The Gift of the Architect Jakub Kubicki

Iryna Laurouskaya


   Historians from Brest, when they visit Poland, often stop in the border town Terespol to see the  Monument to the construction of the Brest Highway (Fig.1), that was erected in Terespol to commemorate the end of the construction of the Brest Highway in 1825. The monument is a stele,  14 m high, standing on an rise.   It is made of cast iron. Bas-reliefs, depicting historical moments, decorate sides of the stele.
The bas-reliefs (Fig. 3-6) were designed by a talented Czech born sculptor Paweł Maliński (1790-1853). They were cast under supervision of a young artist Wojciech Stattler (1800-1875) in the iron foundry of Samsonów (Fig.12). In 1818-1823,  Stanisław Staszic (1755-1826) initiated the construction of the foundry on the site of the old castworks.
A few know that there are two such steles in Poland. The first stele in Terespol is well known among historians of Brest and the  second one is in Warsaw, Grochowska Street. (Fig.2.)
Both are as like as two peas.
The bas-relief with the city name in Polish "Brześć" (Fig.9) is of special interest for Brest historians.
This image appeared in many publications under the title “Brest-Litovsk viewed from Terespol”, however for many years it was not clear who and when made this image.
Just in the early 2000s the author managed to find in the National Library of Poland in Warsaw the original drawing, made by the architect (1758-1833) Jakub Kubicki, when he designed the monument. 
The cast bas-relief on the monument  appeared to show only the central part of the found Kubicki's picture, many details were missing.
It was necessary to verify what was depicted in the Kubicki's picture.
      After numerous comparisons of textual sources, maps, drawings of the early 19th century the author managed to draw the final conclusion: Kubicki drew the panoramic view of Piasecka Street in Brest (Fig.8). He depicted in the drawing a fragment of the new parish church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross (1766), the church of the Annunciation  of Bridgettine Sisters (1751), church of Our Lord Jesus and St. Casimir  and the Jesuit college (1686) and residential buildings like Czartoryjski's palace (18th century), that was earler Sapieha's palace (16 cxentury) and probably the town hall.
      A huge fortress of the Russian Empire was built in 1835 and most houses in Brest were demolished. Therefore, the drawing made by the Polish architect Kubicki is a real gift for posterity. Alas, this is treated in Brest calmly, without enthusiasm, while the Arcades of the Royal Castle in Warsaw (Fig.11) were named after Jakub Kubicki. Perhaps he will be remembered in Brest in future. Better late than never!


Fig.1. Monument to the construction of the Brest Highway in Terespol. Photo: Ivan Chaichyts, 2015.
Fig.2. Monument to the construction of the Brest Highway in Warsaw. Author's photo, 2006.
Fig.3. Fragment. A bas-relief on the stele in Warsaw. Author's photo, 2006.
Fig.4. Fragment. A bas-relief on the stele in Warsaw. Author's photo, 2006.
Fig.5. Fragment. A bas-relief on the stele in Warsaw. Author's photo, 2006.
Fig.6. Fragment. A bas-relief on the stele in Warsaw. Author's photo, 2006.
Fig.7. Copy of J.Kubicki's drawing made by an unknown artist.

Fig.8. Piasecka Street in Brest, viewed from Terespol. Legend: 1 - the church of Bridgettine Sisters before the big fire;  2 - former merchant stock exchange; 3 - Czartoryjski's Palace;  4 - parish chapel; 5 - new church Exaltation of the Holy Cross(1766); 6. Town Hall (?);  7-8 - Jesuit church with the tower and college . Author's reconstruction based on Kubicki's drawing.
Fig.9. A fragment of the panoramic view of Brest on the bas-relief after Kubicki's drawing. Author's photo, 2006.


Fig.10. Piasecka Street on the city map of Brest-Litovsk, early 19th century. Author's reconstruction.


Fig.11. Kubicki Arcades in Warsaw. Photos: Аlina Zienowicz, Romuald Wróblewski
Fig.12. The iron foundry in Samsonów (Poland). Photo: ZAGNAŃSK - Gminny Portal Internetowy