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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Stanislaw Wyspianski


Motherhood
1905
pastel
58.8 × 91 cm
National Museum, Krakow, Poland

Stanislaw Wyspianski (1869-1907) was a Polish painter, pastellist, playwright, poet, theatre director and architect. He was one of the most outstanding and multifaceted artist of his time in Europe. He successfully joined trends of modernism with themes of Polish folk tradition and Romantic history. In a series of stained-glass windows in Franciscan church in Krakow he expressed an enormous dose of his religious devotion. His trademark Modernist style became nearly flamboyant there. He wrote a number of plays covering critical moments of Polish history. He is considered to be the founder of the Polish modern drama; his plays, often allegorical, circle around historical events and the contemporary life of Poland. His dominant concern was the renewal of Polish independence as well as individual freedoms.

He was the son of a sculptor and studied at the Krakow School of Fine Arts. In 1887 he enrolled in the Philosophy Department at the Jagiellonian University and the School of Fine Arts in Krakow. While studying at the University, he attended lectures in art, history and literature. The years 1890-1895 were devoted to traveling. He visited Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Prague and France. His stay in France is regarded to have been a major point in his artistic life. During his stay in France he got acquainted with Paul Gauguin. Together they visited art museums. He also attended theatre performances based on Shakespeare's and classical era plays.

In 1906 he became professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, he was also a member of the City Council. In his last years the condition of his health deteriorated. He died of syphilis which was incurable at the time. His funeral took place in Krakow and became a national day of mourning.