It is not an easy task to sum up an entire country’s art in a single article. That is why I will not attempt to do it. Instead, I will only tell you about a part of Polish cultural heritage - painting. I want to focus on introducing you to some of the most important artists and their works, in order to provide ground for more discovering to be done on your own.
Let’s begin with Stanisław Wyspiański, a patriotic painter and writer. He was born in 1869 and belonged to one of the most prominent artistic movements in Polish history - Young Poland. During his many travels to different European countries, he developed various techniques of expression. Not only did he create many sketches, pastel drawings, oil paintings, stained glass windows, he also wrote many stage plays. He liked to portray places close to his hometown, Kraków, as can be seen below:
The second painter that I would like to include here is Piotr Michałowski. He was an artist of the Romantic period, whose works in the Warsaw National Museum, when seen by Pablo Picasso in 1948, were commented with the abstractionist’s shout: “Here, painter!”. The majority of his most recognized paintings are lively battle sites, for instance, the one you can see on the right.
The last artist to appear here is going to be Zdzisław Beksiński, a painter, photographer, and sculptor. He was murdered in 2005, but his legacy lives on. To me, the most interesting thing about his work is how dramatically it evolved throughout the years. From surrealistic utopian paintings with bright colors, he moved to making darker canvases. He then said: "I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams". Not only were the paintings considered dark because of the color palette implemented in making them, but because of the disturbing deformation of the figures portrayed. Think about this:
As you might have noticed, the above works are untitled. This is not a coincidence; Beksiński refused to name his paintings in order to not give them any interpretations.
I hope that this article gave you an idea of the incredible diversity of Polish painting. I can assure you that this here is only a small piece of what there is to discover and I encourage you to look for more!
by Maria S.