Korsun-Shevchenkivskiy State Historical and Cultural Preserve

Poniatowski Palace

Світлина Ірини Коваленко

The Poniatowski Palace exhibition is located in an architectural monument of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which is included in the Register of Monuments of National Importance of Ukraine and is an important part of the common European cultural heritage. The palace was built in 1789 for the owner of the Korsun starostvo, Polish Prince Stanisław Poniatowski, a nephew of the last Polish king, Stanisław II August.

The walls of the first hall are framed by multi-profile cornices, which, as in other halls, are separated from the ceiling by a smooth, semicircular transition – a padugа, which connects them plastically. Such transitions were typical in the Rococo style, which originated in France in the first half of the eighteenth century and dominated in Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century.

In the daytime, the hall is lit by two Gothic-style lancet windows that open onto an open terrace. All the windows of the palace have this shape.

The hall has two double doors. Judging by the carved ornamentation of the door leading to the second hall, we can assume that it is authentic. The upper part of the panels ends with the image of three Gothic lancet arches (in ancient times, a symbol of the heavenly world), the middle part is decorated with a carved symmetrical floral ornament, and the lower part of the panels has a carved frame decorated with three-petaled stylized flowers above and below, with an ornament resembling the Latin letter “S,” which may be the first letter of the name “Stanisław.”

This hall presents the designs of the palace and the palace ensemble; drawings by the French artist and architect Jean-Henri Munz, who is considered the author of the scientific concept of the palace ensemble, and the Polish architect Jan Lindsay, the probable author of the palace designs.

Judging by the designs, only the central, ceremonial hall was supposed to have two floors. The projects clearly show the enfilade layout of the palace, which is when several adjacent rooms are located on the same axis around the perimeter of the main or other hall. But over time, the project was amended, and the palace was built on two floors by 1789. In the nineteenth century, keel-shaped pseudo-russian-style wings were added to the corners of the palace, from which octagonal belvedere towers “grew”. On the flat roof of the first floor of the rear façade there was a glass-covered terrace called the Winter Garden; a five-walled vestibule was added to the main entrance in the late nineteenth century, with open terraces around it.

The palace was to be decorated with marble statues. This hall exhibits marble works by unknown Italian sculptors of the eighteenth century. These are copies of ancient statues: a sculptural portrait of the head of Cupid, the deity of love, and a young woman – Aphrodite of Syracuse or Venus de Medici.

The second hall begins with the park enfilade of the palace. One of the lancet windows overlooking the park facade is a paired one, called a biforium in architecture; such windows were quite popular in the Gothic period. The window has a lancet top in the form of a simplified “Gothic rose”. The windows with the “Gothic rose” appeared in the Romanesque architecture of the X-XIII centuries and created beautiful accents in the compositions of interiors and facades.

The interior of the hall is complemented by works of art from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. This is an engraving by the famous eighteenth-century Italian engraver, master of vedute Domenico Cunego, “The Port of Kumy,” which has an extraordinary history. In 2008, during the restoration of the works of the nineteenth-century Ukrainian artist Ivan Soshenko, restoration artists from the Center for Scientific Restoration and Expertise of the National Kyiv-Pecherskyi Historical and Cultural Reserve discovered a rarity: one of Soshenko’s works, Port in Kumy, was pasted onto the front of a print by Domenico Cunego.

Next to it are works by Ivan Soshenko: “Port in Kumy”, “Forum of Julius in Ancient Rome”, “Temple of Vesta – Ancient Italian Temple in Rome”.

The history of the formation of the palace ensemble can be traced back to the lithographs with the same title, “Landscape of Korsun in the Kyiv Province,” made by nineteenth-century French artists and lithographers Eugene Huot and François-Joseph Dupresoir.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the artist Herontii Bondarenko, who studied at the Lavra Iconography Studio, was well known among the people of Korsun. The hall presents two of his works: “Portrait of Taras Shevchenko” and “View of the Palace in Korsun”.

The third hall is the largest of the park enfilade. The decorative dominant of the hall, the interior decoration, is fireplaces, the style of which is close to the classical one.

The architectural style of the hall’s decor is neo-Gothic. The wall adjacent to the main hall, in the upper part, under the cornice, is decorated with the so-called blind arcature: it is a ribbon of lancet arches applied in relief to the wall plane. The lancet arches were most characteristic of the Romanesque style that prevailed in Europe in the tenth and twelfth centuries, and then were borrowed by architects of early Gothic architecture of the twelfth century. The lancet arches visually increase the height of the ceiling of this hall.

The doorways are accentuated by decorative rods with keeled arches that interrupt the ribbon of lancet arches, thus adding dynamics to them.

The exposition of this hall is devoted to works of the portrait genre, as artistic and sculptural portraits have always decorated the palace.

The hall presents the works of the master of pictorial portraiture Mykola Prokopenko, who is better known as a graphic artist, illustrating more than 200 works of literature. Among the works are portraits of his son and grandson, father, mother, wife, and favorite singer Solomiya Krushelnytska, and the classic of Ukrainian literature Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky. The exhibition is complemented by sculptural portraits, in particular, Lydia Zabiliasta by Volodymyr Lutsak and “Danylo Lider” by Mykola Rapai.

The fourth hall is richly decorated with lavish ornamentation. The molded ceiling plafond has been preserved here. At a short distance from the center, between two concentric circles, there is a floral ornament of curled acanthus leaves, in the cells of which alternate an acanthus leaf and a rosette that looks like a stylized image of an open flower, a rose. The ceiling is decorated with the same ornament around the perimeter, but the decorative ribbons in the center are complemented by multi-petal rosettes that unite the curled acanthus leaves.

The walls of the hall are completed with a horizontal two-part profiled belt, a cornice that also runs along the back wall of the fireplace. The lower part consists of three ribbons: stylized rosebuds; above them are curled acanthus leaves, in the cells of which rosettes of two types alternate, the centers of this ribbon are accented with a luxurious acanthus leaf; this part ends with floral ovals or ionics. The architectural element of the ionicle, along with acanthus, is dominant in the relief ornaments of many of the palace’s halls.

In the daytime, the hall is filled with light from two windows: a paired biforium and a single window, as well as a doorway.

This hall is the beginning of the longest visible enfilade of the palace, whose peculiar rhythm is set by the alternation of large and small halls.

Two copies of the lithographs “Landscape of Korsun in the Kyiv Province” by lithographer Joseph-François Dupleix are on display in the hall.

The sculptural portraits of the palace are complemented by the marble “Portrait of Ukrainian historian Volodymyr Antonovych” (1890), created by the sculptor Luigi Iorini, an Italian by birth who lived in Odesa. An identical sculptural figure is also on display at the Central State Archive-Museum of Literature and Art of Ukraine in Kyiv.

The exposition is decorated with two works by the famous European artist of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Catholic priest Zygmond Bubic: “Forchtenstein. East” (1867) and “Forchtenstein. North” (1869).

In the fifth hall, under the upper cornice, a fragment of a decorative composition in the form of a horizontal strip (frieze) decorated with paintings was found. It consists of two parts, namely: in the upper part there are acanthus leaves with their tips pointing downward, and in the lower part there are laurel branches in the form of hanging garlands connected by a three-leafed acanthus. This painting was covered and almost completely destroyed by layers of paint during the Soviet era.

The doorway platbands are accentuated by blades imitating columns with straight sandriks, which are typical of the classical style. Sandriks as a decorative element appeared in the fourteenth century in Italy.

This room is interesting because there is a photograph of it taken before 1910, which shows a fragment of the interior of the former living room. Also on display are photographs of a fragment of the interior of the main hall and the side park facade, dated 1916.

In particular, the hall exhibits an autolithograph from the work of the famous Polish artist of Ukrainian origin Juliusz Kossak “Prince Potocki on the hunt” (1845), and next to it is a work by an unknown Polish artist of the last quarter of the twentieth century “Forest Landscape”.

Among the preserved items of the palace is a box for storing hats. On the wall of the Dutch oven is a prince’s mirror.

Among the nineteenth-century items are a box for small items, a Dutch table, and a samovar.

The architectural elements and decor of the sixth hall stand out from the rest. The walls are decorated with paired semi-columns, which create rhythmicity and orderliness in the hall. Their capitals are decorated with acanthus acroteria, known since the fifth century as a decoration of the Corinthian order. The abacus is supported by wooden arches with carved ornaments in the form of acanthus leaves. Vertical lobes divide the wall plane into fragments.

The perimeter of the wall ends with a multi-profile cornice, the lower part of which is decorated with acanthus leaves, and on top of it was a floral ornament, which, like in the previous hall, was destroyed in Soviet times. Only fragments of the ornament have been preserved.

A three-section window visually increases the volume of the hall. The side window openings are decorated with geometric ornaments in the form of rectangles and squares with inscribed circles with imitated gilding. The oak window sill is decorated with carved floral ornaments. Under the window, in the wall, there is a small recess, a kind of niche that divides its surface.

The hall exhibits a unique collection of porcelain and ceramics, which was donated to the Conservation Area in 2022 by Olena Berikul-Kryvoruchko, a Canadian citizen of Ukrainian descent. During the Russian-Ukrainian war, she and her husband organized a small charitable foundation that sends medicines, ammunition, and humanitarian aid to Ukrainian soldiers.

The collection of porcelain and ceramics represents 19 countries, including Canada (Avon line), France (Limoges porcelain), Italy (Capodimonte porcelain), Holland (Delft porcelain), Germany (Thomas), and Bulgaria (Trojan ceramics).

The oldest is a hand-painted ceramic jug of the Victorian era, nineteenth century (England).

The presented items are made in various techniques, including “rice grain”, “Cloisonné”, “Craquelure”, chinoiserie, biscuit, “Chokin Art”, “Moriage”, and grid technique.

Some US porcelain pieces are decorated with paintings by the famous American artist Lina Liyu.

In the seventh hall, from the architectural details and decor we can only see a profiled cornice.

The exposition is dedicated to works of sacred art. In particular, there is an icon “Coronation of the Virgin Mary” painted in the late nineteenth century by the father of the famous Ukrainian composer Kyrylo Stetsenko, Hryhorii Mykhailovych, a village artist, self-taught painter from the village of Kvitky.

The exhibition includes two-sided processional icons “St. Nicholas” and “The Beheading of John the Baptist” from St. Nicholas Church in Kvitky (on the reverse side they have images of the Mother of God and the Savior), as well as a three-part icon “The Great Bishop with St. Barbara and St. Nicholas” painted on canvas by an unknown artist in the nineteenth century.

The icon “The Mother of God Tykhvynska” painted by an unknown author with oil paints on a wooden board is unique. This icon was found in Bakhmut by Svitlana Demenikova, a former employee of the Conservation Area and now a senior soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, among the many pieces of rubble on the site of a house destroyed by the russian occupiers.

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Korsun St. Onufriyiv Monastery has preserved the icon of the Mother of God with the Child, painted on canvas by an unknown artist in the early twentieth century.

The exposition presents a wedding pair of icons “The Savior the Almighty” and “The Virgin and Child” painted by an unknown amateur artist on plywood.

Some of the icons were restored in 2018 by restorer Oksana Tymkiv on a charitable basis.

The eighth hall completes one of the longest enfilades of the palace. Like the previous hall, only the profiled cornice has been preserved. We can also see the upper part of the Dutch oven.

The hall leads to the palace grounds and the second floor of the palace.

The Korsun palace ensemble attracts artists of all times. This hall presents works created in the open air by Kyiv artists, members of the Ros creative group created in the early twenty-first century. These are “Summer Day” by Volodymyr Schlundt, “Landscape with Towers” by Tamara Nedoshovenko, “Courtyard of Korsun Castle” by Vasyl Bosenko, “Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi” and “For a Walk” by Leonila Steblovska, and “Going on a date” by Eduard Revenko.


The architecture of the ninth hall is closed by the diorama “Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi Battle. February 17, 1944”, created in 1969 by Kharkiv artists Vsevolod Parchevsky, Ilya Efroimson, and Willie Mokrozhytsky. On it, the artists recreated the events of the last day of the Korsun-Shevchenkivske offensive, February 17, 1944. The painting depicts a panorama of the Battlefield, located between the villages of Shenderivka, Khylky, Zhurzhyntsi, Pochapintsi, and Komarivka. It was there that the last battle between Nazi and Red Army troops took place during the operation.

The diorama is a highly artistic work. The authors managed to successfully arrange a large mass of troops and equipment, and to choose the right place from which to view the battle. The diorama skillfully combines a painting and a close-up. They form a single whole, creating the illusion of the depth of space and a sense of the reality of the events.


The main hall, where the exhibitions will be exhibited, is in undergoing renovation.