Stanisław Wyspiański, Self-portrait, 1902
Oh, I adore Krakow – for not by the stones
is my distress caused – by living men.
Nothing shall shake my spirit nor transform
it, nor shall my inner fire stop to burn,
since its roots in Faith rest that englows
my thought with rosy dawn and wakens me.
And every time you throw a stone at me,
you build a mound – with me on top of it.
English translation: Joanna Bilmin
One of the most eminent and certainly the most versatile Polish artist of all times, connected to Krakow in his entire lifetime. In the city, he perceived the vastness of tradition and the dramatic quality of his contemporary times. He was a genius of an artist, as manifested especially in the multi-directional quality of his pursuits: a consummate poet, a dramatist, and theatre producer; equally talented as a painter, draughtsman, and designer (of stained-glass decorations, polychrome murals, furniture, stage sets, and costumes). One of the founders of the Polish tradition, a permanent point of reference for successive generations of artists. The house where Stanisław Wyspiański was born on 15th January 1869 stands at 26 Krupnicza Street, and today houses the Museum of Józef Mehoffer. The artist’s studio was situated at 9 Mariacki Square, where a range of dramas were written after 1898, notably Lelewel, Klątwa (The Curse), Legion, and the beginning of Wesele (The Wedding). In turn, the famous “blue studio” at 79 Krowoderska Street, where Wyspiański came to live after his marriage in September 1900, was his home whilst he completed Wesele, Wyzwolenie (Liberation), Bolesław Śmiały (Boleslaus the Bold), Akropolis, and Noc listopadową (November Night). The artist’s remains lie in the “Polish National Pantheon” Crypt of the Church “on the Rock” (na Skałce). (ezp)