Layering of façades - a few comments on the colour of Krakow's façades in earlier and contemporary times.
Vol. 40, no. 2 (2014), s. 171-180
Witnesses to a bygone age, façades are evidence of past life. Interpretation of traces, and particularly colours, aids to recognize old tastes and moods. This paper reviews ornamentation methods used for the outerwalls of buildings in Krakow from the city foundation (1257) until the 1950s. The first part of the paper presents evidence to corroborate a theory that, in spite of a common misconception, medieval façades were not left in their raw condition but plastered. Obviously, plaster did not recall its modern clear and even equivalent, but was greyish and bumpy. Usually this plaster received a multicolour painted finish. Surprisingly for our contemporaries, stone details such as window and door stone work were also painted, the practice being common until the end of the 18th century. Ornamentation methods varied throughout the ages, though rich colouring was popular and characteristic for Gothic, Renessaince, Baroque and Classicism. Dimmed colours as seen in the second half of the 19th century were only occasional in fact. The older the building, the more plaster and painted layers it would receive. Learning about this layering takes us through the history of the building.