Aula Leopoldina: New shine of the pearl of baroque architecture. Reopened to visitors
Conservation works in Aula Leopoldina – a representative hall in the main building of the University of Wroclaw – lasted six years. The effect of works by over 100 specialists in monument renovation can be seen from Monday.
‘Specific work in the interior started six years ago, but we carried out the first research work regarding the condition of Aula Leopoldina in 2008,’ says Łukasz Krzywka, Ph.D. – an art historian and a conservation supervision inspector of the University of the Wroclaw, who piloted the renovation for years.
The 18th-century Aula Leopoldina is one of the most beautiful baroque halls in the world. Erected in 1728–1732, it is named in honour of Emperor Leopold I.
On the occasion of the completion of renovation, a mini-guide around Aula Leopoldina was drawn up – apart from presentation of the history of the interior, it contains a summary of the account of renovation works in the hall.
Quiet heroes from Leopoldinum
‘Over 100 monument conservators, mainly women, who spent long months on scaffolds to renovate paintings, are quiet heroes of the hall interior renovation process,’ says Łukasz Krzywka, Ph.D. ‘We must not forget about employees of various departments of the university administration who were also engaged in the renovation of the Leopoldinum.
The hall was renovated many times. The first renovation took place in 1788 after Silesian Wars. Afterwards, conservators put up scaffolds in the baroque interior several times – the last time they did this was in the 1970s. Original design assumptions were not always adhered to, so this time consultants had to conduct a meticulous investigation which fragment of the decoration is an original work and which one is the effect of subsequent "visions" of conservators.
Specialists had to remove numerous alterations and repainted fragments. Altogether, modern additions to paintings take up around 30% of their area.
City comes to the rescue of the priceless interior
During the last six years, frescoes, stuccowork, elements of the podium with sculptures and galleries were refurbished. Windows were replaced, and paintings, lodges and benches underwent renovation. The floor is yet to be completed, but the university authorities want to let inhabitants and visitors please their eye with the sight of Aula Leopoldina already now.
The renovation cost around 7 million PLN, with 4,540,000 PLN spent from the budget of the city of Wroclaw.