A comprehensive renovation of the dais of Aula Leopoldine (the Leopoldine Hall) was conducted from July to December 2016. The work consisted of monumental art of the ceiling and walls, sculptures, molding, marble-like stucco structures, woodwork, furniture and the podium.
The decor of the dais has a historical context and provides a conclusion for the idea behind the design of the Hall, based on the glorification of the Divine Wisdom and Habsburg’s rule. The walls of the dais form a triumphal arch, the axis off which are decorated by eight columns. On the center, under the cornice, there is a statue of the founder of the University, emperor Leopold I Habsburg, presented under a canopy, or, as some art historians claim after the discovery of other parts of the decor of the Hall, in a commander of the army’s tent.
The emperor’s motto: CONSILIO ET INDUSTRIA (by reason and industry) is represented by two figures on the sides of Habsburg’s statue – an elderly man with a mirror and a woman with a beehive. They are countered by two negative representations – of DISCORDIA (discord), with hair in disarray and STULTITIA (stupidity), with donkey’s ears. At the two sides of the dais, there are sculptures of two sons and heirs of Leopold – Joseph I (on the south side) and Charles VI (on the north side). The scene painted on the ceiling portrays the moment of entrusting the University to the care of the Virgin Mary who is accompanied by saints: John the Baptist, (patron saint of the diocese and of Wrocław), saint Leopold (ancestor of the founder’s), Saint Joseph (patron saint of the house of Habsburg), saint Jadwiga (patron saint of Silesia), as well as Jesuit saints – Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier. Within the dais, on a wooden platform there are a lectern, lodges for dignitaries and rector’s and chancellor’s lodges.
The contractor, chosen on the basis of a tender, Wit Podczerwiński’s ANTIQA company from Myślenice, had little time to complete the work, therefore, several renovators worked in the Hall six or seven days a week, several hours per day. Simultaneously the furniture from the Hall was being restored in workshops in Myślenice, Stróża, and Jawornik.
The comprehensive renovation, consisting of all elements of the decor, was possible thanks to the PLN 870 000 grant awarded to the Foundation for the University of Wrocław by the city monument conservator in Wrocław, in a contest on realising a public service organised by the Wrocław municipality.