Borrowing Images of Empire: The contribution of research on the artistic influence of the Holy Roman Empire on Polish Romanesque architecture in the eleventh and twelfth centuries

Piotr Samól


Although knowledge concerning Romanesque architecture in Poland has developed over many years, most cathedrals and ducal or royal seats have not been comprehensively examined. Moreover, a substantial number of contemporary scholarly works have erased the thin line between material evidence and its interpretation. As a consequence, the architectural remains of Polish Romanesque edifices are often considered the basis for wider comparative research. Meanwhile, fragmentarily preserved structures of Romanesque buildings have allowed scholars to conduct research on their origins and models, but they have rarely provided enough information for spatial reconstructions of them. This means that one might investigate the process of transposing patterns from the Holy Roman Empire to Poland instead of the influence of Polish masons’ lodges on each other. Therefore, this paper has two aims. The first is to look at how imperial patterns affected the main stone structures (cathedrals and collegiate  churches) in Poland before Germanic urbanisation in the thirteenth century. The another is to analyse, how the changes in knowledge of Imperial archetypes might influence the interpretation of their Polish copies.

Słowa kluczowe: Romanesque architecture, Poland, Ostrów Lednicki, monumental stone buildings