Image and Word: The Carthusians of Byaroza from Iconographic and Written Sources (Summary)

Dorota Piramidowicz (PDF)

The Byaroza Carthusian Monastery, built in the mid-17th century, was one of the most luxurious monasteries in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Today, apocalyptic ruins testify to the former luxury of the Carthusian monastery.

A lithograph by Alojzy Misierowicz depicts the landscape of Byaroza, based on a watercolour by Napoleon Orda from the Album of Polish Historical Images. The lithograph, created around 1865, just before the buildings were demolished, shows the church from the southwest, the main entrance gate and the western wall of the fence with the outer tower.

The professional plans and layers of the Byaroza Carthusian Monastery, drawn on the order of the Russian government in 1837, are currently preserved in the Russian State Military Archives. These drawings are supplemented with detailed reports of visitators from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They can be used to identify the location and titles of the church altars, the luxurious equipment of the treasury and sacristy and the purpose and system of the monastery and the utility rooms.

Less known is the image of the Byaroza complex from a graphic artwork of the early 20th century based on a painting of the mid-18th century. It depicts a silhouette of the church with an inner courtyard, monk dwellings and gardens, inner utility buildings and a brick wall with five towers. The manuscripts of Georg Schwengl (1697−1766), a senior and chronicler of the Kashubian Carthusian, are informative sources on the Byaroza Carthusians. They include three images of the Byaroza Carthusian monastery, which have not been explored in the literature.

Keywords: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, architecture, monastery complex, Napoleon Orda, Kazimierz Leon Sapieha