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The Royal Łazienki Gardens are open daily, from dawn untill 7 p.m.
During this time, following objects are free to visit: Amphitheatre, Sybil Temple, Egyptian Temple, Waterwell Building and other pavilions and sculptures located in Royal Łazienki Gardens.

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The Stanislavian Theatre

The Stanislavian Theatre

Construction year: 1788
Designer/builder: Dominik Merlini

The King Stanisław Augustus Theatre completed in 1788 according to a design by Dominik Merlini is one of the few surviving original eighteenth-century court theatres from this period. The mastery of its execution places it on a par with the prominent Swedish theatres in Drottningholm, Gripsholm and Solna, and equal to the court theatres at Versailles and St. Petersburg. The auditorium in the form of an amphitheatre and the boxes encircling it allowed the audience of 160 invited by the King to enjoy the performances (mainly ballet and the light, court repertoire favoured by the King) in comfort. The theatre’s wooden interior ensured excellent acoustics, and the illusionistic wall paintings by the artist Jan Bogumił Plersch (1732–1817) added additional significance to the interior. Boxes full of spectators were painted above the bona fide boxes – an illustration that reflected the cultural conflict of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at that time. Fashionable ladies can be seen in the company of gentlemen dressed in the ‘European’ style of French dress coats and powdered wigs, as well as traditionalists with half-shaven heads wearing the kontusz (a long robe worn by the Polish gentry). The decorations also include wall paintings in the style of bas reliefs, such as the coat-of-arms of the King and of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth supported by two figures blowing trumpets symbolizing Fame above the stage and the four medallions on the ceiling depicting the renowned dramatists Sophocles, Shakespeare, Racine and Molière. These playwrights had been chosen by the King – a great theatre lover – on the basis of his personal predilections. Also worthy of note is the oval plafond depicting Apollo leading a quadriga. The painter used an effective allusion here, giving the Greek god and patron of fine arts and poetry the facial features of the King – himself a generous patron of the arts. The curtain, which has not survived, was designed by Plersch according to the same concept, situating Mount Parnas, the seat of the Muses, in the Royal Łazienki. Between the boxes are statues of women dressed in ancient robes, according to a design by André Le Brun (1737–1811), which served as majestic candelabras. Behind the stage are fragments of the original theatrical machinery (a ‘drainpipe’ to reproduce the sound of a storm) that was dismantled after the Second World War. Although the theatre was originally established mainly for the purpose of court entertainment, in 1791 Stanisław August loaned it out to Wojciech Bogusławski, founder of the Polish National Theatre, for public performances.

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