancel: the sacristy (on the east side) and the church storage room (on the west side) [Fig. 8].[28] The church was 40 m long and 15 m wide. The height of the chancel was 12 m, aisles: 13 m, the nave: 14 m and the tower: 40 m.

The church was built on foundations of concrete (the tower), and concrete with stone (the main walls), and the pillars of the church and the side walls of the aisles were built on the foundation of joint benches [Fig. 9]. The walls were built of brick and, to a small extent, also of stone (it was used mainly for decorative purposes). The walls were left bare (Rohbau). The main body was crowned with a gable roof and had a slender steeple with a bell, located near the point where the nave and the chancel met. A similar roof, finished polygonally, was placed on the chancel, and the extensions were covered with pent roofs. On the tower there was a slim tent-like spire, repeated on a smaller scale on the staircase turret. The roofs were covered with tiles while the spires on the towers were probably made ​​of sheet metal. Moreover, the nave roof (in the surviving project and some iconographic records), and the chancel roof (in the surviving project) as well as the tower roof all had small windows covered with metal plates.

The front of the church faced south and the main entrance (with wide stone stairs) was located in the basement of the tower. Above a modest, rectangular portal with arched bevelled corners, enclosed in a deep, ogival arcade, there was a decorated ogival window filled with tracery, and above it a stair-like top with an ogival niche and Our Lady’s statue inside. The upper parts of the tower were all similar on all sides: above its large, ogival windows, decorated with metal anchors on the sides, there were stair-like tops, each filled with a group of three ogival panels; the tops interrupted the course of the cornice, running along the base of the spire.

On the outside, the church was supported by tight, slender, fairly flat buttresses, performing a decorative function rather than that of construction. The side walls were decorated with an arcaded frieze (just below the cornice). Above the main entrance, on the crown of the tower and the extension containing the staircase, as well as in the tops of the nave, there were slender, ogival panels.

Inside, the church walls were plastered and the floor was concrete. The nave was separated from the aisles with slender pillars[29] interconnected with ogival arcades. The nave was built in the three-hall system, in which the nave was slightly (about 1 m) higher than the aisles, and consisted of three broad spans while the chancel (extended in the first two bays on the south side annexes) consisted of three spans (narrower than the ones in the nave) and a triangular closure. The nave was separated from the chancel with a large ogival arcade. The church probably had cross vaulting, devoid of ribs. The nave and the chancel closure were lit by slender, ogival windows filled with tracery decoration, while the long chancel between these two church parts was the least illuminated zone (it had small, rectangular windows inside ogival panels framed with flat pilasters, interconnected by ogival arcades).

Characteristics of the church architecture

The Jasło Franciscan church, which – according to prior research – was the only work by Michał Łużecki actually built outside Lviv and his only known large work of sacred architecture, must be regarded as an example of the modest architecture of late historicism. This may be proved by the regular, strictly symmetrical plan of the building, the symmetry of which was, however, broken by the introduction – surprising, but typical of this period – of a polygonal extension on only one side of the front tower. It can be surmised that such a solution resulted not only from the functional needs (the extension housed the staircase leading to the tower), but also from the needs of composition of the whole monastic complex, because the extension, added on the east side, directed the viewer’s attention to the detached monastery building with a large square in front. In this way, it was possible to achieve greater integrity of this building complex and in a way “close” it on the west side by the grouping of particular church parts [Fig. 10]. This simple and clever solution best manifests Łużecki’s talent of a capable urban planner.

The Jasło church may also be regarded as remaining in line with typical solutions of a mendicant religious order, which include: location in the city centre, a long chancel for monks and a large nave for the faithful. However, specific conditions of ownership and topography in Jasło made the architect depart from orienting the church and creating an integrated church and monastery complex, where the monastery would be organically linked with the church, and its centre would be constituted by a square courtyard surrounded by cloisters.

The most characteristic feature of the architecture of the church was the consistent use of Gothic forms, both outside and inside the church, and the application of the material typical of that time, i.e. unplastered brick, complemented by stone detail.[30] This peculiar “purity of style” probably had a twofold reason. Firstly, it could have resulted from the history of the community, because the founder of the order had lived and worked in the Gothic period; it is also then that the order had reached the Polish lands (including the territories of the province where Jasło belonged) and erected their first buildings, which remained in compliance with their monastic rule, in this area. Secondly, it also could have been a reference to the time in which the city and its parish had been founded,[31] the parish church had been built (which at that time became the object of increased interest of Galician conservators[32]) and the first religious community (the Carmelites) had arrived in Jasło.[33] Considering such a significant accumulation of historical reasons (though it is not known whether they were actually taken into account then), selection of the Gothic style as the model seems to be obvious and natural, even disregarding the general trends in the church architecture of Galicia.

Construction of the church took place in the period which, in the literature, is defined as the period of peak development of eclectic church architecture.[34] Historical forms, which would soon become the target of attacks of the new generation of architects, then enjoyed great popularity. Among them, Gothic-inspired architectural forms occupied a special place, as there was a conviction, heavily rooted in the popular consciousness, of their typically Polish character. The source of this belief lay in the contemporary discussions about the Polish national style and the characteristics of Polish Gothic architecture, which was called “Vistula-Baltic style” or “Vistula style”.[35] The latter name was spread by Jan Sas Zubrzycki, who in 1895 gave his habilitation lecture on this topic at the Technical University of Lviv (but not using the same term).[36] It seems very likely that this lecture was attended by the designer of the church in Jasło, who was then a lecturer at the Technical University of Lviv. It is difficult to judge whether Zubrzycki’s theses convinced the young architect; however, the Franciscan church he designed a few years later in Jasło fits in this particular trend of religious architecture,[37] constituting one of very numerous examples of sacred architecture based on medieval forms, dominant – at least in the region of Galicia – until around 1910.[38]

Churches similar in architectural expression were erected in the Galician province from the late 19th century. Similar in nature were some of the churches designed by Teodor Talowski (the church in Dobrzechów designed in 1888 and the church in Kaczyce from 1903), which also have the motif that appeared in Jasło, namely a slender, polygonal extension built at the meeting point of the nave and the tower, and used as a passage. Perhaps these ideas served as a source of inspiration for Łużecki, if only because of their prevalence in the literature and in a specialist publication.[39] However, it must be remembered that, in the light of research by Wojciech Bałus, the pattern used in the church in Dobrzechów, the first sacred building designed by Talowski, was in the 1880s the “standard model of a church dedicated to the needs of smaller, mostly suburban and rural parishes. Developed shortly after the mid-19th century in the Rhine and the Austrian circles, it was adopted primarily in the form of a basilica”.[40] A significant difference found in the church in Jasło, as compared to the then popular church designs (including the church in Dobrzechów), was resignation from the transept and the use of a long chancel. Such a spatial arrangement and a three-aisled division of the main body of the church is characteristic of, among others, medieval Franciscan churches and it was probably their layout design that was used by the architect.[41]

This trend also embraces the unrealized project of reconstruction of the cathedral in Tarnów, made ​​around 1889 by Feliks Księżarski[42], and in particular the Trzciana parish church, built in the years 1897–1898[43]. This building consisted of the same basic elements as the Franciscan church in Jasło: a slender tower located at the front and rectangular in shape, a nave that is wider than the chancel (in this case with four spans), a chancel that is shorter and narrower than the nave and polygonal in shape, slender, stepped buttresses and a slender, light steeple with a bell. The style of the building was similar, too: Neo-Gothic, whose character is highlighted by slender, ogival windows, buttresses, brick walls, a frieze running below the cornice and slender pinnacles crowning the tower and the steeple. In this context it is worth mentioning a design by Zygmunt Hendel: the church in Staromieście (now a district of Rzeszów) built in 1900,[44] showing – with a whole range of characteristics that differ from those listed above – an astonishing similarity of shape, style, and even in the development of the details of the front of the tower. On the other hand, one can also indicate a similar style of the church in Słocina near Rzeszów, which – although built much later (construction started in 1913) – had been designed by Tadeusz Obmiński, associated with Lviv.[45]

These examples show that the Jasło Franciscan church was situated in a very wide trend of sacred Galician architecture of late historicism, characterized by carefully elaborated brick walls with a few stone applications, by references to medieval styles (especially to Gothic), stressing the ornamental values ​​of the building materials and, finally, a clear solid external shape revealing the internal layout of the church, consisting of three basic parts: a high tower at the front, the nave with aisles and the chancel, sometimes enriched with additional elements, such as the transept and side chapels, or the most popular element, namely slender extensions added to the sides of the tower and housing a staircase. It seems that the relationship of the Jasło church with the discussion on forms of Polish national architecture, if any existed at all, were entirely superficial and consisted in the handling of the extremely popular mannerism of that time, whose “Polishness” was only secondary and resulted from the saturation of the Galician province with this type of churches.

Although the designer of the church in Jasło must be related to the Lviv architectural environment, it is difficult to see in this work the features that would prove the thesis that this building bore the stamp of the architecture of Lviv. Although it seems that a certain impact on the form of the church in Jasło could have been exerted by the Lviv church of Carmelite nuns situated in present Czuprynki Street, built in the years 1894–1895 by Jan Lewiński on the basis of the design by a Cologne architect Statz, Jr. [Fig. 11],[46] it is difficult to see in it the effect of the Lviv architectural thought.

In the context of Michał Łużecki’s work and his designs in Jasło, being gradually discovered by researchers, it is interesting to reflect on his personal contacts with experts working in the construction industry and in the arts. It is worth noting that Emanuel Jarymowicz, the head of construction work for the Jasło church, who was then the municipal builder in Jasło, had – alone or in cooperation – built a large number of objects designed for the National Exhibition in 1894, including most of the buildings designed by Julian Zachariewicz and the gate from Stryjska Street, designed by Łużecki himself.[47] This makes it hard to believe that the two architects had not met in Lviv (during preparations for the exhibition or even earlier). It is also there or in Jasło that Łużecki could also have met Tadeusz Sokulski, a Lviv woodcarver, who worked for the Franciscans in Jasło in 1904, and who later (in 1905) made, according to Łużecki’s design, the organ for the church of St Nicholas in Lviv (in which, before becoming the guardian in Jasło, Fr Feliks Bogaczyk had served as a curate).

Summing up

The work of the designer of the Franciscan church in Jasło, Michael Łużecki, certainly deserves a comprehensive monograph. Recapitulation made ​​here of the data recorded so far in the literature allows for the conclusion that he was one of the most interesting and influential figures of the Lviv architecture environment of the first half of the 20thcentury, unjustly forgotten, but gradually being discovered recently by art historians. Further research should provide answers to several disputed or unclear issues concerning: the period of Łużecki’s study, his teaching at the Technical University of Lviv and the reasons for its termination, his work in the Lviv City Council Office as well as the scope of his duties there and the scale of the resulting restrictions, or the final resolution of the issue of the authorship of several Lviv buildings.

The information collected in this paper shows that Michał Łużecki was a typical architect of the period in which artists evolved from late historicism to modernism. His knowledge and creativity allowed him for deft handling of neostyles, which seem to have been used by him not according to a fashion prevailing at one particular moment or according to personal interests, but rather depending on the nature of the commission and – presumably – on the client’s preferences. Thus, his work includes designs inspired by the Middle Ages (the neo-Gothic church in Jasło) and by modern architecture (the neo-Baroque fountain with the statue of Our Lady in Lviv) or designs which were his individual interpretations of historical forms, adapted to modern functions (the water tower the National Exhibition in Lviv, in which he “complemented” the concept drafted by Julian Zachariewicz). Interestingly, the use of these historical forms was not an excuse for him to present an eclectic attitude, as if the architect did not believe that this was the way to solutions that could change contemporary architecture. Łużecki also used diversified materials as boldly as the different styles, not shunning stone, brick or timber (e.g. the highly acclaimed hunting pavilion at the exhibition mentioned above). As befitted a model representative of his age, Łużecki was far from avoiding the field of art conservation (the project of adaptation of the powder tower, participation in the jury of the competition for decorating the Orthodox church). Łużecki was an artist aware of the breakthrough, one who felt the need to seek new means of expression, as evidenced in his willing use of the Art Nouveau style (above all, Stoff’s house in Lviv, almost symbolic of the Art Nouveau style), boldly creating space in the new spirit (the avant-garde concept of arrangement of Asnyka Street, presumably authored by Łużecki) and having a great sense of new trends and forms, characteristic of the young generation of architects. These were his skills that were willingly made use of by asking Łużecki to join respectable jury of numerous competitions. From the perspective of the present state of research, it may be assumed that it was this excessive use of the architect’s knowledge and judgement by his professional environment that could be one reason why his personal creative achievements (in terms of his own design work) are not sufficiently impressive to fully reflect his role and importance in the architectural circle of Lviv in the late nineteenth century and especially in the first half of the twentieth century. It seems, however, that careful study of his work, based on reliable and versatile source material and its critical evaluation, taking into account a number of conditions important in the context of Łużecki’s workplace, will allow the formulation of more profound and accurate assessment.

In Jasło, Łużecki consistently defined the forms of style both in the architecture and in the interior decoration of the church. His work in Jasło may be summed up with the same words with which the competition jury assessed Łużecki’s design of St Elisabeth’s church in Lviv, that bore this significant emblem: Without exaggeration, „modest in detail, but skilful and pleasant in the general layout and character”.[48]

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Translated by Agnieszka Gicala


[1] This text is a largely altered and extended version of the paper Jasielski epizod w twórczości architektonicznej Michała Łużeckiego. Przyczynek do biografii, presented in Dec. 1998 at the Lviv session Julian Zachariewicz i znaczenie jego działalności w przededniu XXI stulecia. The session was organized by Lviv University of Technology in co-operation with Österreichisch-Ukrainisches Kooperationsbüro für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Kultur as well as Institut für Baukunst, Bauaufnahmen und Architekurtheorie der Technischen Universität Wien; the papers presented there have not been published. For more information on the session, see: A. Laskowski, Międzynarodowa konferencja „Julian Zachariewicz i znaczenie jego działalności w XXI stuleciu”, in: “Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” 61, 1999, no. 3–4, pp. 510–512.

[2] The scale of the phenomenon in the area is well documented by such texts as: M. Kornecki, Dawne drewniane kościoły i dzwonnice Diecezji Tarnowskiej, in: “Currenda” [Tarnów], 1986, no. 4–6, pp. 185–210, which contains unusually rich illustrative material, referring mostly to already non-existent buildings. Obviously, the demolition of old wooden churches met with lively but ineffective objections expressed by the art restoration circles of that time – cf.: W. Kozicki, W obronie kościołów i cerkwi drewnianych, Lwów 1913 and its reprint enriched with contemporary texts by several authors: W obronie kościołów i cerkwi drewnianych, Rzeszów 2000.

[3] Cf. e.g.: M. Kornecki, Tendencje artystyczne architektury kościelnej w pierwszym stuleciu Diecezji Tarnowskiej, in: „Currenda” [Tarnów], 1985, no. 1–3, pp. 81–97; K. Stefański, Zmagania o nowy kształt architektoniczny polskiego kościoła 1905–1914, in: Przed Wielkim Jutrem. Sztuka 1905–1918, Warszawa 1993, pp. 79–97; idem, Polska architektura sakralna w poszukiwaniu stylu narodowego, Łódź 2000.

[4] This phenomenon was focused on by A. Siwek, Architektura sakralna późnego historyzmu w krajobrazie miasteczek Galicji, in: Rozwój przestrzenny miast galicyjskich położonych między Dunajcem a Sanem w okresie autonomii galicyjskiej, eds. Z. Beiersdorf, A. Laskowski, Jasło 2001, pp. 469–476.

[5] For more information on the geography of the influence of Lviv’s architects in the discussed period, cf.: A. Laskowski, Ekspansja lwowskiego środowiska architektonicznego na zachód w okresie autonomii galicyjskiej, “Przegląd Wschodni” 7, 2001, no. 4 (28), pp. 1257–1284.

[6] The only such attempt is a biography published in: A. Laskowski, Kadra techniczno-budowlana związana z Jasłem w okresie autonomii galicyjskiej. Słownik biograficzny, Kraków 2003, pp. 92–94. However, due to the very character of this publication, the relevant note included there could not fully present the issue in question.

[7] The facts presented here are based on the following publications (in the chronological order): W. Zajączkowski, C. K. Szkoła Politechniczna we Lwowie. Rys historyczny jej założenia i rozwoju, tudzież stan jej obecny, Lwów 1894, pp. 141 and 154; Księga pamiątkowa Towarzystwa “Bratniej Pomocy” słuchaczów Politechniki we Lwowie, Lwów 1897, pp. 172 and 239; S.S. Nicieja, Cmentarz Łyczakowski we Lwowie w latach 1786–1986, Wrocław 1989; Politechnika Lwowska 1844–1945, Wrocław 1993, p. 199; J. Biriulow, Secesja we Lwowie, Warszawa [1996]; O. Czerner, Lwów na dawnej rycinie i planie, Wrocław 1997; Architektura Lwowa XIX wieku, ed. J. Purchla, Kraków 1997, p. 58 and Figures 93 and 103; R. Cielątkowska, Architektura i urbanistyka Lwowa II Rzeczypospolitej, Warszawa 1998, pp. 23, 57 and 79; A. Betlej, M. Biernat, K. Brzezina, P. Krasny, J.K. Ostrowski, J. Skrabski, Kościoły i klasztory Lwowa z wieków XIX i XX, Kraków 2004 (=„Materiały do dziejów sztuki sakralnej na ziemiach wschodnich dawnej Rzeczypospolitej”, ed. J.K. Ostrowski, part I, vol. 12), passim; J. Lewicki, Między tradycją a nowoczesnością. Architektura Lwowa lat 1893–1918, Warszawa 2005, passim; J. Biriulow, Rzeźba lwowska od połowy XVIII wieku do 1939 roku. Od zapowiedzi klasycyzmu do awangardy, Warszawa 2007, passim; J. Lewicki, Roman Feliński – architekt i urbanista. Pionier nowoczesnej architektury, Warszawa 2007, pp. 67–68. Sources other than the ones listed above are given in relevant footnotes; some of the controversies in the biography are also referenced in this way.

[8] In: Laskowski (ft. 6), p. 92.

[9] Marconi’s participation was mentioned by Lewicki (ft. 7), p. 49. According to J. Biriulow (ft. 7), p. 150, the other participants were: Zygmunt Otto (façade), Piotr Harasimowicz and the students of Lviv higher art-industrial school, under the supervision of Tadeusz Rybkowski (interiors: sculpture and painting decorations).

[10] Lewicki (ft. 7), p. 87, notes that in 1908, three years after the death of Juliusz Hochberger, who had been the head of that office for many years, his position was still vacant. Hochberger died on 5 April 1905, after 33 years’ work at that position (ibidem, p. 373). At the same time, when referring to construction work done in the city in the years 1904–1908, that very author describes Łużecki as the head of the Building Department Lviv’s City Council (ibidem, p. 289). In reference to 1913, when describing the session of the jury of the competition for the town hall in Drohobycz, the author states that Łużecki was referred to as senior adviser of the technical department (ibidem, p. 169), which apparently suggests that Łużecki held a public position at that time. These questions require precise explanation in future.

[11] Ibidem, p. 289.

[12] The other first prize in this competition was won by the sculptor Stanisław Ostrowski for his design Korona jagiellońska – cf.: ibidem, p. 154–155. Among the jury members was Łużecki’s superior from the building office, Juliusz Hochberger.

[13] Data from: Architektura Lwowa (ft. 7), p. 70. Cf.: Lewicki (ft. 7), p. 35, which provides the year of 1913, the designer: Łużecki, address: Mickiewicza 8. Biriułow (ft. 7), p. 136, provides the year of 1912 and states that Łużecki was the designer. Discrepancies of this type, concerning not only cooperation with Żychowicz, appear in the literature in relation to Łużecki very frequently, which may be due to different interpretations of the sources.

[14] Lewicki (ft. 7), p. 299 and 302 states that Żychowicz was the only designer.

[15] Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych [the Central Archive of Old Documents], unit: Ministerstwo Robót Publicznych, no. 1, XXXI Sprawozdanie Wydziału Głównego Towarzystwa Politechnicznego we Lwowie za rok administracyjny 1907, Lwów 1908, p. 25.

[16] “Pogoń” 28, 1908, no. 40, pp. 3 and “Pogoń” 29, 1909, no. 4, p. 5.

[17] The basic work on the subject is: Z. Świstak, Franciszkanie w Jaśle, Jasło 1995, pp. 7–41. Additional sources are: A. Zwiercan, Franciszkanie konwentualni, in: Diecezja przemyska w latach 1939–1945, vol. III: Zakony, eds. J. Draus, J. Musiał, Przemyśl 1990, pp. 212–249 (on Jasło: pp. 213–218); A. Laskowski, Przybycie i pierwsze lata pobytu w Jaśle OO. Franciszkanów i SS. Wizytek w świetle akt miejskich (do roku 1918), in: “Prace Historyczno-Archiwalne” 7, 1999, pp. 113–127; idem, Jasło w dobie autonomii galicyjskiej. Miasto i jego przestrzeń, Kraków 2007, passim.

[18] Cf.: Laskowski 2003, as in footnote 7, pp. 124–128.

[19] Unsigned drawings, preserved at Krakow’s Franciscan archives, and showing the general view of the church from the south-east and the plan of concrete continuous footings, are not dated and bear the signature of the author, cf.: Archive of the Province of St Anthony of Padua and Blessed Jakub Strzemię of the Franciscan Order in Kraków (hereafter APF), ref. D-II-55, file: Jasło 12.

[20] Laskowski (ft. 6), pp. 57–65.

[21] As evidenced in the archival records, by January 1904 Łużecki had been paid for the preparation of the designs, calculation of the amount of timber needed for the construction, preparation of the construction estimates and the journey to Jasło related to the construction (see: APF, ref. D-II-54, file Jasło 11).

[22] A. Laskowski (ft. 6), pp. 138–139.

[23] Cf.: P. Błoński, Popiel (Sulima Popiel) Antoni (1865–1910), in: Polski słownik biograficzny, vol. 27, Kraków 1983, p. 553.

[24] Probably the banisters separating the altar from the rest of the chancel.

[25] Of these, only the pulpit, known from the general archival photos of the church interior, can now be described in more detail while about the side altars one can only say that they were probably structures with several axes, strictly symmetrical, openwork, with niches for statues (as seen partly in the same photograph of the altar at the end of the west nave), cf.: Świstak (ft. 17), fig. on p. 186.

[26] More information on this subject: A. Laskowski, Infrastruktura wojskowa w dziewiętnastowiecznym Jaśle, in: “Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych Polskiej Akademii Nauk Oddział w Krakowie”, vol. 45/1 (January-June 2001), pp. 146–147.

[27] This description was made ​​on the basis of published descriptions, iconographic records and stories of people who remember the old Franciscan church.

[28] Probably after the acquisition of the adjacent Minnicka’s house (which was to be the monastery), the eastern extension was extended and – perhaps – it was made higher in order to connect the two buildings and improve the passage between the monastery and the church. As suggested by a postcard with a reproduction of a watercolor by Apolinary Kotowicz, showing the north view of the Franciscan buildings, that additional extension was built only as far as the first span of the former extension.

[29] Most likely they were built on the plan of the Greek cross with arms slightly extended, which seems to be visible in the few preserved archival photographs, coming mainly from the period immediately after the destruction of the church, showing this particular element.

[30] In view of the extremely rapid pace of construction of the church (just over a year and a half), the financial aspect of the whole enterprise seems to be substantial. Therefore, the brick walls of the church (Rohbau) may also reflect the opinion prevalent in the contemporary intellectual circles (not just the church ones) on the economic benefits of the use of brick, which provided savings in cost. Cf.: A. Majdowski, O poglądach na styl wiślano-bałtycki w polskiej architekturze sakralnej XIX wieku, in: idem, Studia z historii architektury sakralnej w Królestwie Polskim, Warszawa 1993, pp. 57–59.

[31] Z. Leszczyńska-Skrętowa, Jasło, in: Słownik historyczno-geograficzny województwa krakowskiego w średniowieczu, ed. A. Gąsiorowski, part II, fasc. 2: Iwanowice-Kaczorowy, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków–Gdańsk–Łódź 1989, pp. 253–264.

[32] Cf.: A. Laskowski, Kościół farny w Jaśle w latach 1772–1939, in: “Na świadectwo ducha religijnego…”. Z dziejów powstania, odbudowy i konserwacji kościoła farnego w Jaśle, ed. A. Laskowski, Jasło 2004, pp. 135–196.

[33] S. Cynarski, Ze studiów nad dziejami Karmelitów Trzewiczkowych. Klasztor w Jaśle, in: “Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Prace Historyczne”, vol. 1049, fasc. 101, 1993, pp. 67–85.

[34] Cf.: Stefański (ft. 3), p. 79.

[35] Cf.: Majdowski (ft. 41), pp. 39–66.

[36] The aftermath was the publication: J. Sas Zubrzycki, Rozwój gotycyzmu w Polsce pod względem konstrukcyjnym i estetycznym, Kraków 1895.

[37] It is significant that one of the older Jasło inhabitants, when asked about the pre-war Franciscan church, without a moment’s hesitation replied that “it was a beautiful church in the Gothic Vistula style”. Certainly it was not a formula learned or read somewhere in the literature but a generally prevailing belief.

[38] Cf.: K. Stefański, Główne nurty w architekturze sakralnej Galicji przełomu XIX i XX wieku, in: “Zeszyty Naukowe Politechniki Łódzkiej”, 1996, no. 751, series: “Budownictwo (Architektura)”, fasc. 47, p. 80.

[39] Cf.: T. Talowski, Projekta kościołów, illustrated by M. Zadrazil, Kraków 1897.

[40] W. Bałus, Architektura sakralna Teodora Talowskiego, in: “Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Prace z Historii Sztuki”, vol. 1040, 1992, fasc. 20, p. 54 [quotation transl. by A. Gicala].

[41] Cf.: P. Pencakowski, Architektura zakonu Św. Franciszka w Małopolsce w epoce średniowiecza – wybrane zagadnienia badawcze, in: Kościół i klasztor franciszkański w Krośnie – przeszłość oraz dziedzictwo kulturowe, Krosno 1998, pp. 21–41. This type was represented by Franciscan churches in Lviv and Krosno, i.e. the cities with which the Franciscans of Jasło were the most closely associated, both formally and personally, at the turn of the century.

[42] Cf.: S. Potępa, Złota era Tarnowa. Architektura i budownictwo w Tarnowie na przełomie XIX i XX w., Tarnów 1998, p. 107.

[43] Cf.: S. Dziedzic, Parafia na pograniczu, in: “Teki Krakowskie” 3, 1996, p. 215 and illustration on p. 224.

[44] Cf.: A. Laskowski, Architektura galicyjska w okresie autonomii. Uwagi na marginesie książki o architekturze Rzeszowa, in: “Modus. Prace z Historii Sztuki” 2, 2001, pp. 159–163, as well as: “Architekt” 3, 1902, fasc. 9, columns: 99 and 101–102, and Table 49.

[45] Cf.: J. Świeboda, Stosunki wyznaniowe [w czasach autonomii galicyjskiej], in: Dzieje Rzeszowa, vol. II, ed. F. Kiryk, Rzeszów 1998, pp. 561–563 (including Fig. 203).

[46] Cf.: Architektura Lwowa (ft. 7), Fig. 45. Such simple, austere in expression, neo-Gothic church architecture, reduced to its simplest form with distinctive Gothic detail, has in the German architecture a much longer tradition; cf. e.g. the chapel of St Matthias in Berlin, built in 1866, designed by C. Niermann; cf.: E. Börsch-Supan, Berliner Baukunst nach Schinkel 1840–1870, München [1977] (=„Studien zur Kunst des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts”, vol. 25), Fig. 566.

[47] Lewicki (ft. 7), pp. 483–485.

[48] Quoted in: ibidem, p. 183.

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