The classicist style originated in France in the 17th century and strove to create harmony, symmetry and rhythm as well as a sense of order. From there, it spread to every country in Europe - at a time when baroque embellishment (especially in its last, rococo, phase) encouraged exaggerated extravagance. The principle of contrast led to the construction of buildings whose forms were peaceful and whose arrangements drew upon Greek temples and Roman edifices.
Classicist construction is most evident today in our glorious palace and park complexes. Kazimierz Raczyński commenced building his imposing palace in Rogalin (Poznań County) as a baroque edifice but had it completed in the new style c.1768-1820 with Johann Friedrich Knöbel, Domenico Merlini and Johann Christian Kamsetzer taking turns as designers.
The neoclassical palace funded by the Lipski Foundation in Czerniejewo is another civic structure. Every aspect of the imposing palace and park complex in Pawłowice (Leszno County) - not least its founder and the team he engaged to build it - makes it well worth a visit. The palace was designed by the renowned Wrocław architect Karl Gotthard Langhans.
The other country classicist residences are rather different in form and do not have adjoining galleries or annexes. These have been preserved in Siedlec in Poznań County (1770-1775), Objezierze (1786-1792) and Sierniki (designed by J. C. Kamsetzer c.1786-1788) in Oborniki County, Niechanowo in Gniezno County (1783-1784), Racot (designed by Domenico Merlini c.1780-1790), Kopaszewo (1800-1801) and Jarogniewice (c. 1770) in Kościan County, Lewków in Ostrów Wielkopolski County (1786-1791), Pakosław in Rawicz County (after 1791 and possibly designed by K. G. Langhans).
There are smaller manor houses, albeit in the same style with columned porticos, in Grochowiska Szlacheckie in Żnin County (late 18th century), Srebrna Góra in Wągrowiec County (c. 1799), and Petryki (1st half of the 19th century) and Żelazków (1796-1798) in Kalisz Country. Porticos were also added to earlier buildings in Kołaczkowo (Września County) and in Lwówek. The late classicist palace in Owińska, which dates from 1804-1806, is a serene, rectangular block without a portico designed by Berlin architects Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Franz Catel.
The three supposedly original palaces designed by Stanisław Zawadzki deserve special mention for their superb interior decoration (which includes polychromes by Antoni and Franciszek Smuglewicz) and beautiful surrounding parkland.
The first is Gorzeński Palace in Śmiełów (Jarocin County), erected in 1797. An earlier palace in Dobrzyca (Pleszew County) was reconstructed in 1798-1799 on a special "L" plan (a Masonic square) to reflect the fact that its founder, Gen. Augustyn Gorzeński, was a Mason.
The palace in Lubostroń (Żnin County) was completed in 1800 as the Skórzewski family residence. The building is partly modelled on the Villa Rotonda of the famous Italian architect Andrea Palladio. The palace in Antonin, which was constructed between 1822 and 1824 when classicism was in decline, is highly distinctive.