With Christianity, Western Culture 966 made its entry into Poland One of the most important of the few preserved religious and profane writings of the Middle Ages belongs “Kazania Świętokrzyskie” (“Preachings of the Holy Cross”, c. 1300). In the 1100’s, a French monk, Gallus Anonymus, had created the first Polish chronicle depicting Poland’s history until 1113. The second chronicle, which stretched to 1202, is written by a bishop in Kraków, Wincenty Kadłubek. However, the most famous and comprehensive is “History of Polonica”, authored by Jan Długosz.
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Poland, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
During the Renaissance, Poland experienced its literary golden age. Mikołaj Rej, “the father of Polish literature”, was the first to write exclusively in Polish. Poland’s greatest literary talent during the Renaissance, however, is Jan Kochanowski, who went to the afterlife especially with “Fraszki” (Trifles, small poems of alternating content), “Pieśni” (Songs) and especially the lamentations “Treny” (1580).
During the Baroque, cultural development stagnated. Typical of the time is the patriotic epic, represented by Wacław Potocki’s historical epic “Wojna Chocimska” (“The Chocim War”, 1670) and by Jan Pasek’s 1656-88 “Pamiętniki” (“Memoirs”, first published in 1836), which is a prime example of a Polish nobleman’s view of life.
The decline during the Baroque was followed by a cultural upswing during the Enlightenment period. Literature flourished during the reign of Stanisław II Poniatowski, and a series of educational reforms came into being. This is reflected, inter alia, in the works of politician Adam Naruszewicz and in Ignacy Krasicki’s satirical fables that are still very popular. Krasicki also wrote the first Polish novel, “Mikołaja Doświadczyńskiego przypadki” (“The Adventures of Mr. Doświadczyński”, 1776), about the experiences of a Polish nobleman. Also known is the rationalist and libertine Stanisław Trembecki, who wrote, among other things. fables and satires.
However, the Enlightenment reforms were never successful because Poland ceased to exist as a state in 1795, leading to a national awakening that became the main theme of Polish romance. It began in 1820 with the poem “Oda do młodości” (“Ode to Youth”), written by Poland’s greatest bald Adam Mickiewicz. In 1822 his first collection of poems “Ballady in romance” (“Ballads and romances”) was published and in 1823 Mickiewicz’s most famous work, “Dziady” (“Ancestors”, parts II and IV). In 1832, “Dziady” part 3 and in 1834 his last major work was published: “Pan Tadeusz” (“Mr. Tadeusz”), a poem depicting the nobility of the former Poland. Other romantics were the poets Juliusz Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński and Cyprian Norwid.
During positivism (1864–90), the emphasis in the literature shifted from the struggle for freedom to the nation’s social and economic situation, which was primarily portrayed in the form of the realistic novel. Bolesław Prus gave in e.g. “Lalka” (‘Dockan’, 1-3, 1887-89) a broad depiction of contemporary Polish society with all its problems and contradictions; so did Eliza Orzeszkowa in the novel “Nad Niemnem” (“By Niemen”, 1888). Among the great works of this era are also Henryk Sienkiewicz’s historical novels, among others. “Trilogy” consisting of “Ogniem i mieczem” (“With Fire and Sword”, 1884), “Potop” (“The Flood of Sin”, 1886) and “Pan Wołodyjowski” (“The Little Knight”, 1888). For the historical novel “Quo vadis” (1-2, 1896), the Sienkiewicz was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1905.
Against the realistic view of positivism on reality, the “neo-romantic” writers of modernism turned. During this period, also known as Młoda Polska (‘Young Poland’), the lyricism gained a great boost. Poets such as Jan Kasprowicz, Kazimierz Tetmajer, Leopold Staff and the original Bolesław Leśmian all advocated a new way of expression in terms of form, language, style and verse. One of the most original talents in Polish literature was Stanisław Wyspiański, who was a versatile artist: bald, playwright and painter. Within the prose, Stefan Żeromski and the Nobel laureate (1924) dominated Władysław Reymont, who became internationally known, especially for the peasant epic “Chłopi” (1-4, 1904-09; “The Peasants”).
After Poland regained its independence in 1918, poetry flourished in particular during the interwar period. Two literary groups then opposed each other: the “Skamander Group”, with Julian Tuwim, Jan Lechoń, Kazimierz Wierzyński, Antoni Słonimski and Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, advocated a new but traditionally rooted poetic language; the other was represented by avant-garde artists Tadeusz Peiper, Julian Przyboś and Adam Ważyk. Within the prose, Maria Dąbrowska’s “Noce i dnie” (“Nights and Days”, 1-4, 1932-34) belongs to the great realistic novels, while Witold Gombrowicz, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and Bruno Schulz’s works have an attraction to the absurd and grotesque..
The Second World War 1939–45 was an extremely tragic period in the history of Poland. The five war years left bitter experience. The post-war period was therefore largely dominated by depictions of war. Moral and ethical issues were raised in Tadeusz Borowski’s stories from Auschwitz and in Jerzy Andrzejewski’s highly acclaimed novel “Popiół in diament” (1948; “Ashes and Diamonds”). From 1949 the publishing policy in Poland was guided by social realism, and only after the political “thawing weather” in 1956 did the literature re-open to new ideas. Everyday life in Poland was portrayed with new, unadorned images in Marek Hłasko’s and Stanisław Dygat’s novels, but also in Sławomir Mrożek’s grotesque work, such as the play “Tango” (1965). Among prose writers who have achieved international fame include Jerzy Andrzejewski, Kazimierz Brandys, Tadeusz Konwicki and Andrzej Kuśniewicz. Poetry was dominated by Tadeusz Różewicz, Zbigniew Herbert, Wisława Szymborska and Anna Świrszczyńska.
In 1968, a new group of writers, Generation 68 (including Stanisław Barańczak and Adam Zagajewski) appeared, who took up the fight against official ideology and rhetoric. Exiliterature for many years supplemented the picture of the development of Polish literature. Particularly well known among the exile writers was the 1980 Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz, whose original authorship transcended genres and styles and constantly engaged in dialogue with poetic traditions. The 1980’s societal events in Poland, especially the abolition of censorship, have given Polish literature a new direction, which both addresses current issues and links to a strong living literary tradition.
After the fall of communism in 1989, the literature that had hitherto banned or semi-banned appeared. Works by Writers such as Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, Józef Mackiewicz, Czesław Miłosz, Sławomir Mrożek or Henryk Grynberg were once again given their obvious place in the Polish publishing and reading arena. Hanna Krall and Ryszard Kapuściński, in particular, have their place in the literary report. Hanna Krall has devoted almost all of her writing to the Polish and East Jewish war. She has described and documented the horrors of the Holocaust but above all the plots of the survivors during and after the Second World War. Ryszard Kapuściński’s journalism was characterized by a sense of presence and a special writing technique from the 1970’s: his report books consist of intertwined pieces of text where he describes the happenings and events that he then complements with self-commenting fragments. Mention should also be made of the poet Wisława Szymborska, whose authorship, with her characteristic emotional distancing, which often in seemingly mundane observations unites a tragic tone with ironic and grotesque elements, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1996.
At the end of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, a new generation of writers took the stage. Paweł Huelle’s acclaimed novel “Weiser Dawidek” (“Who is David Weiser”, 1987) was considered the most important author debut in Poland during the 1980’s. Another well-known author is Stefan Chwin, who in his novel “Hanemann” (1995) addresses the problems of getting out of a trauma after shaky historical and existential experiences. His authorship reflects much of the issues that permeate Poland after 1989. Jerzy Pilch also touches on similar topics in his novels. Similarly, Andrzej Stasiuk exposes in his works a discrepancy between the apparent stability of the People’s Republic of Poland and the homelessness and emptiness of present-day Poland.
The literary scene was also conquered at this time by many female writers, including Izabela Filipiak, Manuela Gretkowska, Magdalena Tulli, Natasza Goerke and Olga Tokarczuk. These authors incorporate the gender issue into their works and, with it, a new women’s perspective. Olga Tokarczuk in particular is one of the most significant contemporary Polish female writers. Tokarczuk’s books narratively follow the fairly traditional line, but despite her seemingly simple language attire, her work is characterized by deep human knowledge and philosophical issues. Izabela Filipiak, Manuella Gretkowska and Natasza Goerke enter a previously practically taboo literary dimension, namely the “female sphere” with its entire wide register. Magdalena Tulli, for her part, leads the reader into a treaty on the existence of the city in the consciousness of modern man.
Polish poetry also faced new challenges in the meantime after 1989. The poets brought new insights into the post-communist reality. The poetry that was born out of this is an awakening poetry and is an important voice in the discussion of a balance between the traditional and modern poetry form and the poetic content of postmodern poetry. This is particularly reflected in works by Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar, Dariusz Suska, Marcin Świetlicki and Miłosz Biedrzycki.
At the turn of the millennium, a new generation of Polish writers debuted, e.g. Wojciech Kuczok, who with the novel “Gnój” (‘Dynga’, 2003) entered the Polish literary tradition with the narrative self’s nightmare and catastrophic childhood that takes place in Silesia. Literary sensation also made the young Dorota Masłowska, after his romance debut with “Wojna polsko-ruska pod flagą biało-czerwoną” (Polish-Russian war under white-red flag ‘, 2003) called the children of Polish literature.
Polish literature at the beginning of the 21st century addresses current reality, it discovers new themes and also addresses such eternal universal problems as human relations, the struggle between the good and the bad, and not least the contradictions between the old humanist ideals and the tough commercial reality demands. At the same time, literature reaches far back with its roots – it is firmly rooted in the Polish cultural tradition, which gives it a very special touch.
Drama and theater
The theater in Poland has always had a strong, symbolic role in the struggle for national consciousness. A political dimension and an advanced aesthetic have given the Polish drama its character.
The earliest pieces in Polish were folk mystery plays and humanist renaissance plays. Circumventional troops became popular in the 17th century with satirical moral comedy about the life of the middle class. A first national scene was formed in Warsaw in 1765. Under the leadership of Wojciech Bogusławski, it survived the country’s division for a few years. He also meant a lot to the theater’s professionalization and to the emergence of more theater houses and a domestic drama.
Through the romantic drama Poland got its living classics. These were written in exile and were not performed until the turn of the century. Above all, Adam Mickiewicz’s “Dziady” (“Memorial Party”, 1-4, 1823-32) but also Juliusz Słowacki’s “Kordian” (1834) are all works of art with a strong national pathos. In a lecture in the Collège de France in 1843, Mickiewicz outlined the aesthetics of a modern drama, open to the mystery and the rite.
In the 19th century occupied Poland, only a conventional repertoire was allowed. However, Mickiewicz’s thoughts were taken up by symbolism, whose chief name Stanisław Wyspiański wrote theater history with “Wesele” (‘The Wedding’, 1901). This laid the foundation for 20th century avant-garde, noticeable even in the cabaret culture. During the interwar period, this legacy was mainly managed by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. However, his greatness on stage came much later.
On the ruins of war and occupation, a state theater life was built up in Poland. But the era of social realism fell short. Instead, influences from Western European absurdism helped Sławomir Mrożek to become a world name and the peculiar exile writer Witold Gombrowicz played in Poland. At the same time, avant-gardeism has been kept alive by the experimental directors and theater directors Jerzy Grotowski and Tadeusz Kantor, whose work with the Theater Cricot group can be seen as a summation of constantly recurring themes within the theater in Poland.
In recent years, older masters such as Konrad Swinarski and Andrzej Wajda, also active in the theater, have succeeded in internationally known directors such as Krzysztof Warlikowski and Grzegorz Jarzyna. In particular, the latter has managed the domestic heritage from the proud days of symbolism. Grotowski’s constantly investigative internship has at the same time been given a successor in Włodzimierz Staniewski and his Ośrodka Praktyk Teatralnych Gardzienice (‘Center for Theater Practice’) in Lublin. Late European avant-gardeism is most closely managed by Krystian Lupa, active at the Stary Theater in Kraków.
Only since Poland became independent in 1918 did the film begin to develop, but until the 1950’s Poland’s most famous film export was the international silent film star Pola Negri. In 1929, the avant-garde film association START was founded, which gained great influence. During World War II, the Nazi occupants banned all domestic film production. In the new socialist state, the film industry was nationalized under a single central authority, Film Polski. The rigid norms of socialist realism required by the Soviet Union kept Polish film in an artistic co-op, but after Stalin’s death, conditions could change.
In 1955, Film Polski was transformed into a system of artistically autonomous production units. At the same time, a talented young generation of filmmakers appeared, most educated at the film school in źódź. Andrzej Wajda is the most important name, but Andrzej Munk and Jerzy Kawalerowicz also took the lead. This new “Polish school” won international fame in 1954-63, especially for Wajda’s war trilogy “One Generation” (1954), “While Death Waits” (1957) and “Ashes and Diamonds” (1958). The dominant feature of these films was the attempt to deal with both the realism and poetic dream and symbolic elements of the painful experiences of war and occupation, and with ironic acuity to portray the post-war era’s new social construction.
Around 1960, the animators Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowczyk also made themselves known outside Poland for, among other things. “It Was Once” (1957), which they did together. In 1968, censorship and political surveillance were sharpened, but even before that, a new generation of filmmakers, notably Roman Polanski (“Knife in the Water”, 1962) and Jerzy Skolimowski (“Walkover”, 1965), had gained international attention before pursuing film careers abroad.
In the 1970’s, after censorship was alleviated and the production system regained more independence, the feature film took a new important turn. It emphasized the individual’s role in social life more than before and became more open in his criticism of society. Now crises, moral corruption, widespread doubts about the social system and the increasing demands for liberalization could be portrayed with new sharpness. The sponsors of this “moral anxiety movie art” were Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi, who in 1975 were followed by a younger generation of filmmakers with Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland, Janusz Kijowski (born 1948) and Feliks Falk as prominent names. In the animated film, the Oscar-winning Zbigniew Rybczýnski (born 1949; “Tango”, 1981) a well-known name, and his career continued abroad, among others. video art and music videos.
The military coup in 1981 and the ban on the trade union Solidarity meant that many filmmakers followed Wajda’s example and actively supported the dissolved trade union movement. Some directors went into exile, others went silent. After 1984, the pressure on the film eased again. Morally and socially engaged works again became possible. In post-communism Poland, the privatized film industry devoted several years to the adaptation to market conditions.
Several of the directors who went into exile returned to do film and theater, and co-productions with other countries became commonplace.
A later generation belongs to Paweł Pawlikowski (born 1957), who has achieved international success with several of his films, not least “Ida” (2013), which won among other European Film Awards and Poland’s first Academy Award for best foreign film.
Production is vital (about 30 films per year), but Polish film has lost its long-standing role as the nation’s moral conscience.
Polish art has undergone a rich development from the early Middle Ages under the influence mainly of Western and Southern Europe but with clear own characteristics. Central monuments in Romanesque sculpture are the bronze gates to the Cathedral of Gniezno (c. 1170), the relief column of the Trinity Church in Strzelno (c. 1180) and richly decorated portals to churches in Silesia (Śłąsk) and Kujawia. The stone sculpture is mainly based on French models. Gothic stone sculpture highlights the tombs of the Piast Princes in Wrocław and the tombs of the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. The late Gothic wood sculpture reached its zenith with Wit Stwosz, whose most important work is the high altar of the St. Mary’s Church in Kraków (1477–89). Stwosz has strongly influenced contemporary Polish sculpture and painting.
The first phase of the Renaissance coincides with Sigismund I’s reign. He summoned foreign artists, mainly from Italy, among others. B. Berrecci. He initiated the development of the tomb sculpture, which came to design distinctive Polish features. Characteristic is the dynamic figure composition and the multi-storey shape. In painting there is mainly a beginning portrait painting (Marcin Kober) as well as a rich book painting with the center in Kraków during the early 16th century.
The high baroque falls during Johan III Sobieski’s reign. He called in artists, mainly from Italy, who developed a rich hoof art. Native artists include the Gdańsk-born sculptor and architect Andreas Schlüter. at the Royal Castle in Wilanów. Characteristic of Poland is the so-called Sarmat style, linked to the noble culture. It is most evident in the portrait painting, with artists such as Jan Tretko. A special branch is the coffin portrait. The rococo sculpture had a significant center in Lwów (present Lviv in Ukraine).
Classicism educated under Stanislaus IIPoniatowski’s reign national features. His business as a patron led to a cultural boom. Leading sculptor was Pigalle student André Jean Le Brun. Works by Canova and Thorvaldsen in Poland have played a major role in the domestic sculpture, primarily for Ludwik Kauffmann and Jakub Tatarkiewicz. The principal painter Marcello Bacciarelli, active in Warsaw from 1766 until his death in 1818, led a painting school at the castle. At the court also appeared the wood painter B. Bellotto (Canaletto) and the genre painter Jean Pierre Norblin. Early romantic traits can be found with Kazimierz Wojniakowski and David co-worker Antoni Brodowski. During the 19th century, painting was the centerpiece, characterized by ever stronger national features. Jan Nepomucen Głowacki’s romantic landscape reflects his interest in Polish nature. The foremost romantic is Piotr Michałowski, whose battalion, animal and portrait paintings combine Polish tradition from the Sarmat style with French romance. Henryk Rodakowski was the foremost portraitist at the turn of the century. After 1850, history painting played a prominent role with, among other things, Juliusz Kossak, Jan Matejko and Józef Brandt. Matejko’s dynamic works, often in monumental format, have characterized the image of Polish history under the impression of contemporary freedom efforts. The realistic open-air painting is represented by Józef Chełmoński and Aleksander Gierymski. has characterized the image of Polish history under the impression of contemporary liberties. The realistic open-air painting is represented by Józef Chełmoński and Aleksander Gierymski. has characterized the image of Polish history under the impression of contemporary liberties. The realistic open-air painting is represented by Józef Chełmoński and Aleksander Gierymski.
The period 1890–1914, in Polish cultural history called Młoda Polska (‘Young Poland’), marked the total breakthrough of modernism. Kraków was the cultural center of the time with the group Sztuka (‘Art’) which stylistically links to the Art Nouveau and thematically to symbolism and Polish tradition. Among these were Stanisław Wyspiański, Józef Mehoffer and Jacek Malczewski. Impressionism was represented by Władysław Podkowiński and Leon Wyczółkowski. The portrait painter Olga Boznańska also works in France. The most significant sculptor of the era was Xawery Dunikowski.
The interwar period is characterized by a dynamic creation that closely follows European style development. A pioneer in modernism was the painter Tytus Czyżewski. The versatile Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz represented a symbolic expressionism, Józef Pankiewicz cultivated a painting with color as the main means of expression, Mieczysław Szczuka and Władysław Strzemiński constructivism and suprematism. Central is also the painter Tadeusz Makowski with his personal doll world. The graphic was now developed into an independent art style with woodcarver Władysław Skoczylas. The years 1948–56 were marked by a doctrinal social realism, while the development thereafter has been parallel to the Western European.
Among Polish artists who, after the middle of the last century, worked internationally, are Władysław Hasior with his expressive metaphorical assemblage (“Solspann”; public sculpture in Södertälje) and Tadeusz Kantor with an informal painting and environments. Jerzy Nowosielski worked in a static and synthetic form world alluding to orthodox art, not least in his sacred public works (Orthodox Church, Kraków, 1976).
One of Poland’s foremost avant-garde artists is the Krakow-based Maria Jarema, consistently unaffected by social realism. At the border between abstract and figurative art, she explored in her paintings an interaction between space, rhythm and movement.
From the end of the 1950’s the Polish graphics and especially the poster art came to international attention. The foreground figure was Henryk Tomaszewski. Incidentally, Jan Lenica, who surprised the viewer with simple but suggestive characters, and Jan Młodożeniec, who worked with the means of painting and folk art, while Franciszek Starowiejski united the Baroque imagery with deep intellectual messages. Graphic artist and painter Jerzy Panek was the innovator of the woodcarving tradition. His individual, deliberately timid line hints at European medieval graphics and Chinese characters.
An artist who has significantly expanded the primary function of textile art is the internationally active Magdalena Abakanowicz. Her three-dimensional, suggestively monumental objects, called “abacans”, are made in their own technique of mixed, for textiles innovative, material (“Orange abacan”, 1969; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm). Since 1970 she has also worked on symbolic sculptural installations, public monuments and architecture.
Characteristic of Polish post-war art is also the strong position of the colorists with, among other things, Jan Cybis, Piotr Potworowski, Tadeusz Dominik, Jan Szancenbach and the internationally active Józef Czapski.
The new figurative art of the 1970’s and 1980’s was heavily involved in Polish reality and in the country’s revolving political changes. Central to this movement was the Grupa Wprost association formed in Kraków (‘The Group Direct’, 1966–86). Its member Leszek Sobocki links in his self-portraits to Polish coffin portraits and to the symbolist Jacek Malczewski (“The Good Shepherd” 1978).
The Warsaw group Śmietanka (‘Gräddan’, 1977) had a central influence on the Polish art of the time with a common goal: provocation of established aesthetic and social norms. Jan Dobson Dobkowski works with two-dimensional symbolic compositions with erotic meaning. During the state of emergency, he created politically engaged works (“Triptyk dedicated Jerzy Popiełuszko”, 1982). Edvard Dwurnik and Ewa Kuryluk represent a Polish version of pop art.
Realist Wiesław Szamborski works on the basis of advertising, press and amateur photography in his “reportage” from everyday life. Through the concept art, Natalia Lach-Lachowicz polemics against the gender problem, sculptor Maria Pinińska-Bereś also against feminism. The concept art is also represented by Roman Opałka who lives in France. His so-called painted paintings, presented together with day by day photographs taken of his own face and the recorded voice, want to materialize everything’s passing.
The end of the 1970’s marked the definitive breakthrough of postmodernism. The goals of the Gruppa Group in Warsaw (1982–92) formed guidelines for a new expressionism and a radical realism. With humor and absence of authority, they commented on reality with a new and deliberately sloppy visual language. Jarosław Modzelewski introduced his own metaphysics into his works while revealing the ideologically manipulated human being. Painter and performance artist Włodzimierz Pawlak introduced elements of absurd nonsense into his formally stripped down works.
Minimalism and provocative installations have dominated art life since the 1990’s. Jan Pamuła uses digital technology to paint crystalline compositions. The sculptor Miroslaw Bałka creates ascetic geometric installations with reference to his own biography and body. His work is apt to contain secret information about himself. In 1995, Bałka won the competition for the monument to the victims of the Estonia disaster (Djurgården, Stockholm).
The Polish crafts of the 20th century are dominated by the experimental, free textile art. The modern Polish textile was born in 1960, when Jolanta Owidzka replaced the narrative motif of the jacquard fabrics with weaves in which the material, the color and the free composition played the leading role. The inspiration came from painting, which at the same time freed itself from social realism. The Polish textile art gained its international breakthrough at the first textile biennial in Lausanne in 1962 with Magdalena Abakanowicz and Wojciech Sadley as the main names. They created freely hanging monumental sculptures where the material’s coarse structures of ropes, eaves and leather pieces are pierced by holes and tears.
Parallel to the expansive textile art, there is also an interest in folk art, which has a strong position in Poland. Among other things, the Cepelia cooperative has worked to keep the old pattern treasures alive.
With Christianity, stone architecture came to Poland, although timber well into the 20th century was an important building material in the countryside. In the Middle Ages belonged a rich Cistercian brick architecture and cities with often regular street networks, large brick churches of brick and town halls with high towers on the central square (rynek), as yet in Chełmno and Sandomierz.
Through the genealogy of the Jagellonian royal family, the Italian Renaissance was introduced as early as the beginning of the 16th century in Poland, with the castle Wawel in Kraków as the prime example. A native motif in the rich Renaissance architecture was the so-called Polish Attic, the decorative masonry found among other things. at the clothing hall in Kraków. With the capital’s move to Warsaw during Sigismund III ‘s time, architecture gained a new center. From the last time of the kingdom is the royal palace Łazienki near Warsaw (1784–88, Domenico Merlini).
Poland’s division at the end of the 18th century also meant, for architecture’s sake, a division of the country into three areas. In the Russian part, Antonio Corazzi gave a classic look to Warsaw in the 1820’s and 30’s. In the fast-growing textile city of źód mot, a rich, eclectic architecture was developed towards the end of the century. So also in Kraków in the Austrian part, as well as in Poznań (Posen) in Prussian, but there with a distinctly Helminian touch.
During the interwar period, modern classicism and international modernism stood against each other, with Bohdan Pniewski and Szymon Syrkus as the main representatives. The post-war socialist realism meant a search for a national form in connection with Soviet role models, with the district MDM in Warsaw and the newly built Nowa Huta outside Kraków as prime examples. At the same time is the reconstruction of the Old City of Warsaw and the historic centers of Gdańsk, Poznań and Wrocław. Since the 1960’s, industrial construction and an often experimental modernism have dominated.
Written depictions of Polish music life exist since the 9th century, Gregorian tunes in sheet music since the early 12th century. Multi-part music has been known since the 13th century, when the first to know the Polish composer, Wincenty from Kielce, was active. The medieval musical life flourished especially around the court and the University of Kraków, with Mikołaj from Radom as the main name. The court moved to Warsaw in 1596, and the court music, like Polish baroque music in general, was dominated by Italian musicians. Italian opera was played in Warsaw from 1633. Among the significant Polish-born composers of the 18th century were Mikołaj Zieleński, Adam Jarzębski (c. 1590 – c. 1648) and Marcin Mielczewski (c. 1600–1651), and this has been mentioned as a first “golden age”. ”In Polish music making.
A song play in Polish by Maciej Kamieński (1778) can be regarded as the introduction to a domestic musical dramatic production. It got its continuation during the 19th century national romance, including in Stanisław Moniuszko and Chopin’s teacher Józef Elsner (1769–1854), who also founded the Music Conservatory in Warsaw in 1821. The central figure of National Romanticism was Frédéric Chopin, with his piano works the first Polish composer to reach a wide world audience and among others. made the mazuran and the polo nose into international concepts. A similar role, though more modest, played the violin virtuoso and composer Henryk Wieniawski. Despite his strong French connection, Chopin was of great importance in strengthening the Polish national feeling. A more tangible political role played the piano virtuoso Ignacy Paderewski, who in 1919 became the first head of the Polish Republic.
The great Polish composer figure of the early 1900’s was Karol Szymanowski, a distinctive mystic and sonic magician, also he with strong folk musical roots. He was a central figure in the group Młoda Polska (‘Young Poland’), in which Grzegorz Fitelberg (1879–1953) and Ludomir Różycki (1883–1953) were included. In the next generation, we find Grażyna Bacewicz, one of the most important female European composers of the 20th century.
During World War II and the Stalinist postwar period, music creation stagnated, but after Stalin’s death, Polish music – with Witold Lutosławski – awarded the Polar Prize in 1993 – Kazimierz Serocki and Krzysztof Penderecki as central figures – played a leading role in European modernism. Henryk Górecki first broke through in the western world in 1993 with a record of the third symphony already composed in 1976 (“Symphony of Sad Songs”). Even Zbigniew Preisner has been successful in the West, not least thanks to his music for films by Krzysztof Kieślowski.
Other composers active in the late 1900’s and early 2000’s include Krzesimir Dębski (born 1953), Hanna Kulenty (born 1961), Piotr Rubik (born 1968) and Paweł Mykietyn (born 1971).
Poland has also produced a number of internationally renowned musicians and singers, eg. pianists Arthur Rubinstein and Krystian Zimerman, violinists Bronisław Hubermann and Henryk Szeryng, harpsichordist Wanda Landowska and opera singers Jan Kiepura and Teresa Zylis-Gara.
Important electro-acoustic music was also created in Poland, and the avant-garde embossed music festival “Warsaw Autumn” (founded in 1956) contributed to its flourishing. Later composers of electro-acoustic music include Paweł Szymański (born 1954).
Poland has good symphony orchestras, including Warsaw Philharmonic and Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice. The Chopin Contest in Warsaw every five years is one of the most important international designs of young pianists.
Poland’s folk music has played an important role up to our time. Systematic collection of folk music began in the early 19th century, with Oskar Kolberg’s gigantic collections (over 15,000 folk songs) as the most important publication. In the instrumental folk music, three dance rhythms have become particularly well known and received the rank of national dances: mazurka, polonäs and krakowiak. Especially the first two have often been included in art music.
The Polish jazz became internationally known from the mid-1950’s, among other things. by pianists Krzysztof Komeda (1931–69) and Adam Makowicz (born 1940), trumpeter Tomasz Stańko (born 1942), violinist and saxophonist Michał Urbaniak (born 1943), and singer Urszula Dudziak (born 1943). Jazz had previously been banned by the communist regime. The heyday of Polish jazz was in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and several of the jazz musicians moved abroad.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, a younger generation of jazz musicians challenged and renewed prevailing ideals and traditions. The flutist Krzysztof Popek (born 1957) became the leader of young power, a style oriented towards free jazz and fusion. An even more avant-garde attitude took the group Miłość (formed in 1988) which gave rise to the style known as yass. With pianist Andrzej Jagodziński (born 1953) and his trio, a specific domestic flow began with jazz interpretations by Chopin.
Since the rock pioneer Tadeusz Nalepa (1943–2007) broke through in the 1960’s, Poland has had a vivid rock scene. Another early rock exponent was singer / songwriter Czesław Niemen (1939–2004). Leading rock groups in the 1970’s and 1980’s were Perfect, Republika, Lady Pank, Kult and Maanam, while bands such as Myslovitz, Hey and Wilki and female rock artists such as Edyta Bartosiewicz (born 1966) and Kasia Kowalska (born 1973) began their careers during 1990’s. During the 2000’s, the rock and pop scene, in addition to some of the aforementioned, was characterized by, among other things, Riverside, Pustki, Cool Kids of Death and Lao Che as well as a number of artists operating in electronics, such as Skalpel and Jacaczek (really Michał Jacaszek, born 1972).
Poland has also profiled itself with a number of hard rock groups playing black metal, death metal and thrash metal, such as Behemoth, Acid Drinkers, Decapitated and Vader.
In Poland, several important rock festivals are held, including in Jarocin (since 1980), Open’er Festival in Gdynia (since 2002) and Off Festival in Katowice (formerly in Mysłowice, since 2006).
Perhaps the most talked about dance in Poland is the procession dance polonäs, which is mentioned as early as the 16th century. The mazuran, a dance with similar ancestry, from Masovia, has, like the Polo Nose, influenced the dance in the rest of Europe. Mazurkan is available in various versions and was transformed into a social dance in Paris in the 1830’s. Another famous round dance was krakowiak from Kraków. In Zakopane, zbójnicki dances are still danced, where the dancers use special axes from the Tatra mountains in the dance. Other round dances are e.g. oberek and kujawiak.
The first Polish ballet is considered “Wanda, Queen of Poland” (1788), but Italian and French choreographers were already dancing in Warsaw in the 1600’s. Foreign influence was also great after the partition of Poland, and many Polish dancers were associated with the imperial ballet in St. Petersburg. In 1818, a permanent ensemble was created at the National Theater in Warsaw, which in 1833 moved to the then-built Teatr Wielki (‘Big Theater’), where a ballet school was also founded.
During the interwar period, Poland’s ballet was influenced by European freedom, and in 1937 the independent Ballet Polski was founded. After World War II, not a single ballet ensemble was left, but as early as 1945 a new one was started in Poznań. In 1965, the rebuilt Teatr Wielki could be reopened. In Poland today there are a variety of ballet ensembles, several with folkloric background. Two well-known choreographers and dancers born in Poland are Albert Gaubier and Krzysztof Pastor (born 1956).
Poland’s cultural culture has a background in several, partly opposite, conditions. While the connections with an old, common Slav cultural heritage are evident, the historical circumstances have meant that the West Slavs in general and those who, in their geographical extent through the ages, have in particular gone their own ways. Poland belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, which in its details often gives Western European character to this year’s party cycle (eg star goslings). Through a continual move of Germans, both as merchants and craftsmen to the cities, and as farmers in the countryside in the west and northwest, German cultural impulses came to characterize especially the areas that were incorporated into Prussia and Austria through the divisions of Poland in the 18th century.
Particularly noticeable are the west-east differences in terms of housing and housing. In the west and north there were cluster villages, like the East German ones, while otherwise the typical Polish farm village was a long village street with tightly built courtyards with the housing of the dwelling facing the street. The dwellings were largely knot-timed couple cabins under selected thatched roofs with on either side of the cabin a living room with windows facing the city street, the “white cabin”, and a storeroom, the “black cabin”. In the west, this type was often replaced by gable entrance and gable vale, sometimes erected in cross timber, under East German influence. The facades facing the city street were often adorned with stylized frescoes in white. The fireplaces were for a long time chimney-free with the almog, who was consistently very poor and heavy weight of day-to-day obligations to the nobles.
The documentation of Polish folk culture was initiated in the middle of the 19th century on a broad basis by Oskar Kolberg, who in 1857–90 published 23 volumes of the unique collection work “Lud” (“The People”), where both spiritual and material and social culture were gathered around the space. His efforts were continued by several magazines and series, including Lud (from 1895) and Materyały anthropologiczno-archeologiczne in the etnograficzne (1896-1919). Among the institutions that work with Polish folk culture are the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, founded in 1888, and the Archaeological-Ethnological Institute in the same city, founded in 1953 and with a rich publication (including a Polish folk culture atlas). An important magazine is Etnografia Polska (since 1958).
Football is the leading sport in Poland in terms of both the number of athletes and the public interest. The men’s national team was one of the best in the world during the 1970’s and 1980’s. World Cup bronze 1974 and 1982, Olympic gold in 1972 and Olympic silver in 1976. The largest player profiles during this golden era were Grzegorz Lato (born 1950), Kazimierz Deyna (1947-89), Władysław Żmuda (born 1954) and Zbigniew Boniek (born 1956). Poland will host the men’s European playoffs in 2012 (together with Ukraine).
Other popular ball games are handball and volleyball, where Poland has won several international championship medals on both the men’s and women’s side.
Poland has achieved great success even in athletics. Sprinter runner and long runner Irena Szewińska (three Olympic golds 1964–76), runner Stanisława Walasziewicz, also known as Stella Walsh (Olympic gold 100 m 1932), three-time runner Józef Szmidt (two Olympic golds 1960–64), obstacle runner Bronisław Malinowski 1951–81; Olympic gold 1980, silver 1976) and pedestrian Robert Korzeniowski (four Olympic golds 1996–2004) are some of the country’s biggest athletics stars.
Another popular public sport is speedway with a domestic professional league where foreign drivers also drive. The country’s foremost speedway driver is Tomasz Gollob (born 1971). world champion 2010.
In the field of ski sports, Poland has also made a good claim, among other things. cross-country skier Justyna Kowalczyk and skier Adam Małysz (born 1977).