Kornyakta Palace, Lviv
Near “Black Stone” there is a palace in Renaissance style (Rynok Square 6), where History Museum is situated. Known as Kornyakta Palace, it segregates among other buildings by its size and art value.
In the middle of the 16th century instead of this building there were 2 houses owned by merchant Melhior Haze. After fire in 1571 he sold the site to Konstantin Kornyakt, who got royal order on construction of 6-window palace. Usually it was allowed to build only 3-window houses.
Project was designed by the best Lviv architect Peter Barbona, in 1580 the palace was finished. In 1623 it became the ownership of monastic order of Carmelite, in 1640 – of governor Jakub Sobieski, the father of Polish king Ian III. In this palace on the second floor the agreement between Rzeczpospolita and Moscow State called “Eternal Peace” was ratified in 1686. According to it, Poland refuse Kyiv and Left-bank Ukraine, also engaged not to oppress local Ukrainian population, respect their rights and faith. Since 1908 History Museum has been here.
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Kornyakt Palace is one of the most significant monuments of Lviv architecture of Renaissance period. The strict facade gives impression of noble serenity, bright and clear harmony of forms, clear architectural logic; Puritan asceticism and rich decor both are rarity here.
Ground floor, used as commercial premises, is dismembered by arched doorways and three windows, that is why it seems to be massive and heavy. Impression of some severity, which reminds us about times when “blood was cheaper than wine, and human was cheaper than horse”, is softened by asymmetry: portal is not situated in the center.
On the sides of the portal there are two Corinthian columns which emphasize the entrance to the building. Between columns there is double flower garland which is supported by lion mask and mascarones on both sides. These natured barbels with raised eyebrows in surprise are the fruit of creativity of Lviv sculptor of the next XVII century.
The second and third floors have six widows, above there is high attic with sculptures, characteristic for Italian palaces. This attic changed the Renaissance crest of the consoles and balustrades, and it was built later, in 1678. It is suitable for the whole building and gives lightness and dynamism to it. Figures of king with scepter, six knights in armor with swords, shields and lance, volutes as symbolic dolphins, which form the attic, complete the image of building. Its aspiration upwards is created by pilasters as germs on the parapet of attic.
The back elevation is also well organized. It overlooks Fedorova Street. The décor consists of trims and gorgeous rusticated portal, where the date of building construction is carved – 1580. Two columns on each side, cornice with cartouche, volutes, emblem and capstone – all this is evidence of great style and artistic tact.
Main entrance leads to narrow vestibule, covered with vaults. On the right side there are two Renaissance halls, one of them overlooks the courtyard; on the left side - Gothic hall with characteristic lancet overlapping, left of the original structure. It might be the only large fragment of secular Gothic architecture in Lviv.
From vestibule we enter the courtyard, and if we transported to ancient Italian city. Open loggia are on three sides of building on every floor. Balustrades, rustication, stairs, passages, wildly overgrown ivy and chipped from time flagstones give very picturesque view to Italian courtyard. In every line and detail there is unique flavor of historical era, which distinguishes original from the most skillful imitation.
Like many Lviv buildings, Kornyakt Palace has mark of many eras and architectural styles – from Gothic to late Classicism (some interiors like staircase and royal apartments on the second floor). Generally, it is characteristic monument of Renaissance era with its humanism of art concept, proportionality of building to human, aesthetics of architectural shapes and volumes, lines and proportions. These features bring together Korniakt Palace with other monuments of Lviv architecture of that period - Ensemble of the Assumption Church, “Black Stone”, other buildings on Rynok Square.