Wyspianski, Stanislaw

Wyspiański, Stanisław

Wyspiański, Stanisław (stänēsˈläf vĭspyäˈnyəskē), 1869–1907, Polish poet, dramatist, and painter. As a painter Wyspiański created numerous murals, stained-glass windows, and theatrical costumes. He is considered the founder of modern Polish drama; his plays, which are richly imaginative and often allegorical, generally treat the history or contemporary life of Poland, as in The Legion (1900), The Wedding (1901), Liberation (1903), and November Night (1904). Other plays are drawn from Greek themes, e.g., Return of Odysseus (tr. 1966). Wyspiański's dominant concern was Polish independence and individual freedom.
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Wyspiański, Stanisław


Born Jan. 15,1869, in Krakow; died there Nov. 28, 1907. Polish writer, artist, and man of the theater.

Wyspiański was born into a sculptor’s family. He studied at the Krakow School of Fine Arts (1884-95, with interruptions) under Jan Matejko and at the Colarossi Academy in Paris (1891-94). Wyspiański was one of the founders (1897) and a prominent member of the Krakow artists’ association Art. In his art Wyspiański strove to embody the national principle within the framework of the art nouveau style. In his sketches for stained-glass windows, designed for the Franciscan Church and the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow (1896-1906), Wyspiariski used fluid, vibrant contour lines and patches of pure color as a means of expression. As a partici-pant in the publication of the journal Zycie (Life), Wyspiariski created a new type of book design, achieving a decorative unity between the printed text and the gently rhythmic, stylized floral ornamentation. Wyspiański’s pastel portraits and landscapes are characterized by a generalized, expressive manner of drawing, a refined poetic quality, and spirituality. Wyspiański also worked in the field of decorative art, for example, his design for the interior of the Medical Society Building in Kraków (c. 1905) and his sketches for furniture, fabrics, arid metallic articles.

Wyspiański’s plays and rhapsodies are devoted to Poland’s remote past, for example, The Legend (1897), Boleslaw Smiaty (1900), and Kazimierz the Great (1900). His historical dramas raise the problems of Polish romanticism and the national liberation movement, for example, Warszawianka (1898), The Legion (1900), and November Night (1904). The plays based on subjects drawn from ancient Greek myths deal with contemporary events in the spirit of ancient tragedy, for example, Meleager (1898), Curse (1899), and The Return of Odysseus (1907). The summit of Wyspiański’s creative work is his metaphorical drama-pamphlet and drama-tale The Wedding (1901). Here, as in his other contemporary political dramas, Liberation (1903) and Acropolis (1904), he poses the problem of the paths to be taken in the national liberation struggle and depicts the decay of Polish bourgeois society. Characteristic of Wyspiański’s art are a combination of a realistic view of the world with symbolism, a monumental and synthetic quality, and the simultaneous use of verbal, musical, and plastic means. These features also appeared in his work as a director.


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Poezje. Warsaw, 1957.
In Russian translation:
Dramy. [With an introduction by B. Rostotskii.] Moscow, 1963.


S. Vyspianskii i khudozhniki ego vremeni: Katalog vystavki. Moscow, 1958.
Vitt, V. “Stanislav Vyspianskii.” In Istoriia pol’skoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1969.
Skierkowska, E. Plastyka St. Wyspiańskiego. Wroclaw-Kraków, 1958.
Łempicka, A. “Stanislaw Wyspiański.” In Obraz literatury polskiej XIX i XX wieku, series 5: Literatura okresu Młodej Polski, vol. 2. Warsaw, 1967. (Contains a bibliography.)
Stanistaw Wyspiański [2nd ed.] Warsaw, 1967.
Stokowa, M. Stanisfaw Wyspiański: Monografia bibliograficzna [vols. 1-3]. Kraków [1967-68].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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