CHOPIN’S POLAND CHOPIN’S POLAND

Warsaw: Library

Warsaw: Library Warsaw: Library

In the University Library, then located in the main building of Kazimierz Palace, Chopin studied music scores, as well as literature and periodicals devoted to music. An equally valuable collection for him was the library of the Warsaw Society for the Friends of Learning, located in the building now known as Staszic Palace on ul. Nowy Świat.

Staszic Palace [Pałac Staszica] was built in the years 1820-23 to a design by Antonio Corazzi, on the site of the eighteenth-century church of the Dominican Observers. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, the ruling Russian partitioners had the palace rebuilt as an Orthodox church in Ruthenian Byzantine style. In the years 1924-26 Marian Lalewicz returned the building to its classicist character. Post-war reconstruction to a design by Piotr Biegański restored the architectonic form given the building by Corazzi. Today, the palace is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences [Polska Akademia Nauk] and the Warsaw Society of Learning [Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie].

In front of the palace stands a monument to Copernicus by Bertel Thorvaldsen, erected and ceremoniously unveiled in 1830. During the war the monument was partly destroyed and then transported by the Germans to the West. In 1945 it returned to its former location, and four years later regained its original appearance.

Both the building and the monument were erected at the initiative and through the efforts of the then chair of the Society for the Friends of Learning, the eminent writer, philosopher and scholar, Stanisław Staszic (1755-1826). On his death, his body was laid out in the palace and subsequently laid to rest by the Camaldolese church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Bielany district of the city. Present at the funeral was Chopin, who included an extensive account of the ceremony in a letter to Jan Białobłocki. Staszic's grave and bust are situated by the left-hand wall of the church (looking from the main entrance). The Camaldolese church was erected in the years 1669-1710. It stands on ul. Dewajtis, in Bielany Forest, not far from Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University.

 


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