Saint Stanislaus Kostka church

Saint Stanislaus Church in Chwarszczany, a former Templar chapel, is one of the most valuable monuments of Western Pomerania. Built before 1280 in the reductive Gothic style, on the site of a previous chapel by representatives of the Cistercian building thatch working on the realization of a monastery in Chorin near Angermünde (the so-called Chorin thatch). This is evidenced by the spatial layout used, in the form of an elongated nave, closed with polygons, and the repertoire of architectural and sculptural details used.

At the same time, the Khwarsh chapel seems to be a distant echo of „the Holy Chapel” tradition, for which the realization of the Paris Sainte-Chapelle was a significant and also groundbreaking event. In a symbolic sense, on the other hand, the chapel is associated by art historians with Jerusalem architecture, especially through the biblical description of Solomon’s Temple, which coincides with its exterior, and medieval iconographic accounts of the temple.

The chapel is a hall-shaped structure measuring 25.2 m long × 9.5 m wide × 13.6 m high, escarped, closed polygonal (5/8) on the east, with two cylindrical towers in the western corners. Transverse rectangular bays with side proportions of about 3:4. From the north, a two-bay sacristy was added to the third bay (counting from the west) in the 19th century in place of the old one. The ascetic interior of the temple is practically devoid of architectural decoration. Its only elements are two wall niches and a 19th-century music empora.

The most valuable element of the temple’s furnishings are the wall polychromes created around 1400, attributed to the foundation of the Knights of St. John. They form a 2.75-meter high frieze running along the walls of the chapel for almost their entire length, at the height of the windows. Executed in the fresco technique, the paintings are characterized by the contour way in which the compositions are painted, as well as the extraordinary elegance and refinement of the figures depicted. All are dressed in richly decorated with floral motifs robes with decoratively ruffled edges. The anonymous creator of this work, unique in the entire region, undoubtedly came from leading circles in the field of mural painting. Regardless of the origin of the workshop and the school he represented, there is no doubt about the artistic value of the work.

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