I was with two friends, one an art historian, the other an artist. As we wandered down the avenue which leads from the house towards the window, the view from the house through the garden, across the distant fields to the horizon beyond, a form which was de rigueur in a baroque garden of status, one of my companions remarked how marvellous it was to find a window that the Communists had failed to obscure with a block of flats. Though not a quite the same, I thought of the Rynek in Legnica, surely one of the most wonton acts of vandalism. “Yes”, I said, “but what about this awful statuary?” What I was referring to were two larger than life stone statues, more resembling pregnant gorillas than anything else I can think of and, to my mind, entirely out of place in a baroque garden. Obviously, a statement of social realism. The art historian quickly corrected me. Apparently, these two lumps are rare examples of local ethnic art and are of great antiquity. My friend is always quick to put me right. I feigned awe but my view remains.
No doubt, you`ll remember Catherine the Great`s response to Casanova when one morning they met by chance in her statue crammed gardens in St.Petersburg. That great collector immediately detected Casanova`s disdain. She agreed with him. All low quality Italian copies. But what could she do? Sadly, her predicessor had no eye for art. What was there was there and had to be lived with.
Tomorrow I`ll tell you how socialism continues to thwart innovation and wealth creation even in the gardens of Nieborow.