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This article introduces Jan Białostocki (1921–1988), who is considered the most outstanding Polish art historian, and who belonged to the world’s elite humanist scholars of the twentieth century. Throughout his life, Bialostocki was associated with two institu-tions: the Institute of Art History at the Warsaw University and the National Museum in Warsaw. He lectured at numerous European and American universities. He was a member of several European Academies of Sciences, and Vice–President of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art, Conseil International de la Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines. He also received the Warburg–Preis award. Białostocki was the author of over 500 major scholarly publications, including such fundamental works as: Les Primitifs Flamands: Les Musées de Pologne (1966), Spätmittelalter und beginnende Neuzeit (Propylaen Kunstgeschichte VII, 1972), The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe: Hungary, Bohemia, Poland (1976), and Il Quattrocento nell’ Europa Settentrionale (1989). His main focus was on iconology, which he developed, often arguing with its founder, E. Panofsky. He proposed the modus theory in art history, which made an important impact on Western art literature, as well as the category of “framework theme” (Rahmenthema). Białostocki also put forward a comprehensive vision of the methods of art history. Accordingly, the study of a work of art would include analysing it as: a physical object; a product of technology; a formal structure; a social function (purpose and historical reception). Then an analysis of its genesis would follow: as a product of a historical period, of taste and style; as a product of a particular artistic milieu; as a product of a community; as a product of a concept of art (such as theoretical formulae, or particular views on art); as a product of an artistic personality. The next step should be the analysis of the reception and the works: as an object being judged and evaluated in the history of its Nachleben, as public or private property, as an object of criticism or admiration in literary sources and the social history of taste, as subject to various transformations, manipulations, and finally as subject of a scholarly analysis. Separate from, and very important to Białostocki’s interests, and to which he brought a new outlook, was the problem of the relationship between the center/periphery, metropolitanism/provincialism – he fought with the stereotyped geohistory of European art caught in the paradigm of centralism, Eurocentrism, Italocentrism or Francocentrism.
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Mieczysław Wallis (1895–1975) authored 18 books, including 15 monographs in art history, the major ones being Autoportret (Self–Portrait, 1964), Późna twórczość wielkich artystów (The Late Works of Great Artists, 1975) and Secesja (Art Nouveau, 1967). Also worth noting is Sztuki i znaki. Pisma semiotyczne (Arts and Signs. Semiotic Writings, 1983).The main contribution of M. Wallis to art history lies in his modern metahistorical reflections, which are based on the firmly held beliefs about close relations between art history and other fields of art and aesthetics. His recommended method is moderate historiosophical relativism. We cannot avoid viewing the art of the past through the present. Changeable evaluations are the consequence of this, as is the relativization of the concepts and findings of art history. Wallis recognizes within the process of reception the important role that scientific discourse and cultural paradigm play. In Secesja he used the iconological method, combining art with the philosophical and scientific thought of the Belle Epoque. In his analyses of medieval art he introduced the semiotic method, having successfully avoided the constraints characteristic of semiological studies. His original remarks on the stylization of his appearance by means of dress show that the monograph Autoportret is still relevant to discussions on the theatricalization of reality. A philosophy of art history which assumes the variability of forms, of aesthetic sensibility and of knowledge does not necessarily lead to an extreme relativism, but accepts artistic pluralism; it allows us to retain the view on the continuity of art towards the avant–garde. Wallis interpreted its variable character by distinguishing between soft and sharp aesthetic values. Wallis laid the basis for an original, interdisciplinary approach to art. However, the distance that separated him from the aesthetics focused on the work of art itself, as well as from the social history and ideological criticism w hich were opposed to it, was the reason for his ideas to remain outside the mainstream of academic art history and aesthetics. Wallis contribution to art history is proportional to the role that he ascribed to this discipline among the various studies on art.
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Stanisław Jan Gąsiorowski (1897–1962) studied classical archaeology and art history at the Jagiellonian University during the years 1915 –1920, under direction of Piotr Bieńkowski and Julian Pagaczewski. During a one–year stay in Vienna, he attended lectures given by Joseph Strzygowski, Max Dvořák and Julius Schlosser. In 1922, he started his professional career as an assistant in the Chair of Classical Archaeology at the Jagiellonian University. In 1925, he obtained his doctorate and in 1928, he received his habilitation. In 1930 he was named profesor extraordinariusand in 1937 ordinarius. He remained in this position until 1953. In November of 1939, along with other professors of the Jagiellonian University, he was arrested by the Nazis, and imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In 1940 he was released. In 1942 the Prince Czartoryski family entrusted him with the position of director of the Czartoryski Museum. In 1951, Prof. Gąsiorowski was dismissed, under the pretext that he was in the service of “aristocratic and bourgeois enemies of the Polish people”. Shortly thereafter the authorities also forced his removal from the University (1953). Deprived of the opportunity to give lectures and be in contact with students, he shifted his work to the Institute of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Science, and remained there until his death. His research interests followed three general themes. The first of these was ancient art in the strict sense. One of Prof. Gąsiorowski’s great achievements was to write Poland’s first summary of the history of ancient art, from Egypt and the ancient Near East to Early Christian Art. The second area involved the theoretical foundations for the study of the material culture of Mediterranean countries, the relationships between art and material culture, and ergological classification. Finally, the third area was the publication of ancient and modern artworks from Polish collections as well as their history, and information on early Polish travelers to the Mediterranean countries.
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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.
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Zbigniew Hornung (1903–1981) belonged to the first generation of Polish art historians who specialized in the study of Baroque art. Although he had also engaged with the art of the Renaissance, and published several papers on the major works of art of this period in Poland, his main achievements concern Baroque sculpture, architecture and painting in the former Eastern Borderlands of Poland. Throughout his life, he invariably used the classical method of combining historical and archival research with that of a stylistic and comparative nature, and rescued from oblivion the sculptor Antoni Osiński, the painter Stanislaw Stroiński and the architect Jan de Witte, to whom he dedicated separate monographs. He also published a monograph on the sculptor Pinsel, but did not manage to access all the material on the subject. Together with T. Mańkowski, he should be merited with discovering a new phenomenon in art, on a European scale of importance, namely the Lviv’s Rococo sculpture. It should be noted that although banished from his hometown of Lviv after the war, Hornung spent the second half of his life in Wroclaw, where he re–organized Polish museology and art historical studies and remained faithful to borderland issues. In addition to monographic studies on artists and their works, he also undertook some attempts at syntheses of Renaissance sculpture and Baroque architecture in Poland. The most original and at the same time the most controversial was “The problem of Rococo in church architecture of the eighteenth century”, published in 1972. He had the courage to formulate daring hypotheses which did not always find support, causing heated debates. Insensitive to new methods and changing research fashions, he was primarily interested in the form and not the subject of the work of art. We can see in this a fascination for the Wölfflinian method, but also for abstract art, which was born in his lifetime. Hornung’s research also reveals his aesthetic and patriotic motivation, understandably so for the first generation of citizens of the newly reborn Poland. Due to his faithfulness to his principles, he was considered a conservative, even an outsider, at the end of his life.
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This article aims at portraying the figure of Jan Bołoz Antoniewicz (1858–1922), Professor of Art History at the University of Lviv, and one of the founding fathers of Polish art history. The paper focuses on two periods of his life: Bołoz’s ‘birth’ as an art historian and the ‘decline’ of his career. Regarding the former, a historical and artistic ‘ first text’ by Bołoza was subjected to analysis (The medieval sources for the sculptures found on the ivory casket in the treasury of the Cathedral on Wawel Hill, 1885), as were the cir- cumstances of his appointment to the Chair of History of Art in Lviv (1893). Regarding the second period, his ‘final text’ (Opatowski Lament and its creator, 1922) and the events of his last few years of university work were examined. In the text, emphasis is placed on characterizing Bołoza’s attitude which resulted from his general outlook on life, and belongs to the realm of psychology of academic scholarship, rather than methodology of research. Bołoz as a scholar–creator was fully formed, and it is from this that other separate scholarly personalities were born, sometimes in keeping with his research interests (the Italian and Polish Renaissances, eight eenth and nineteenth century art, contemporary art, Armenian art) and his intuitive approach to art, with direct experience of the wo rk of art at its core, and sometimes quite the opposite – relating to other areas and research approaches. Nevertheless, Bołoz’s ‘methodology’ can be contained within well–known categories: form–genesis–source–influence–development–originality–genius–masterpiece. It fits well within its time, when the old tradition of great scholars who were culturally and historically oriented was being dismant led in favour of the new trend, fitting for researchers of his generation, which aimed at developing one’s own paradigm of an increasingly autonomous discipline, emancipated from history, philology and aesthetics. Although Bołoz’s path to art history seems to mimic, several decades later, the career of Hermann Grimm (law and philology, fascination with the Renaissance); although the thought of a historically rooted cultural unity of all forms of art in an era was dear to him; although, just like Jacob Burckhardt, the concept of an ‘objective’ historical science was alien to him; yet he was far closer to the dominant Wölfflinian trend of his generation, in line with contemporary institutional interest in art history as an academic discipline, all the while fighting for the strengthening of its autonomy in regards to its older „sister” disciplines: history and philology.
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Ksawery Piwocki, (1901–1974) whose scholarly activities occurred during a particularly diffi cult period in Polish history, 1935–1970, was one of the most interesting Polish art historians and organizers of academic life. In his work, he combined an interest in methodology (for instance, as an expert on the concepts of Alois Riegl, and on all the complexities of the nearly century–old dispute about its proper interpretation), with many years of research on non–professional artists, areas of artistic creativity which remained partly on the margins of traditional art history and partly in the ‘no man’s land’ of such disciplines as art history, ethnography and cultural anthropology. Armed with a thorough knowledge of methodology, and starting from the fairly widespread belief in the 1920s and 1930s that the study of the art of the so–called ‘primitives’ would facilitate exploration of the principles of artistic development in general, uncovering the psychological and anthropological origins of creativity, Piwocki researched ‘primitive’ art, reveali ng a fascinating and often surprising relationship between the proposals of modern artists and the trends of the ‘primitives’. It should be emphasized that these studies, which began even before World War II, were completely devoid of any attempt to support them with the theories of race, which was not so obvious at the time. In some ways Piwocki’s popular book “A strange world of modern primitives” was a summary of his investigations, playing in its time a very important role. We must not forget that Ksawery Piwocki was also a well–known organizer of academic life. He was involved in the practice of conservation, becoming an eminent expert on the theory of conservation and restoration of works of art, and greatly contributing to the increase in awareness of these issues in Poland. It is thanks to his efforts that the National Ethnographic Museum was established in Warsaw, whose role in promoting interest in folk, ‘primitive’ and amateur art cannot be overestimated. Combining in his activities the competence of an art restorer, art historian and methodologist, Piwocki remains in the memory of our discipline as a rare example of a researcher for whom there was no gap between the study of art history for its own sake and its embodiment as a living aesthetic and artistic message.
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Szczęsny Dettloff (1878–1961) left impressive research achievements and had noteworthy didactic successes, which resulted from his special involvement in scholarly activity. He was a paragon of a morally and politically uncompromising academic teacher, whose life course was marked out by his Polish patriotism and Catholic clergymen ethics. Priest Dettloff’s resumé, as founder of the art history department and the first Poznan professor of art history, is replete with dramatic events, due to the fact that during World War II he was arrested by the Nazis; it was only the intercession of Karl Heinz Clasen, the German art historian, that saved his life. During the Stalinist period, Dettloff was removed from art history department at Poznan University, where he returned in 1956. During his studies in Vienna, Dettloff became acquainted with the methodology of the older Viennese school; Dettloff was a Ph.D. student of Max Dvořak, under whose supervision he defended his Ph.D. thesis entitled Der Entwurf von 1488 zum Sebaldusgrab in 1914. During the inter–war period, he preferred using the Alois Riegl method in his work, which was expressed by emphasis on the stylistic analysis of an examined work of art and the use of genetic and comparative methods. In most of his mature work, however, in which he attempted to interpret the core art of Veit Stoss, he made clear references to the methodology of Max Dvořak, perceiving art history as history of ideas (Kunstgeschichte als Geistesgeschichte).
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Julian Pagaczewski (1874–1940) was a pupil of Marian Sokolowski at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow; after graduating in History of Art in 1900, he worked at the National Museum from 1901–1911, and then took a post at the Jagiellonian University. He obtained his doctorate in 1908, his postdoctoral habilitation in 1909, became associate professor in 1917, and in 1921 – a full professor; his chair was liquidated in 1933. During the interwar period, he was the major figure in art history in Krakow. His research interests included Polish art of all periods (apart from contemporary), seen in the vast context of European art, particularly the handic rafts (gold-smithery, tapestry, embroidery) and sculpture. Following in his master’s footsteps, he adopted a philological and historical method of research, and soon enriched it with an in–depth comparative and stylistic analysis; he was strongly influenced by the Viennese scholars (Franz Wickhoff, Alois Riegl), and above all Heinrich Wölfflin. His studies show a great mastery of the methodology of research, and the later ones are exemplary of an art history focused on issues of style. He also had a reputation as an outstanding teacher a nd educator; despite his relatively short period of professorship, he helped form almost all the eminent art historians of the next gen eration, who, after World War II, determined the nature of the discipline in Krakow, largely continuing with his methodological approach and passing it on to the next generation of scholars.
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This article presents the life and work of Marian Morelowski (1884–1963), an outstanding Polish art historian. He was born at Wadowice (1884), studied French in Cracow, Vienna and Paris (1902–1907) and took his doctorate in 1912. Morelowski worked as an expert on the regaining of Polish cultural heritage from Russia and the Soviet Union (1915–1926) and as a curator in the Royal Castle in Cracow (1926–1929). In 1930 he moved to Vilnius and was awarded the post of Professor of Art History at the local university. After World War II had finished, he continued his academic career in Lublin (1945–1948) and Wroclaw (1948–1960), where he died in 1963. Morelowski’s main fields of research were the artistic relations between Poland and the Meuse region in the Middle Ages, the art of the Vilnius region and medieval and early modern art in Silesia. Morelowski treated his work as an undertaking dedicated to the service of Polish national culture. His research work strictly adhered to the nationalist ideology of the independent Polish state and was opposed to the views of German art historians.
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This article introduces the work of the art historian Tadeusz Mańkowski (1878–1956). He trained as a lawyer and took up art history late, as a private scholar. In 1945 he was appointed Director of the State Art Collection at Wawel. Mańkowski was probably the first Polish researcher who established contacts with foreign orientalists studying the arts, especially in the U.S. and the UK, including magazines such as “Ars Islamica” and “Bulletin of Iranian Art and Archaeology”. In this field, his most important article was on Polish trade with Persia in the seventeenth century, in the monumental Survey of Persian Art (ed. A. Upton Pope). In his studies on the relationship between the former Poland and the broadly defined Orient, Mańkowski created an academic groundwork based on extensive archival query. He published a book on Sarmatian Genealogy, in which he uncovered, relying on archival sources, the origins and the development of this formation of Polish culture which was born in the sixteenth century and underwent many transformations up until the eighteenth century. This was an ideological study, setting in motion the on–going debate about Sarmatism which lasts until this day. The framework of Mańkowski’s achievements should be divided into three categories: the Leopolitano (he lived in Lviv until 1945) and Oriental art; the Cracoviana and the Waweliana (Royal Castle in Cracow – Wawel); the Varsaviana and the artistic and collector’s activity of the last Polish king, Stanislaus Augustus.
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Profesor architekt Juliusz Żórawski był dla autora artykułu czołowym autorytetem w okresie studiów i asystentury. Autor, na szerszym tle zdarzeń swojego życia, rysuje portret owego mentora, w aspektach: kreatywnego projektowania nowoczesnego, myślenia, głoszenia i pisania o architekturze - zwłaszcza w zakresie formy. Nauczyciela i ucznia łączyły podobne zainteresowania, np. wypowiadanie się poprzez rysunek odręczny, oraz wrażliwość na krajobraz, taki jak przykład Tatry. Dlatego, mimo iż Żórawski był raczej radykalnym modernistą – architektem abstrakcji, autor artykułu zawdzięcza mu swoją postawę bliższą kontekstualizmu, i twórczej – bardziej „gorącej” ekspresji, a przede wszystkim pasję do architektury i jej tworzenia..
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Autor jako dawny uczeń tytułowego bohatera artykułu i jego czołowy współpracownik przy wykonywaniu różnorodnych prac twórczych, przytacza wspomnienia i analizę osobowości prof. J. Tadeusza Gawłowskiego. Artykuł posiada obiektywne i oficjalne cechy kronikarskie, a jednocześnie wprowadza Czytelnika w bardziej osobiste tajniki wybitnego architekta, nauczyciela akademickiego – a zarazem barwnego i życzliwego człowieka. Artykuł stanowi zarówno materiał naukowy, biogram, jak też żywe przypomnienie ważnej postaci z pocztu architektów polskich, związanego po części ale walnie, z Krakowem. Przy okazji jubileuszu 70-lecia Politechniki Krakowskiej, cennym jest bowiem ukazanie jej wybitnego pracownika, który dzielił swą aktywność także na potrzeby trzech innych, znaczących uczelni.
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