0215 Art Historiography on the Main Building of the University of Wrocław – A Battlefield of Ideologies

  • Karolina Jara (Author)
    Doctoral candidate, University of Wroclaw, Poland

    Karolina Jara is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Art History at the University of Wrocław. Her dissertation focuses on architecture and urban planning in Silesia from 1933 to 1945. Her research work is being supported by a “Preludium 13” predoctoral grant from the National Science Center in Poland and by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). Karolina also works as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Architecture at Hochschule Mainz/University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, where she is collaborating on a project to digitally reconstruct the New Synagogue in Wrocław/Breslau, which was destroyed during the Reichspogromnacht in 1938. This project relates closely to Karolina’s master’s thesis, defended at the University of Wrocław in 2013, which examined the New Synagogue and its designer Edwin Oppler (1831–1880). Karolina’s fields of interest include architecture, urban planning, and design, especially their intersections with German-Polish heritage, from the nineteenth century to the present.

  • Emilia Kłoda (Author)
    Wroclaw Doctoral candidate, University of Wroclaw, Poland

    Emilia Kłoda is an art historian currently working in the Lubomirski Princes Museum at the National Ossoliński Institute in Wrocław. In 2017, she received her PhD from the University of Wroclaw (dissertation topic: “Life and work of the baroque painter Johann Christoph Lischka”). She cooperated on the projects “Virtual Museum of Baroque Ceiling Paintings in Silesia” and “Baroque Painting in Silesia” at the University of Wrocław. Until December 2017, she worked in the project “Scientific infrastructure for art-historical monuments in East Central Europe” at the Herder Institute in Marburg. Baroque art, painting in Silesia, digital art history, and art historiography are her main fields of interest.

Identifiers (Article)


The main building of the University of Wrocław, with its magnificent façade facing the Odra River, is one of the most important historical monuments of the city and a major tourist attraction. It also houses a significant institution in the Polish educational landscape. Founded by Jesuits and built in early eighteenth-century Baroque style, the University is closely connected with the history of the Habsburg monarchy and its Counter-Reformation aims. For this reason, after 1945, its heritage was difficult to reconcile with the official Communist ideology and its initially anti-German sentiments. This article tackles the question of how both art historiography and the popular media, including guidebooks and the press of the People’s Republic of Poland, became engaged in the task of proving the Polish roots of the University of Wrocław. To this end, we provide an overview of the shifting interpretations and attributions of the Baroque edifice from its beginnings in the eighteenth century until the second decade of the twenty-first century in order to highlight the features specific to the discourse in Socialist times.


University, Wrocław, baroque architecture, ideologization, art historiography