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“Apotheosis of Gdańsk”


Apotheosis of Gdańsk
Apotheosis of Gdańsk
Fot. www.gdansk.pl

One of the most beautiful European town hall interiors, the stately Great Council Chamber. Intense red fabrics and rich decorations. The culmination of painting expression is the ceiling, 25 paintings by Isaac van den Blocke. The central, most important with a multidimensional message, simultaneously telling many stories about the powerful city is the “Apotheosis of Gdańsk”. Among the multitude of paintings from Gdańsk of that time is one showing the announcement of a famous building, a favourite today by tourists and locals alike, which at the moment of finishing the painting still did not exist. Maybe the brother’s artist, Abraham, who had a significant influence on the shape of Neptune’s Fountain and Peter Husen - the author of the statue presenting the god of the seas, betrayed their thoughts...
A major contribution to the culture of the city was made by the van den Blocke family who arrived from Flanders to settle in Gdańsk. Both sculptor Wilhelm van den Blocke, as well as his three outstanding sons: architect and sculptor Abraham, painter Isaac and Jacob, left behind exceptional works of art that the city is proud of even today. Isaac became famous as the author of paintings showing the size and wealth of the city that have been placed on the most important ceiling - the Red Hall of the Main Town Hall. He presented in them the specific programme of the City Council and its duty to Gdańsk referring to ancient history and biblical events. The “Apotheosis of Gdańsk” - the centre of its story, presents Gdańsk as an ideal and chosen city, found under the special protection of God.

Main Town Hall

Built for over a century in the Middle Ages, the original Gothic town hall, after a fire in the mid sixteenth century, was rebuilt in Renaissance style. It was coped with a natural size statue of King Zygmunt August. The full, lavish interior in the style of Dutch mannerism: The Great Council Chamber, the Small Council Hall called the Winter Hall as well as the Great Hall of Court called the White Hall testify to the power of Gdańsk at that time and its role in Europe. The characteristic sundial located in one of the corners calls to mind the relentless passage of time with the Latin maxim “The shadows are our days”. This is the most impressive secular building in sixteenth century Gdańsk enriched with a wonderful chime. Today, the Main Town Hall is famous for its replica of a set of 37 wonderful concert bells. Gdańsk is the only city in Poland boasting the possession of chimes, not just one, but two (the second is located on the tower of St. Catherine’s Church. Entrance to the observation gallery lets you enjoy a beautiful view of the city with music ringing from the bells every hour.