Uniwersytet Rzeszowski
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Danuta Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska

Kraków, Association for Stained Glass Art „Ars Vitrea Polona”, Corpus Vitrearum



Maria Magdalena Łubieńska née Countess Łubieńska (1833–1920), an amateur painter, author of oil paintings, watercolours and drawings, forced by the circumstances of life to found in 1867 the School of Drawing and Painting and then, in 1878, “Painting Shop”, which three years later became the Studio of St Luke, operating until at least 1910. Łubieńska’s Studio was chiefly famous for its stained glass windows (made in mixed technique). Many of them have survived to this day in churches, mostly neo-Gothic, located in the then Congress Kingdom of Poland. The stained glass works are also noted in the churches of the Austrian and Prussian partitions of Poland and former eastern borderlands, including Russia. The first stained glass window, for the Warsaw cathedral, Łubieńska was to paint herself. The stained glass windows made in the Warsaw studio, presented in this paper, reflect her activity only in part. Admired by her contemporaries, mocked in subsequent periods, they are currently becoming of interest to art historians.

Keywords: Maria Łubieńska, Studio of St Luke, School of Drawing and Painting, stained glass window, 19th century, 20th century


Maria Magdalena Łubieńska was born in 1833 as the daughter of Henryk Łubieński of Łubna, landowner, financier, industrialist, and Irena née Potocka.[1] In accordance with her family background and the conventions of the time, she received careful home education. At the age of twenty-two, she became the second wife of Paweł Łubieński, her cousin, landowner, writer, promoter of modern agricultural technology.[2] She was the mother of five children.[3]

She belonged to a large group of well-born young ladies that drew and painted skillfully, mostly for their own pleasure, but they often abandoned that passion after getting married. Some of them developed their skills in the recently reborn field of stained glass painting, like – still in mid-19th century – Matylda Ziołecka née Aksamitowska, from Greater Poland (Pol. Wielkopolska), who worked in the circle of Edward Raczyński; later Mrs Gen. Natalia Kicka neé Bisping[4] or Róża Eugeniuszowa Lubomirska neé Zamoyska of Kruszyna.[5] Only a few women, usually forced by circumstances of life, made their talents their livelihood that was closer to or further from artistic ideals.[6] Maria Magdalena Łubieńska did oil painting and watercolours, and drew. Some of her works were published on the pages of the Warsaw press, such as the views of the pavilions in the International Exposition in Paris in 1867,[7] which she was able to visit in the company of his brother, Julian Łubieński, an official representative of the Russian Empire and the Congress Kingdom of Poland,[8] and perhaps also with Juliusz Kossak.[9] She was not an unknown artist. She exhibited at the Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts [Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych] in Warsaw; e.g. in 1869 she displayed four oil paintings (Holy Trinity, Christ’s Head, The Lord Jesus in a Crown of Thorns, St Roch), and in 1874 two watercolours (Penitent St Mary Magdalene, The Virgin Mary) and a picture painted on glass Landscape.[10] In 1880 she exhibited in the Zachęta Society “a painted window Genius of Art” designed by Wojciech Gerson, purchased by the Society.[11] It was the only stained glass window in its collection, and the purchase can be attributed to the fact that Feliks Sobański,[12] a relative of Łubieńska’s, was a member of the Board of Directors (from 1875), and thereafter (1879–1880) the Vice-President. Łubieńska had probably received an allowance for the execution of this stained glass window. Unspecified works were presented by her in 1883 in Cracow’s Society of Friends of Fine Arts [Pol. Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych].[13] The name of Maria Łubieńska appeared on the list of Polish contemporary artists in the calendar issued by the Warsaw “Weekly Review” [“Przegląd Tygodniowy”] in 1887. She was presented as an author of religious images (The Heart of Jesus, St Rudolph, St Benignus, The Guardian Angel, St Catherine) and paintings on church windows.[14]


In view of the family’s financial ruin, Maria Łubieńska’s artistic talents helped her take up a job.[15] Years later, recalling the circumstances in which that situation occurred, she explained that her father, Henryk Łubieński, the then vice-president of the Polish Bank, had been accused (unjustly) of embezzlement[16] and “decided to cover everything that was to be covered. And the bank did not lose a penny. The family estate of Guzów and the estates in Podole were sold for that purpose, we became poor, but we repaid everything, everything. […] So then came the necessity for me: to do something. I was attracted to drawing, I painted a little: from an amateur, a dilettante, after persistent and hard work, I therefore turned into a drawing teacher”.[17] First, she was to give private lessons and a few years later, at the end of 1867, she founded the School of Drawing and Painting for women, opened “With the permission of the authorities […] in her own apartment [in Ujazdowskie Avenue] and under her personal supervision”.[18] The Warsaw press wrote about the school with enthusiasm, seeing in it a great opportunity for “young persons from the middle class of the society, unable to afford the relatively expensive lessons at home, [who] had to content themselves with the basics of drawing, usually taught to young ladies at private girls’ schools. Now the new school fills that great deficiency. A dozen or several dozens of girls, according to candidates’ applications (20 at the moment), have the opportunity to gather three times a week, for a small fee, around noon in Mrs Łubieńska’s studio, for drawing and painting lessons. […] Mrs Marya Łubieńska herself, a great connoisseur and amateur, is present during the lessons and also greatly contributes to the usefulness of the institution both scientifically and artistically, and the pupils are not lacking in ready patterns, plaster of Paris and all kinds of learning aids. The adopted profile of teaching drawing is general […]. For those who have to think about choosing a job, their elementary knowledge of drawing and painting will rarely remain without practical results. More particularly, “the new source of income”, offered to women, i.e. all employment based more on the skill of a delicate hand and on good taste than on physical strength and willpower, will thus have its way paved. Therefore drawing, either as a means of education, or an aid in paid work, whether done for moral pleasure that fine arts provide should be made more popular here, and Countess L. deserves the merit of understanding this need and offering a practical remedy”.[19] Juliusz Kossak was the head of the school[20] and the teachers were: Wojciech Gerson, who had apparently taught Łubieńska herself,[21] Franciszek Kostrzewski,[22] Stanisław Witkiewicz,[23] Szymon Buchbinder,[24] Edward Bonifacy Pawłowicz. The latter was also to be the school’s co-founder.[25] In 1877, “The school of Countess Maria Łubieńska” was awarded for the paintings displayed at the exhibition Women’s Work (Pol. Praca Kobiet) in the Museum of Industry and Agriculture in Warsaw.[26] Years later, it was emphasized that “it was from that first university that a lot of talents issued forth who had studied painting and drawing for the first time there […]. The school developed gradually, in parallel to an increase in the demand”[27]. The founder of the school emphasized its important function, consisting in the preparation of women for a job. Years later, she recalled: “It was after the uprising, the ideas of organic work began to develop, the issue of women’s emancipation appeared on the social agenda. This made the need in which fate placed me lighter and sweeter because it could fly on the wings of the social ideal. I began work and teaching even more eagerly. Within a few years I educated quite well a whole host of students who were ready to serve our artistic industry. But, unfortunately, we didn’t have that artistic industry yet”.[28]

In order to make it possible for the school’s graduates to take up paid jobs, in 1878 Łubieńska opened a separate “Painting Shop” (Pol. “Malarnia”) where one could order “everything that pertains to drawing or painting”, as well as complement their education in this field under the guidance of persons “of higher education in painting of all specialisations.” The press appealed for orders so as to “go to the aid of the noble founder’s endeavours”.[29] A few years later, in mid-1881, Łubieńska notified the public in the press: “In view of an increasing number of workers trained in drawing and an increasing scope of activity, the Painting Shop known under her name, without changing the manageress, took the name of the »Studio of St Luke« (Pol. »Zakład Świętego Łukasza«).”[30] Interestingly, the workers not only received a salary but they also participated in the profits of the company,[31] receiving 10% “of pure earnings of the enterprise. It is a kind of partnership between the capital and the employees”.[32] The company operated four departments: “1. Oil painting of religious images for churches, antepedia, feretories, portraits and all kinds of copies of paintings, 2. Ornamentation of industrial products […], 3. Painting on porcelain […] 4. Painting windows for churches and private houses on glass baked in the fire”.[33] And it is the goods produced in the fourth department, namely stained glass windows, which brought the Studio the greatest popularity and, over time, dominated the scope of its activities. Only in the period up to 1882, ​​forty-nine “windows painted and baked in the fire” were made.[34] The press emphasized the proper education in the field of both Łubieńska herself and her workers.

An unspecified “painted window of Mrs Maria Łubieńska”, displayed at the exhibition of works of “art applied to industry”, held in the summer of 1881 in Brühl’s palace in Warsaw, attracted the attention of the renowned art critic, Karol Matuszewski, who stressed that although it did not match the work of former masters, it was not devoid of merits. He emphasised the pioneering role of Łubieńska in reviving and elevating that “neglected branch of painting”.[35] In his essays devoted to the exhibition he stated: “the spirit of the new era manifested itself clearly also in the fine arts, bringing them from the heights of ideals […] down to the vale of everyday life”.[36] With the transformation of the “Painting Shop” into the Studio of St Luke, it was emphasized that its fourth “department, namely coloured ornamentation of church windows, which, following the works created in the Middle Ages throughout Western Europe has in our time reached such great development, is still particularly neglected here. The Studio of St Luke is the only one in the country that has workers educated specifically in this field and has examined thoroughly the technical part of window construction”.[37] So thoroughly that it also undertook the maintenance of stained glass windows. In 1904, the press reported: “soon the Wrocław cathedral is going to entrust the Studios [sic!] of St Luke in Warsaw with the restoration of their old stained glass windows of the thirteenth century, and Vilnius an old stained glass window sent from Paris, which initially no one knew how to deal with”.[38]

Łubieńska herself learnt the secrets of manufacturing stained glass windows as a “simple workwoman” in the studios in Wrocław, Vienna (in the well-known company of Carl Geyling), Paris, Munich and Berlin.[39] Not all tasks related to stained glass window manufacture could be performed by women; men’s help was necessary. The making of the first window, painted by Łubieńska herself, was assisted by a glass artisan who had gained experience during the course of several years of work in “one of the factories in France”.[40] Ladies dealt with the transfer of designs to cardboard sheets corresponding to the dimensions of a given window and with painting on glass, which was cut by men working in the glass workshop. The duties of the men included firing the glass after the application of the paint layer, bonding the finished parts with lead strips and fixing them in windows. Stained glass windows were made using a mixed technique, which was a combination of the stained glass painting technology with the classical one. According to contemporary sources, “the glasses […] already cut are painted, to enhance the shadows, with paint of the same colour as the glass. This paint is made from that same glass, very finely ground, with the addition of varnish, and sometimes one has to use a totally different colour, that is a colour different from the one that is needed, and which will become such as needed only after firing. The so prepared elements of an image are fired in the kiln constructed ad hoc while one needs to watch very carefully the degree of sufficient vitrification of the paints applied. Once cooled, the elements of an image are fused using lead, larger parts of an image so arranged are framed with iron, and the whole window is also fixed in a single frame”.[41] From 1903, the son of Maria Łubieńska, Wacław Wincenty, who “specialized in this branch of artistic production abroad”, co-managed the enterprise.[42] In 1905 at the latest he became its owner.[43] At that time the head office of the company was located in the building at 22 Bracka Street, and as early as in 1908, at 2 Wspólna Street. In 1905 the enterprise employed eighteen workers and the annual turnover amounted to about 30–40 thousand rubles.[44] The product range included “stained glass windows, all products of artistic ornamental glassmaking, artistic tasks of church painting”.[45] Probably around 1903 Tomasz Pajzderski, the Poznań architect who settled in Warsaw and taught at the School of Fine Arts (Pol. Szkoła Sztuk Pięknych), became artistic director of the Studio.[46] At the dawn of the new century, the press reported: “there are still very few new stained glass windows [in churches]. They are mainly provided by the Studio of St Luke, under the skillful supervision of Countess Maria Łubieńska, trying to match foreign ones. Unfortunately, however, orders are so rare that it cannot, having so little strength, develop parallel to the current state of this branch of church art in the West”.[47] Competition was growing; above all, in Warsaw itself there was Franciszek Białkowski and Władysław Skibiński’s stained glass studio, opened in 1902 and was then replaced three years later by two separate companies run by the two former shareholders.[48]​​ Łubieńska’s Studio found it difficult to move away from the eclectic stylistics and its characteristic mixed technique for the sake of the increasingly fashionable mosaic technique, whose rare yet remarkable example from the Łubieńska’s studio is a stained glass window designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz for one of the villas in Milanówek.[49]

The Studio of St Luke closed down probably around 1910 – the last works, known at the current state of research, date back to that time. Its founder, Maria Łubieńska, lived to a ripe old age. Born shortly after the November uprising, and developing her activity after the January uprising, she saw Poland regaining its independence. She died in Vilnius, on 20th February 1920 at the age of 87. In the Warsaw press there appeared a modest obituary signed by her sons, Wincenty and Tomasz.[50] The funeral service was celebrated in the church of St Alexander in Warsaw (which, incidentally, had stained glass windows from the Studio of St Luke). It was not possible to collect much information on her son and at the same time her successor in the Studio, Wincenty Łubieński. Born in 1862, married to Maria Kazimiera Krasicka, who brought him as her dowry the estate of Wielka Hłusza in Volyn, he lived at least until the end of World War II.[51]


There are several dozen churches which have or used to have “coloured glass for church windows that is kiln fired and therefore does not change its colour due to sunshine or moisture”[52] made in Maria Łubieńska’s studio. The first one, The Entombment of Christ, for the Church of St John in Warsaw (now the cathedral), was created in 1874. It was placed in the window of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, nearly seven meters high and almost two meters wide. Łubieńska is purported to have made the window herself. In the implementation of the composition, modelled on Annibale Carraci’s picture, she was probably helped by Teofil Lenartowicz.[53] The stained glass window was founded by her cousin, Adela, whose parents, Tomasz and Konstancja Łubieńscy, were commemorated in it. The work attracted particular attention of Franciszek Maksymilian Sobieszczański, who stated that “as a local work of art, made without any help from abroad, even on that account it should concern us”.[54] As the stained glass window has not survived until the present day, it seems reasonable at this point to quote its description by Sobieszczański, which – thanks to his remarks on the colours – is a valuable addition to the black-and-white drawing [fig. 1]:

Around the frame runs a small, pearl border, next to it there rise from the bottom to the top two golden gothic pillars finished under the window arcade with a triple arch adorned likewise with golden crosses. Above the arches, the remaining part of the window consists of a background painted matt in a pattern and divided with red lined into squares running diagonally. Under the arches is a blue vault, also divided into small squares, running diagonally, each of which is painted with black crosses and has its corners finished with yellow discs. Below them stretches as if a curtain, adorned with a golden fringe at the top, which constitutes the background of the image. Against that background (or argente) the figural representation is well highlighted, its colour is rich, powerful and harmonious. Under the image there are the coats of arms of the founder and her parents as well as inscriptions explaining the intention in which, by whom and when the image was painted, all of which was placed in four decorative medallions arranged side by side. Finally, the last part of the window is a sapphire cover in festoons from which to the very frame a thick fringe runs down. In the case of the short-sighted it should only be noted here that the face of Christ and the faces of the surrounding figures are modeled too carefully and thus, seen from afar, they lose some of their distinctness because the details are lost in the distance. The same thing can be said about the uncovered body parts, not distinct enough and not too clearly highlighted. In general, however, the entire window creates a favorable impression, even the uniformity of tone that has not been achieved in the blue vault (apparently in the process of firing) does not spoil the whole at all, indeed, it makes it more lively and less monotonous.[55]


The contemporaries stressed: “The archcathedral has gained a beautiful decoration. Because of this, however, the older windows made of coloured glass now look even poorer. Perhaps one of wealthier families will again wish, be it as a monument or in another pious intention, to make a sacrifice to build another window, and our archcathedral would slowly become adorned with a real benefit for the country, because along with the development of art”.[56] Indeed, in the following years (already in the Studio of St Luke) at least two other stained glass windows were made: St Paul the Apostle (1887) and St John the Baptist (1889).[57]

In 1879, at least two circular stained glass windows were created: Salvator Mundi [fig. 2] and St Joseph [fig. 4], for the church of St Anne in Jakubów near Mińsk Mazowiecki – the oldest known to have survived in spite of the destruction of the old church. They were fitted in the windows of the new, neo-Gothic church. They definitely stand out from the other stained glass windows of the church, made ​​after the completion of its construction (1903), also in Łubieńska’s company[58] [fig. 3]. The stained-glass window with the image of St Joseph has an inscription at the bottom: fecit / A.[nno] D. [omini] 1879 M.[aria] Ł.[ubieńska] [fig. 4]. So far, this is the only known signature from the time before opening the Studio of St Luke. Around 1882 the studio made stained glass windows for the neo-Gothic church of the Resurrection in Kuczyn near Ciechanowiec, founded by Ludwika Ostrowska neé Kuczyńska.[59] A few years later (after 1884) the Studio made multi-figural stained glass windows for the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of St John in Łódź,[60] showing New Testament scenes (preserved in the sacristy and in some of the windows above the galleries)[61] [fig. 5]. Probably around 1886 stained glass windows were created for the newly built church of St Barbara in Warsaw,[62] and two years later – for the neo-Gothic church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Warsaw suburb Zerzeń.[63] Before 1883 the interior of the chapel of the Roman Catholic seminary in Przemyśl became decorated with “an image of Our Lady of Częstochowa”, placed in the window above the altar, funded by the Rev. Canon Jan Puzyna, a student of that seminary.[64] At the same time, there were to be made the first stained glass windows for the Gothic parish church of St Nicholas in Bochnia, but only three later ones have survived: St Nicholas (1888) – in the window above the choir [fig. 6], Saints Hyacinth and Ceslaus and Our Lady of the Rosary (1897) – in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary [fig. 7]. At the latest in 1890, Stanisław and Maria Kossakowscy ordered a stained glass window to the church of St Alexander in Warsaw, depicting “against a gentle blue background a two-level altar; on the top level is an image of St Michael the Archangel, on the lower one St Joseph. This true work of art is adorned with the founders’ coats of arms”;[65] two years later, Countess Słubicka and the senator’s wife, Mrs Karnicka, founded another two “colourful ornate windows”. The stained glass window commemorating Jan and Justyn Karniccy presented: “in the middle the luminous figure of Christ, on the sides St John and St Emily. At the bottom the Blessed Virgin and a group of saints, below the inscription and the coat of arms of the Karnicki family: Kościesza”.[66] In 1894, it was recorded that there appeared in the church two more “painted windows depicting the patron saints of the donors, who kneel at their feet, as was the custom adopted in the Middle Ages”.[67] A little earlier (around 1893) the Studio created stained glass windows for two Warsaw churches: the church of the Virgin Mary in the New Town: The Heart of Jesus and The Heart of Mary as well as the Saints Peter and Paul – with an unknown theme.[68] In 1894, the Rev. Rector Antoni Brykczyński founded two windows for the chancel in the neo-Gothic church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross in Goworowo near Ostrołęka, depicting St Frances of Rome and St Stanislaus reviving Peter, the patrons of his parents; two more stained glass windows for the chapel in that church – Our Lady and St Nicolaus – were funded by Mikołaj Glinka.[69] Maria Łubieńska’s studio can probably be recognised as the maker of “the image of St Anthony painted on glass”, which in 1894 was placed in one of the windows of the Baroque church of St Anthony in Senatorska Street in Warsaw.[70] In the following year two stained glass windows for the Gothic church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Myślenice near Krakow:[71] St Peter and St Paul, founded for the chancel by the Rev. Pastor Antoni Dobrzyński, and The Annunciation (surviving until the present day) for the Baroque Chapel of Our Lady of Myślenice. The bottom panel of one of the stained glasses in the chancel presents the portrait of the founder.[72] It seems that at least in 1896, the following stained glass windows, located in the Gothic-Baroque collegiate church in Kalisz, were created: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which corresponds to the dedication of the church, in the chancel above the great altar, and The Annunciation in the closure of the aisle (the one on the right).[73] After 1897 the Studio of St Luke received a commission for stained glass windows for the chapel of the Holy Family in the southern semitransept of the neo-Gothic church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Łódź. Its three windows depict: the Immaculate Virgin Mary with the Child (in the centre), St Joseph and St Joachim.[74] In 1898, the “Rev. Curate and the merchants of the city of Pilica “founded figural stained glass windows: Our Lady of the Rosary [fig. 8] and St John the Baptist, the patron saint of the church, for the chancel of the Gothic church in that city”.[75] In the seventeenth-century church of St Michael the Archangel in Sokolina near Kazimierza Wielka,[76] a number of stained glass windows have survived in the nave, made in the Warsaw studio: St Stanislaus reviving Peter [fig. 9], St Joseph talking with Jesus, Adoration of the Holy Cross by Angels, Our Lady of Częstochowa [fig. 10]. Only the stained-glass window with the Virgin Mary bears the date 1898. The stained glass windows: The Heart of Jesus and The Heart of Mary, in the chancel of the Gothic church in nearby Bejsce, were made one year later. Also in 1899, the company created stained glass windows for the neo-Gothic church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Wojcieszków. One of them, Our Lady of Częstochowa adored by Polish saints, was founded by the Rev. Pastor Tadeusz Habdan Leszczyński “to thank God for XXV years of priesthood,” as states the inscription placed on it; below the main representation there is an angel holding a banner with the date 1897, which commemorated the demolition of the old wooden church[77] [fig. 11]. Another two, in the chancel, represent the patron saints of Ludwika and Kazimierz Plater-Zyberk, the local squire’s children who died prematurely.[78] Probably still in the nineteenth century, two stained glass windows were made for the chancel of the neo-Gothic church of St Anthony of Padua (completed in 1867) in Huszlew, in the Mazowsze region, bearing the coats of arms of the founders, the Count Woroniecki family.[79] At the beginning of the twentieth century stained glass windows were made ​​for the neoclassical church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross in Towiany in Lithuania (The Finding of the Cross, 1900),[80] the baroque church of St Anne in Lubartów (1900), and five chancel windows of the neo-Gothic church (now cathedral) of Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Radom (The Virgin Mary and St Joseph, The Annunciation and Saints Louis and Francis, Saints Ladislaus and Rosalie and Christ in Gethsemane, 1901)[81], for the Chapel of the Infant Jesus Hospital in Warsaw (around 1902).[82] The stained glass in Lubartów (in the aisle, above the altar of Our Lady) was founded by Michał Urban, a farmer from Majdan Kozłowski;[83] the composition shows the founder in a peasant coat, with a portrait-like face, kneeling on the steps of the architectural altar in a moment of prayer before the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help [fig. 12]. In 1902, the stained glass windows were created of the saints: Leo, Peter, Hedwig of Silesia [fig. 13] and Stanislaus Kostka, and located in the wooden church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krzeszów on the San[84] and St Peter and St Paul, Saints Stanislaus and Louis – in the chancel of the Renaissance church of St Stanislaus in Czemierniki. It is possible that two of them, St Peter and St Stanislaus, are the stained glass windows presented by Łubieńska in the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in 1902. Approximately a year later stained glass windows were made for the church in Dąbrowa on the Czarna near Piotrków Trybunalski.[85] A large group of figural stained windows was made in the Studio of St Luke in the years 1900–1904 for the newly built neo-Gothic affiliated church of Saints Peter and Paul in Ciechocinek. Among the figures shown in the windows are the patrons of the church, Polish saints (Hedwig of Silesia, and Stanislaus Kostka) [fig. 14], Bronislava and, among others, St Tekla, Balbina and Helena. The stained glass windows St Matthew and St Felicien were “offered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of priesthood of the Rev. Lutoborski on 17th September 1904”.[86] The spa owed the initiative of building the church to the Rev. Felicjan, a Reformati friar, born Mateusz Lutoborski. Also in 1903, there began the building, lasting several years, of the neo-Gothic church of Saints Peter and Paul in Wasiliszki in the region of Vilnius. It is the largest currently known group of stained glass windows created in Łubieńska’s studio​​, amounting to nineteen figural windows, including numerous images of Polish saints.[87] For some of them, the studio used designs planned for Ciechocinek (e.g. St Isidore, St Anne Teaching Mary)[88] or for the Bochnia parish church (Saints Hyacinth and Ceslaus).[89] The stained glass depicting a woman praying before the altar with the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help copies the design of the window in Lubartowa; probably also here is portrayed the founder, Aniela Narbut.[90] The tracery of some of the stained glass windows represents particularly venerated images of the Virgin Mary: of Gietrzwałd, Szydłowiec, Rokitno, Berdyczów, the Domagalicz family chapel in Lviv, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Troki.[91] One of the stained glass windows shows the image of Our Lady of Ostra Brama carried and adored by angels. Due to the person of the founder, special attention should be paid to the stained glass window with the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, which repeats the design (among others, known from Sokolina), while introducing a new one too – the panorama of Jasna Góra and an inscription of a passage from Mickiewicz’s Invocation. It was offered in 1908 by Maria Łubieńska herself, in memory of her loved ones – her husband Paweł, father Henryk and brother Edward Łubieński.[92] The last currently known stained glass windows from the Warsaw studio were created at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. Among the latest are the stained glass windows in the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Milejów in the Lublin region (1907),[93] the church of the Annunciation in Janówka in the Podlasie region (consecrated in 1908),[94] in the neo-Gothic churches of the Transfiguration in Malowa Góra on the Krzna[95] (Saints Peter and Paul and Saints Stanislaus and Prince Casimir, founded by Maria neé Janowska, the widow of Major-General, engineer Stanisław Kierbedź, around 1909) and the church of Saints Peter and Paul in Kurowo near Biała Podlaska (1910). Of particular interest is the stained glass window in the side chapel of the church in Milejów, showing the enthroned Madonna adored by social classes (the clergy, the noblility, the middle class and peasants) [fig. 15]. The model for the stained glass in Kurowo, used as the setting for the Neo-Baroque altar, was Immaculata by Murillo,[96] which enjoyed unflagging popularity among the clergy and the faithful.

The stained glass windows described above are probably a small part of the works produced by the Studio of St Luke. According to contemporary sources, the works created there were to adorn hundreds of churches in the Congress Kingdom of Poland, “the annexed provinces” (among others, Kobylniki, Szementowszczyzna, Waka, Retów, Krelinga, Humań, Wołodówka, Białocerkiew, Kapuściana, Połonne, Oratów, Wołoczyska),[97] also in the Prussian partition (e.g. in Gniezno, Greater Poland) and the Austrian partition. Orders from Galicia began to appear in the early 1880s at the latest, but – as is apparent from the description above – they were not numerous despite advertising undertaken by Łubieńska, an example of which is displaying in the Catholic bookstore of Władysław Miłkowski in Kraków in 1885 the stained glass window depicting St Stanislaus blessing the king and dignitaries of the state as a “specimen for those who wish to order a stained glass window.”[98] In this area, far more popular were Austrian studios and the local workshop of Teodor Zajdzikowski in Kraków, and the Kraków Stained Glass Studio (Krakowski Zakład Witrażów) operating from 1902. The Studio of St Luke also created stained glass windows for unspecified churches in Russia, in Smolensk, St Petersburg and Tomsk.[99] In 1894 the workshop was to receive an order from the Rev. Kubiak (whose first name is unknown) from the United States of America for two “painted windows” for the Polish Catholic church.[100] Łubieńska also accepted orders for modest glazing with the use of “panes framed in lead”.[101] Most stained glass windows went to newly built neo-Gothic churches (designed by Józef Pius Dziekoński, Konstanty Wojciechowski and Tomasz Pajzderski among others), but they can also be found in Gothic and modern churches. Many of them suffered considerably during the world wars and the 1920 war, some became replaced with new ones, made ​​in other studios.[102] In some churches, only fragments of the original stained glass windows have been preserved. Examples of these are found in the late Renaissance church of the Holy Trinity in Radzyń Podlaski (in the chancel, a fringe with the name St Cunegonde, a foundation inscription, the name of the studio and date 18 […]) and the church of St Nicholas in Lublin (in the chapel, the remains of a frame with the signature, date 1904 and a fragment of the main scene, suggestive of Our Lady of Lourdes).[103]

On the basis of the material collected so far it is difficult to reliably characterise the achievements of the Studio of St Luke. It may, however, be noted that the predominant presentation of the saints is showing them as single figures or combined in pairs, usually in a hieratic pose, embraced in a frame with the characteristics of Gothic or modern architecture (depending on the style of the church), often against the background of hanging drapery. Less numerous are bust presentations and multi-figural compositions. The figures are modelled realistically, with the chiaroscuro effect. All the stained glass windows have saturated, highly contrasting colours. These works were created undoubtedly on the basis of original designs, but ready patterns were also used and compositional schemes were copied, introducing more or less significant modifications. Most of them are of an average artistic level and their stylistic eclecticism expresses the taste of the clients, who accepted the new currents in art with difficulty. Modest signs of the Art Nouveau style can be found only in some of the stained glass windows of the early twentieth century, mainly in the treatment of the background.

At the current stage of research, it is difficult to identify the designers of the church stained glass windows made in the Studio of St Luke. The only known name is that of Leon Biedrzyński (Zerzeń). It can be assumed that the company cooperated with the painters associated with Łubieńska’s school. Among women-painters employed there, the only known one is a Szymańska, whose name is hidden among the ornamental motives of the stained glass window St Joseph in the church in Jakubów. The studio’s owner herself – “a talented artist”[104] – at least initially was personally involved in the process of creating stained glass windows, then probably only supervised their making. Many stained glass windows are signed and dated.


Maria Magdalena Łubieńska played an important role in the revival and development of stained glass window art in Poland – as a painter, and above all, the owner of a studio. Her pioneering work met with keen and positive interest in the press. The Studio of St Luke was recommended by the “Friend of Church Art” (“Przyjaciel Sztuki Kościelnej”) – the official organ of the Society of Saint Luke aimed at the “elevation of church art”.[105] Over the years, the perception of the company’s works changed; its name became synonymous with eclecticism and bad taste. In the 1920s Eligiusz Niewiadomski, a painter, who was also a stained glass designer, wrote, “what was called »stained glass windows« and made in various pious »Studios of St Luke« had nothing to do with creativity or style. Those were just crude and tasteless copies, painted with a brush on large sheets of clear glass, of the works of Italian and Flemish masters”.[106] From today’s perspective, Maria Łubieńska’s activity looks different; the Studio of St Luke, founded by her, has already been recognised in historical and art research[107] and its founder appreciated as an artist.[108]


 Translated by Agnieszka Gicala

[1] Łubieńska Maria Magdalena, in: Słownik artystów polskich (henceforth: SAP), vol. 5, Warszawa 1993, p. 189; R. Kołodziejczyk, Łubieński Henryk, in: Polski Słownik Biograficzny (henceforth: PSB), vol. XVIII, fasc. 4, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków 1973, p. 483.

[2] Z. Grodecka, Łubieński Paweł, in: PSB (fn. 1), pp. 495–496. The biography contains the wrong wedding date: 1885, instead of 1855. Paweł’s first wife, Tekla neé Łubieńska, died in 1853. The first child of Paweł and Maria Łubieńscy was born in 1858.

[3] Sons: Tadeusz (1860–1918), Wacław Wincenty (1862–?), Tomasz (1865–1950), Konstanty Ireneusz (1871–1871); cf. www.genealogiapolska.pl [accessed: 16 Mar. 2012], daughter Tekla Barbara (1858–1886), cf. a note in the biography of her step-sister: Łubieńska Maria Antonina, in: SAP (fn. 1).

[4] D. Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska, Rola kobiet w odrodzeniu polskiego witrażownictwa, a paper presented in the Cracow Branch of the Association of Art Historians 22 April 2009; eadem, Zapomniane. Rola kobiet w odrodzeniu i rozwoju nowoczesnego witrażownictwa (a paper submitted for publication in the materials of the jubilee session of prof. Anna Sieradzka, held on 6 December 2011).

[5] Kościół parafialny pw. św. Lamberta, www.radomsko.pl [accessed: 27 Sept. 2012].

[6] This may be exemplified by the activity of Maria Rostworowska neé Gloger, of Kowalewszczyzna who, having lost her estate, came to Warsaw and opened a dressmaker’s shop with children’s garments in 1874: Narcyza Żmichowska, Listy, vol. IV, Rozmowy z Julią, edited from the manuscript by B. Winklowa, Warszawa 2009, p. 16.

[7] Z wystawy powszechnej w Paryżu, “Kłosy” 5, 1867, no. 105, p. 4.

[8] A.M. Drexlerowa, A.K. Olszewski, Polska i Polacy na powszechnych wystawach światowych 1851–2000, Warszawa 2005, p. 58.

[9] H. Kubaszewska, Kossak Juliusz, in: SAP, vol. 4, Wrocław–Warszawa–Wrocław–Gdańsk 1986, p. 135.

[10] Łubieńska 1993 (fn. 1).

[11] Ibidem; Katalog zbiorów Towarzystwa Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie, Warszawa 1925, p. 11, item 299; J. Frycz, Odrodzenie sztuki witrażowej w XIX i XX wieku, “Szkło i Ceramika” 6, 1974, p. 178.

[12] M. Kosieradzki, Tradycja miejsca – ludzie. Feliks Sobański: cbr.edu.pl/rme-archiwum/2005 [accessed: 10 Oct. 2012]. Sobański was then the owner of Guzów, a former estate of Henryk Łubieński, and a co-founder of the Museum of Agriculture and Industry in Warsaw.

[13] E. Świeykowski, Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie 1854–1904, Kraków 1905, p. 163.

[14] Ruch. Kalendarz encyklopedyczny na rok zwyczajny 1887, Warszawa 1887, p. 109.

[15] Kołodziejczyk 1973 (fn. 1).

[16] T. Żuchlewska, Henryk Łubieński (1793–1883) i jego działalność gospodarczo-społeczna, “Rocznik Żyrardowski” 6, 2008, pp. 537–570.

[17] R. Fański, W fabryce witrażów artystycznych. Słówko o starej sztuce – przyszłości, “Życie i Sztuka” 1904, no. 41, p. 5. On the women’s education system of that time cf. e.g. A. Morawińska, Artystki polskie, in: Artystki polskie, katalog wystawy, Muzeum Narodowe 1991, ed. A. Morawińska, Warszawa 1991, p. 11.

[18] W. Bartkiewicz, Szkoła żeńska rysunku i malarstwa, „Bluszcz” 3, 1868, vol. 4, p. 1. The address of the school is given in Pawłowicz’s biography: J. Polanowska, Pawłowicz Edward Bonifacy, in: SAP, vol. 6, Warszawa 1998, p. 473 ff.

[19] Bartkiewicz 1868 (fn. 18), pp. 1–2.

[20] Kubaszewska 1986 (fn. 9).

[21] A. Ryszkiewicz, Wojciech Gerson, in: SAP, vol. 2, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków–Gdańsk 1975, p. 311.

[22] A. Melbechowska-Luty, Kostrzewski Franciszek, w: SAP (fn. 9), p. 161.

[23] Artystki polskie 1991 (fn. 17), p. 371.

[24] Ibidem; J. Derwojed, Buchbinder Szymon, in: SAP, vol. 1, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków–Gdańsk 1971, p. 266, does not mention this area of the artist’s activity.

[25] Polanowska 1998 (fn. 18).

[26] Nagrody na wystawie Pracy Kobiet, “Gazeta Przemysłowo-Rzemieślnicza” 6, 1877, no. 47, p. 1. In the same category, an award was also granted to her stepdaughter (Maria) Antonina Łubieńska.

[27] Zakład św. Łukasza, “Rola” 21, 1903, no. 6, p. 288.

[28] Fański 1904 (fn. 17), p. 5.

[29] (W przeciągu lat…), “Kronika Rodzinna” 6, 1878, no. 22, p. 703.

[30] (Odbieramy odezwę…), „Kronika Rodzinna” 9, 1881, no. 11, p. 352; (Otrzymaliśmy zawiadomienie…), “Biesiada Literacka” 11, 1881, no. 281, p. 320.

[31] (Pani Maria Lubieńska zawiadamia…), “Tygodnik Ilustrowany” 1881 (1), no. 282, p. 331. The Studio was a kind of partnership between the capital and the employees.

[32] (Otrzymaliśmy zawiadomienie…) 1881 (fn. 30).

[33] (Odbieramy odezwę…) 1881 (fn. 30).

[34] Kronika kościelna, “Przegląd Katolicki” 20, 1882, p. 459; cf. T. Szybisty, Sztuka sakralna Krakowa w wieku XIX, Part 4, Malarstwo witrażowe, Kraków 2012, p. 140.

[35] K. Matuszewski, Estetyczne znamiona czasów i ich odbicie się w wyrobach kunsztu i przemysłu od XVI-go wieku do chwili obecnej (Szkice o wystawie dzieł sztuki stosowanej do przemysłu w Pałacu Brühlowskim, od 14 czerwca do 17 lipca 1881 r.), “Biblioteka Warszawska” 3, 1881, p. 346.

[36] Ibidem, p. 333.

[37] (Odbieramy odezwę…) 1881 (fn. 30).

[38] Witraże kościelne, “Kurier Poznański” 33, 1904, no. 214, p. 3. I would like to thank Ryszard Piechowiak for indicating this source to me.

[39] Ibidem; Fański 1904 (fn. 17), p. 5.

[40] Malarstwo na szkle, “Przegląd Katolicki” 13, 1875, no. 15, p. 233.

[41] Ibidem.

[42] Zakład św. Łukasza 1903 (fn. 27).

[43] Księga adresowa przemysłu fabrycznego w Królestwie Polskim na rok 1906, elaborated by L. Jeziorański, Warszawa 1905, item no. 1256.

[44] Ibidem.

[45] Ibidem.

[46] K. Sobkowicz, Architekci wielkopolscy. Biogramy – dzieła – stowarzyszenia, Part 1, Lata 1886–1939, Poznań 1988, p. 9. I would like to thank Ryszard Piechowiak for indicating the connection of T. Pajzderski with the Studio.

[47] Witraże w kościele goworowskim, “Tygodnik Ilustrowany” 1900, no. 19, p. 377.

[48] D. Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska, Działalność Franciszka Białkowskiego i Władysława Skibińskiego. Przyczynek do badań nad dziejami warszawskich pracowni witrażowniczych, „Sacrum et Decorum” 5, 2012, pp. 63–86.

[49] Fański 1904(fn. 17.

[50] (Nekrolog), „Kurier Warszawski” 100, 1920, no. 81 (20 March), p. 13.

[51] G. Rąkowski, Wołyń. Przewodnik po Ukrainie Zachodniej, Part I, Pruszków 2005, p. 73; Poszukiwani spadkobiercy: centrum.jaroslawrokicki.pl [accessed: 28 Sept. 2012].

[52] Quoted after: Szybisty 2012 (fn. 34), p. 141, fn. 313.

[53] Sketches in the collections of the National Museum in Warsaw. I would like to thank dr Tomasz Szybisty for indicating them.

[54] F. M. S. [Sobieszczański], Okno malowane na szkle w kościele św. Jana w Warszawie, “Tygodnik Ilustrowany”, 15, 1875, no. 388, p. 356.

[55] Ibidem.

[56] Malarstwo na szkle 1875 (fn. 40), p. 234.

[57] warszawamoimoczkiem.blogspot.com [accessed: 20 July 2010]. Neither of them has survived.

[58] For this information I would like to thank Andrzej Skalski.

[59] Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce. Seria nowa, vol. 9, fasc. 2, Ciechanowiec, Zambrów, Wysokie Mazowieckie i okolice, elaborated by M. Kałamajska-Saeed, Warszawa 1986, p. 48.

[60] Now the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

[61] J. Dominikowski, Łódzkie witraże przełomu stuleci, in: Dziedzictwo polskiej sztuki witrażowej, red. K. Pawłowska, J. Budyn-Kamykowska, Kraków 2000, pp. 70–71.

[62] Witraże kościelne 1904 (fn. 38).

[63] Warszawa.wikia.com/wiki/Kościół_Wniebowzięcia_Najświętszej_Maryi_Panny [accessed: 9 Mar. 2012]. In 1944 the church was almost totally destroyed.

[64] Malarstwo. Kaplica Seminaryjum łac. w Przemyślu, “Przyjaciel Sztuki Kościelnej” 1, 1883, no. 6, p. 111 (this source also mentions a stained glass window for the Gothic church in Niepołomice); J. Kołaczkowski, Wiadomości tyczące się przemysłu i sztuki dawnej w Polsce, Kraków–Warszawa 1888, p. 586; cf. Szybisty 2012 (fn. 34), p. 140, fn. 312; A. Laskowski, Z prac Regionalnego Ośrodka Badań i Dokumentacji Zabytków w Rzeszowie nad rozpoznaniem zasobu witraży na terenie Polski południowo-wschodniej, “Kwartalnik Historii Kultury Materialnej” 56, 2008, no. 1, p. 135, fn. 18.

[65] Pracownia malarska, “Biesiada Literacka” 30, 1890, no. 31, p. 74.

[66] Zakład malowania hr. Marii Łubieńskiej, “Bluszcz” 28, 1892, no. 28, p. 223.

[67] (W kościele św. Aleksandra …), „Bluszcz” 30, 1894, no. 48, p. 384.

[68] I would like to thank dr Tomasz Szybisty for the information.

[69] (W kościele św. Aleksandra…) 1894 (fn. 67); Witraże w kościele goworowskim 1900 (fn. 47). The church was damaged during World War I. At present, it has stained glass windows made by Franciszek Białkowski.

[70] (W kościele św. Antoniego …), “Bluszcz” 30, 1894, no. 18, p. 144.

[71] (W kościele św. Aleksandra …) 1894 (fn. 67).

[72] The panel is stored in the rectory. Under the portrait (in the bust) there is wrapper with the name of the founder, the date of portrait completion and the name of the contractor.

[73] A. Tabaka, M. Błachowicz, O dziewiętnastowiecznym wystroju kościoła Wniebowzięcia NMP w Kaliszu, www.swietyjozef.kalisz.pl/?dzial=Osanktuarium&id=13 [accessed: 20 July 2011].

[74] Dominikowski 2000 (fn. 61), p. 70, wrongly attributes to the Studio the creation of stained glass windows for the chancel and the nave while in reality they were made in the studio of Józef Kosikiewicz in 1891. I would like to thank the Reviewer of the present paper for indicating the correct authorship.

[75] I would like to thank Ms Irena Kontny for pointing out these windows to me and lending me the photographs. Both bear signatures and dates.

[76] It is worth noting that in Kazimierza Wielka, starting from 1845, operated the “Łubna” sugar factory founded by Kazimierz Łubieński, a cousin of the owner of the Studio of St Luke.

[77] J. Żywicki, Architektura neogotycka na Lubelszczyźnie, Lublin 1998, p. 335.

[78] I would like to thank Ms Renata Sarzyńskia-Janczak for lending me the photographs of the windows.

[79] pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huszlew [accessed: 20 May 2012].

[80] J. Kucharska, Ilustrowany przewodnik po zabytkach na Wileńszczyźnie i Żmudzi, Burchard Edition 2004, p. 228.

[81] Program konserwacji witraży w katedrze pw. Opieki Najświętszej Marii Panny w Radomiu. Wersja I, elaborated by Pracownia Furdyna, typescript, Kraków 2007: katedra.radom.opka.org.pl [accessed: 2 Oct. 2011]. The stained glass windows for the remaining window openings were made in the following years in the Warsaw studios of Fanciszek Białkowski and Michał Olszewski. During recent restoration work, the figure of St Francis (previously accompanying St Rosalie) has changed places with St Ladislaus (previously together with St Louis).

[82] Witraże kościelne 1904 (fn. 38).

[83] I would like to thank Ms Joanna Kucięba-Wojciechowska for taking a photograph of it.

[84] Laskowski 2008 (fn. 64), p. 135; A. Szykuła-Żygawska, Zabytkowe witraże w kościołach diecezji zamojsko-lubaczowskiej, “Barwy Szkła” 2012, no. 3, pp. 7–8. I would like to thank Ms Marta Nikiel for taking the photograph.

[85] I would like to thank Mr Andrzej Skalski for the information.

[86] K. Hewner, Kościół Świętych Apostołów Piotra i Pawła w Ciechocinku, Ciechocinek 2001, pp. 29–30. I would like to thank Mr Andrzej Bochacz for photographing the stained glass windows.

[87] K. Mączewska, Kościół parafialny pw. Świętych Piotra i Pawła w Wasiliszkach Starych, in: Kościoły i klasztory rzymskokatolickie dawnego województwa wileńskiego, vol. 3, ed. M. Kałamajska-Saeed, Kraków 2010 (= Materiały do dziejów sztuki sakralnej na ziemiach wschodnich dawnej Rzeczypospolitej, ed. J. Ostrowski, Part III), pp. 81–82, figs. 193–210.

[88] Ibidem, figs. 193 and 202, and Hewner 2001 (fn. 86), fig. 31.

[89] Mączewska 2010 (fn. 87), p. 82, fig. 200.

[90] Ibidem, fig. 199.

[91] Ibidem, figs. 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 207, 208.

[92] Edward Łubieński (1819–1867), a writer and a Catholic and conservative activist, buried in the church of St Claudius in Rome.

[93] I would like to thank Ms Katarzyna Tur-Marciszuk for the information and the photographs of the windows.

[94] I would like to thank Mr Andrzej Skalski for the information.

[95] Żywicki 1998 (fn. 77), p. 258.

[96] T.K., Kościół św. św. Piotra i Pawła – Kurowo, pow. Sierpecki, forum.tradytor.pl [accessed: 21 June 2011].

[97] Witraże kościelne 1904 (fn. 38).

[98] Szybisty 2012 (fn. 34).

[99] Zakład św. Łukasza 1903 (fn. 1906).

[100] (W kościele św. Aleksandra …) 1894 (fn. 67).

[101] J. Dziekoński, (Zbudowany podług …), “Architekt” 6, 1905, fasc. 7, col. 110.

[102] Cf. fn. 70.

[103] I would like to thank Ms Katarzyna Tur-Marciszuk for the information. According to the present pastor, the Rev. Bogdan Zagórski, there used to be another two stained glass windows in the chancel: St Nicholas and Merciful Jesus.

[104] Sobieszczański 1875 (fn. 54).

[105] O oknach w kościele, “Przyjaciel Sztuki Kościelnej” 3, 1885, no. 4, p. 43.

[106] E. Niewiadomski, Malarstwo polskie XIX wieku, Warszawa 1926, p. 294.

[107] Frycz 1974 (fn. 11); D. Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska, Witraże w Krakowie. Dzieła i twórcy, “Krakowska Teka Konserwatorska” 5, 2000, pp. 33–36.

[108] Artystki polskie 1991 (fn. 17) , p. 232. Drawings signed by Łubieńska appear on art auctions.


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