Stunning 600-year-old frescoes celebrated at Lublin castle
Lublin is celebrating the 600th birthday of some very special frescoes, with festivities including a Fresco Festival
The frescos adorn the walls and vaults of Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Lublin Castle. Tucked in the courtyard, the chapel was built in the mid-14th Century.
The combination of Gothic architecture outside and Byzantine-Ruthenian frescoes inside make it one of the leading examples of medieval art in Poland.
Funded by King Władysław Jagiełło, the medieval ruler of Lithuania and Poland, the polychromes were completed in 1418.
A group of three masters painted them by placing pigments – lime, azurite, malachite, charcoal and iron clay – mixed with water on fresh plaster.
The images form thematic cycles, with both religious figures and Jagiełło himself featuring. One image shows the House of Jagiellon coat of arms at Christ’s feet, illustrating the Polish ruler’s submission to him.
Since the end of the 19th Century, the precious frescoes have undergone conservation, after they were discovered in 1899 by artist Józef Smoliński under a layer of plaster.
They were significantly damaged during the Second World War and its aftermath. Conservation resumed in the 1950s, followed by efforts to improve the building’s technical condition and monitor the conditions inside it. The chapel has been open to visitors since 1997.
The Fresco Festival, which continues throughout August, features free events every weekend in the castle courtyard, including performances of old liturgical songs and historical dances. Other activities include workshops for families and demonstrations of the techniques used to paint the frescoes.
As part of the 600th birthday celebrations, Lublin Museum is offering 600 free tickets to see the frescoes. These can be collected from Lublin Castle on 10 August – after answering a question about the frescoes correctly.