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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 7, 2010
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Continuing an Artistic Tradition
April 7, 2010 By M.M.    
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The palace and park in Orońsko, once the property of renowned painter Józef Brandt and now home to the Center of Polish Sculpture, is a major attraction in the southern part of Mazovia province.
The history of the Orońsko estate goes back to the 15th century, when a large village of the same name was first mentioned in the writings of Jan Długosz. Through the centuries, Orońsko belonged to the famous Odrow±ż, Radziwiłł and Sapieha families. The neoclassical palace was built in the mid-19th century and became the core of the manor estate. The design is ascribed to a well-known architect of the period, Franciszek Maria Lanci.
Brandt became the owner of the estate in 1877. At the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century this recognized painter, who also worked in Munich, Germany, turned Orońsko into a meeting place for artists. In the summer season the palace was open to young painters, and the name Free Academy of Orońsko became legendary. The artistic tradition started by Brandt continues to this day.
The redevelopment of the damaged Orońsko palace-and-park complex, which is recognized as a historic site, started in 1965. An exhibition of outdoor sculptures created at the First Sculpture Meetings was set up in the picturesque manor park. Studios for artists were opened in rebuilt former stables in 1969. The artists' center was run by the Friends of Sculpture Society. In 1981 the Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko became a government-run facility set up by the Ministry of Culture and Art. This marked the start of years of investment aimed at restoring the buildings and the 13-hectare park to their former glory. Brandt's palace was thoroughly refurbished, as was the chapel, the granary and the coach house. The historical wooded area and picturesque natural water features with two scenic ponds are being gradually restored as well. The hothouse has been rebuilt from scratch using old drawings. The most impressive building is the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, completed in 1992, a multi-purpose building with a large exhibition room. The center boasts an extensive collection of contemporary Polish sculpture, including work by Alfons Karny, Gustaw Zemła, Katarzyna Kobro and others.
Today the Center of Polish Sculpture is an international sculpture center. Every year, more than 200 artists from Poland and abroad come here. Outdoor workshops are held in Orońsko, and many temporary exhibitions take place here.
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