Mieczysław Gębarowicz (1893–1984)
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Mieczyslaw Gębarowicz (1893–1984) was an historian and art historian, associated all his academic life with Lviv. It was in that city that he graduated before the end of World War I and passed all the stages of his academic career during the interwar period, including the ordinary professorship at the University of Jan Kazimierz. During World War II, he was appointed Director of the National Ossoliński Institute. After the war, when Lviv was incorporated with Eastern Malopolska into the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, he remained in the city despite the loss of his academic degrees; resulting ultimately in his employment as an assistant librarian at the Museum of Industry. His research methods, formed under the influence of Jan Bołoz–Antoniewicz and Zakrzewski, were based on a thorough analysis of sources and meticulous examination of works of art. Gębarowicz thought it essential to favour source documents over formal analysis. During the interwar period, he focused on the study of medieval art, and wrote a synthesis of the art of this period, in which he outlined a vision of the development of European art independent from the dominant, at that time, French and German studies. In Gębarowicz’s opinion, the cultural border areas, the periphery, played an important role. He placed great emphasis on the artistic process, highly valuing the individuality of the artist and his social role. After the war, Gębarowicz, cut off from the Polish academic community, undertook research on the areas of the Eastern Malopolska (Little Poland), Podolia and Zaporozhye i.e. lands that were beginning to be called Ukraine. In the 1950s, he wrote two studies in Ukrainian, in which he presents the development of realism in art in so–called ‘Western Ukraine’ (Eastern Little Poland), and the history of sculpture in the Ukraine. These works, despite a strongly emphasized Marxist perspective, were not accepted into print. Gębarowicz decided to make significant changes to the typescript on sculpture and prepared it for publishing in Poland. In the end, the book (published in 1962) cost him his job, but at the same time caused his academic revival in Poland. In this work, the scholar raised new issues such as artistic peregrinations, guild questions, and the relations between artists. From that time on, Gębarowicz systematically published in Poland, focusing his research on regional issues.