Sculpture at the Orangery 

You may remember my previous attempt to enter the Orangery in Łazienki Gardens, foiled by some fancy lunch. You may also remember the Dutch garden that gave me so much unexpected pleasure. This is what I found when I attempted entry again.

However I did not give up easily, and when I finally circumnavigated the building and tracked down the entrance I was rewarded by the discovery that November is free museums month. I spent a pleasant few hours roaming around the Old Orangery at no cost. The building itself was worth seeing. It was built between 1785 and 1788 to house exotic trees in winter, and the king’s collection of marble statues and plaster copies of famous statues from antiquity.

The busts lining the first few narrow rooms cried out to be incorporated into a photo essay on hair styles.

The sun poured into the long room-avenue where Nero cosied up to Apollo and Flora, all statues in the classical mode: the classical stance, the classical drapes, the classical nudity. There was a very satisfying dog amongst all the human heads and flesh.

Upstairs got a bit more interesting, although there seemed to be an economy of light, a mixed blessing for this very amateur photographer. I liked the more modern sculpting, more movement and flow, and greater individuality. Here there were a few more women. If I count Diana and Flora from downstairs, women were divided into a number of unsurprising categories: goddess, mother, wife, nude and symbol. They rarely had names, unless of course I wilfully ignored names in pursuit of a thesis and feminist outrage.

My favourite sculptures were all upstairs in the dim: Chopin’s funeral procession; a number of faces all sharp angles; a group of folk, far more interesting and human than the smug groups of humanists and the conniving group of Jesuits that shared space with them; the three Marys; and three lovely ones of children, especially the child sewing. 

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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21 Responses to Sculpture at the Orangery 

  1. restlessjo says:

    A fine looking hound, Meg, and I see what you mean about the sewing child. I like her neighbour too. 🙂 Some of the other stuff is a bit too haunted and sad for me. Smiley Jo, as well you know 🙂 A lazy weekend with time off for good behaviour? Sunday hugs, m’dear. Bit miserable here today but maybe a shaft of sunlight later.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucid Gypsy says:

    The dog wins with me. Goodness some of those sculptures would have frightened me when I was a child, or even last night!


  3. Heyjude says:

    I am not a fan of busts, though I had a smile over the hair styles 🙂 Some of those other statues were quite frightening and haunting. I have to confess that I was not expecting statuary in the orangery, but plants and orange trees and figs and wicker chairs and… well you get my point.


  4. icelandpenny says:

    I most very especially particularly like that final image!


    • Rosemary Barnard says:

      I too like the final image, but you would have predicted that, knowing my predilections as you do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So all that sculpture wasted. All we need is a glimpse of the outside world – through a window of course – to trump it. You’ll have to bypass my next sculpture post, although it does have a cat, and a very nice building.


    • Which I nearly didn’t include!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rosemary Barnard says:

        Where else would it have been included? I am glad you put that photo in, as allowing the natural world into an art gallery in such a way is fairly rare. In this instance, it represents nature’s sculptures if you like. As for the rest, speaking for myself, a little sculpture rather than a lot enhances my appreciation of individual items. As I told you elsewhere, I did like the three Marys and, now I have seen it here, I like the dog. We have a Cairn terrier sculpture in our cathedral, residing under one of the altars. He represents the faithful companion and comforter of the WWI soldiers ministered to by a famous army chaplain, and he is very popular with children.


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