Czapski Palace

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The Czapski Palace (Polish: Pałac Czapskich, IPA: [ˈpawat͡s ˈt͡ʂapskʲix]), also called the Krasiński, Sieniawski or Raczyński Palace, is a substantial palace in the center of Warsaw, at 5 Krakowskie Przedmieście. It is considered one of the most distinguished examples of rococo architecture in Poland's capital. The building, just across the street from the University of Warsaw, has been home to famous persons including artist Zygmunt Vogel, composer Frédéric Chopin, and poets Zygmunt Krasiński and Cyprian Norwid. The palace now houses the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.


"Czapski Palace" is the name most often applied to the building, but in reference to subsequent residents it is also sometimes called the Krasiński, Sieniawski or Raczyński Palace. The building has also been owned by the Radziwiłłs, Radziejowskis, Zamoyskis and Czartoryskis. Now the home of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, the Czapski Palace dates from the late 17th century. It was constructed in about 1686 to Tylman van Gameren's design for Michał Stefan Radziejowski, Archbishop of Gniezno and Cardinal Primate. Between 1712 and 1721 it was reconstructed by Agostino Locci and Kacper Bażanka (alcoves and breaks were added) for the next owner, Great Crown Hetman Adam Mikołaj Sieniawski. In 1733 it was purchased by Aleksander Czartoryski, as a dowry for his daughter Maria who married her cousin Thomas Czapski (1711-1761). Its present rococo character dates from 1752–65, when the palace belonged to the Czapski family. At that time, the Krakowskie Przedmieście entrance was decorated with eagles and allegorical figures of the Four Seasons. The Czapski Palace changed owners at least ten times. It was the residence of Stanisław Małachowski, Marshal of the Sejm, who in 1791 co-authored the world's second, and Europe's first, codified written national constitution—the Constitution of May 3, 1791. Małachowski and his wife Konstancja, née Czapska (daughter of Thomas Czapski), in the mid-eighteenth century remodeled the palace into a French-style city palace. Added around the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were two classicist annexes designed by Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer. Another famous resident of the palace (1808–26) was Zygmunt Vogel, an artist who specialized in watercolor and drawing and was a professor in the University of Warsaw Department of Fine Arts. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the palace was acquired by Wincenty Krasiński. Zygmunt Krasiński, the Polish romantic poet, was born here in 1812. In 1827–30 Fryderyk Chopin lived here with his family in the building's south annex, on Krakowskie Przedmieście; the Palace was Chopin's last home before he went into exile. In 1837–39 it would be home to poet Cyprian Norwid, author of "Chopin's Piano" about the Russian troops' 1863 defenestration of the instrument. In 1851–52 the palace was rebuilt by Enrico Marconi. From 1909 to the outbreak of World War II, the building belonged to Edward Raczyński, future President (1979–86) of the Republic of Poland in Exile.The palace burned in 1939 after being shelled by German artillery, and priceless paintings and books are thought to have been destroyed. It was reconstructed in 1948-59 to a design by Stanisław Brukalski. After restoration, the palace was incorporated into the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.


In the courtyard before the Palace stands a copy of Andrea del Verrocchio's equestrian statue of the Venetian condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni.In the south annex to the Palace, facing directly onto Krakowskie Przedmieście, a large second-floor room, the Chopin Family Parlor (Salonik Chopinów), features period furniture and memorabilia of the composer. The parlor's interior and decor, from the first half of the nineteenth century, have been reconstructed from sketches made in 1832 by Antoni Kolberg. The parlor is open to the public.The Academy of Fine Arts museum that opened in 1985 holds 30,000 works from all fields of visual art: painting, sculpture, graphics, drawing, posters, architecture, artistic crafts, industrial design. The museum is located in the Palace's attic. The collections are held in 200 square metres of storage rooms, while the exhibition rooms host meetings, lectures and temporary displays.
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