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The main altar in Budslauky Basilica was done in 1784-1790 in the style of Classicism. The four main white columns are decorated in gold. That main altar is drawn on flat wall. It represents a perspective representation of semicircular apsid with two-level altar, in the center of which according to the inventory book, a wooden Crucifixion was placed.

Now the wooden Crucifixion is in the niche on the second level, and the fresco is on the bottom of the altar.


The lateral wings of the ancient altar are unfolded in perspective. There are 8 side niches in which sculptures of Prophets from The Old Testimony and also sculptures that are connected with Virgin Mary's appearance are placed. The sculptures of King David and Prophet Aaron are in the niches of the central wing. In the left wing's niches are sculptures of St.Joseph, Priest Zaharia and St.Joahim. In the right wing's niches are sculptures of Aaron, St.Johan, St.Elizabeth, St.Anna. Analyzing the logical order of the sculptures the following conclusion might be drawn: the closest to the altar figures are figures of Virgin Mary's parents, then the parents of St.Ian Baptist, Priest Zaharia and St.Elizabeth, next to St.Elizabeth is Ian Baptist, who is opposite to St.Josiph. The sculptures ofVirgin Mary's ancestors of the male site have been put in the left wing from the viewers, but on the right according to the heraldic system. Above the sculptures are signs with their names on Polish language. The figures of two apostles, Pavel and Peter, are on the very top of the altar. There are four angels on the fronton closer to the simple altar.

The plan of the altar
Particular interest is drawn to the structure of altar's wings they are putted at the angle of 135 degree, the wings' height is half of the bottom level with the niche for the icon. The height is growing from the center and reaches 3,47 m. The height of the columns is gradually decreasing, as well as the width between them. But the height of columns is not the same, there are tree pairs of columns with the height: 1,9; 1,42; 1,1 m. But the difference in the wings is not large (2,16x1,9m). The decreasing of the height and narrowing of the width of niches is reflected in the size of sculptures and figures. In the more low and narrow niches more flat and short fugues can been seen. This descending characteristic of height and width creates the optical depth of the altar, and all attention is concentrated on the Wonderworking Icon of Lord's Mother with Jesus.

The upper and side parts
of the left wing of the altar
The composition of the altar in Budslau does not have any analogies in Poland and Lithuania, it was the idea of the architect. And it is possible to draw conclusion that the architect had been related with theatrical scenery. Alexander Jaroshevich stated that the routes are going deep to Italian art. We should admit that the idea to use perspective for creation of depth and width has long renaissance traditions. At first this method or better to say technique found its adaptation in theatrical scenery. At the 17th century the optical illusion of space was widely used in the architecture of secular interior.

The source of inspiration for the architect of the altar in Budslau was the number of engravings, invented and designed by Montano, Polish art of Baroque period was also influenced by this engravings.

The architect of the altar in Budslau is still unknown, but there is an obvious connection between the altar in Budslau and the engravings from Montano's book "Scielta d. varii Tempietti antichi", that was published in Rome in 1624.

The altar and the retable
with the miraculous icon
On the question who can be the architect of the altar in Budslau, the most probable answer is the following: a professional architect, who had also some knowledge and experience in theatrical scenery and who belonged to Vladislav IV court.

The individuality of Peter Gramer, the master who cut all the figures and sculptures should be mentioned. His high professionalism can be seen in the decorative ornament as well as in the decoration of the columns. The source of the ornament might be taken from the art of Netherlands. The dominant colors of the ornament are black and gold.

The altar presents an important pies of artistic work, not only for Belarus but for Rech Pospolita as well. Only at the second part of the 17th century the altars with perspective appeared in Poland.



On the question who can be the architect of the altar in Budslau, the most probable answer is the following: a professional architect, who had also some knowledge and experience in theatrical scenery and who belonged to Vladislav IV court.

The altar of the Crucifixion The altar of St Francis of Assisi The altar of the Holy Family

St.Kazimir's altar is placed on the south wall, close to the altar of St.Anna, it shows voluminous portico with triple columns on both sites. The altar's frescos have deep bright colors.

The altar of St Kazimir
The altar of St Joseph
The altar of At. Joseph is on the opposite site, on the north wall, close to the altar of St. Antonia and has the same structure.

The altar of St. Francisco Azysskey is on the opposite site on the south wall. In the center is St. Francisco, he is sitting at the table, in front of him is the opened book. His sight is turned to the sky where there is Angel with some musical instrument. Nearby is a monk in the brown clothes. This is the most developed scene in the sense of composition, this scene poseurs the cold colors.

Altars of St. Varvara and St. Iuda have identical structure and are placed on the northern and southern walls, closer to the chorales.

Basedonthe article "Rospisy Budslauskaha kasciola"
(Mural Painting of the Church in Budslau)

by Aliaksandr Yarashevich, Nasha viera No 16 (2-2001).
Photo by M. Mielnikau.

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Copyright (c) 2001 - «Pro Christo»

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