Author: Arkadiusz Wojtyła
Institution: Uniwersytet Wrocławski
Year of publication: 2014
Source: Show
Pages: 107-121
DOI Address:
PDF: iw/05/iw504.pdf


The aim of this paper is to present the report on the journey of Cardinal Friedrich of Hessen-Darmstadt from Rome to Wrocław, undertaken in 1676 to assume governorship of Silesia and real power over the diocese of Wrocław. The report, published in this city soon after the completion of his journey, is now preserved in the Old Prints Department of the Wrocław University Library. This source contributes new facts from the biography of the cardinal - the founder of the famous St. Elisabeth Chapel alongside the Cathedral of Wrocław, decorated with statues sculpted in Rome. During his journey to Silesia, Friedrich of Hessen-Darmstadt stayed with his retinue in Loreto, Verona and Trento, entertained everywhere with great pomp and ceremony. Then he went to Vienna, where he took part in imperial audiences and was granted the title “Durchlauchtigst”. At the end of his journey he went to Nysa and from there to Wrocław. From the art history point of view this travelogue contributes information about the “occasional architecture” and the decoration of the churches in Nysa and Wrocław, liturgical vestments and vessels, and about costumes and vehicles of Silesian dignitaries. From the literature on the subject we know that on the occasion of the arrival of the cardinal to Wrocław three new doors to the local cathedral were founded. The main entrance doors were decorated with relief depicting Jacob’s Dream and Joseph in a Well. In the light of the appropriate biblical quotations and commentaries on them these scenes illustrate the idea of the gate to the heavenly Jerusalem as well as the symbolical transition from the sphere of death to the realm of life.

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