young poland movement

Death of Ellenai”, 1883 by Jacek Malczewski (1854 - 1929)

This painting was inspired by the poem Death of Anhelli by Juliusz Slowacki. The woman represents Poland and the subdued colors enhance the melancholy thoughts of losing hope for Poland’s rebirth during the Partitions of Poland.

Jacek Malczewski was one of the most revered painters of Poland and was associated with the Young Poland Movement. He is regarded as the Father of Polish Symbolism.  

Stanisław Wyspiański (pronounced [‘staˈɲiswaf vɨˈspjaɲskʲi]; 15 January 1869 – 28 November 1907) was a Polish playwright, painter and poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. A patriotic writer, he created a series of symbolic, national dramas within the artistic philosophy of the Young Poland Movement. Wyspiański was one of the most outstanding and multifaceted artists of his time in Poland under the foreign partitions.[1] He successfully joined the trends of modernism with themes of the Polish folk tradition and Romantic history. Unofficially, he came to be known as the Fourth Polish Bard (in addition to the earlier Three Bards: Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, and Zygmunt Krasiński).

Everything he did was just magnificent! Just look at that face! So handsome.


wyspianski, stanislaw - Pastel Portrait of Maria Waskowska by Amber Tree

<br /><i>Via Flickr:</i>
<br />Stanislaw Wyspianski  1869-1907  Polen

Stanisław Wyspiański was a Polish playwright, painter and poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. A patriotic writer, he created a series of symbolic, national dramas within the artistic philosophy of the Young Poland Movement.

Stanisław Wyspiański, Self-portrait, 1902

In the 1890s, a new wave of artistic energy inspired by the Western European Art Noveau style rolled through the Polish lands. The heart of the new Młoda Polska (Young Poland) movement that influenced art for two decades was in Austrian-occupied Kraków. Although many forms of art were involved - from literature to graphic art - one Cracovian artist left a legacy that foreign visitors to the city can easily track down and enjoy: Stanislaw Wyspiański (1869-1907). Not your regular artist, he was a painter, poet, dramatist, theatre reformer, stage designer and typographer. Wyspiański started his career by working on the renovation of the Holy Cross Church and, together with Józef Mehoffer under the supervision of Jan Matejko, of St. Mary’s Basilica.

Wyspiański’s talents led him to become director of the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts. In addition to the window designs, he was a talented painter, famous for his series of views of Kościuszko Mound and the enchanting pictures of his children. He also was one of the people behind a plan to replace Austrian-era buildings on Wawel hill with an impressively domed Polish Acropolis. Bad health continued to torment him however - the shocking designs he made for the Wawel Cathedral windows (unsettling pictures of royal cadavers) hinting at his mental problems. Much of his designs were influenced by his frequent travels across Central Europe, though his artistic ideals were not limited to design. A gifted playwright he is commonly lauded as the founder of modern Polish drama, his defining work being Wesele (The Wedding), which tells the story of a chaotic wedding reception, while sarcastically criticising 18th century Polish society. At the end of his life, the depressions sometimes took the overhand, and in one fit he destroyed some of the window designs. When he died at 38 he left behind a huge legacy of artworks and ideas and is today hailed as one of the true icons of Polish culture.


wyspianski, stanislaw - Portrait of Kazimierz Lewandowski by Amber Tree

<br /><i>Via Flickr:</i>
<br />Stanislaw Wyspianski  1869-1907  Polen

Stanisław Wyspiański was a Polish playwright, painter and poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. A patriotic writer, he created a series of symbolic, national dramas within the artistic philosophy of the Young Poland Movement.


Photo Album: Today (15.07.2016) marks the 162nd birthday of one of the most revered painters of Poland, Jacek Malczewski(15 July 1854 – 8 October 1929), who was associated with the patriotic Young Poland movement following the century of Partitions. He is regarded as father of Polish Symbolism. In his creative output, Malczewski combined the predominant style of his times, with the historical motifs of Polish martyrdom, the Romantic ideals of independence, the Christian and Greek traditions, folk mythology, as well as his love of natural environment.

madefromchemicals  asked:

Greetings from California! I was wondering if you have any information regarding waves of emigration from Poland to the U.S.? I am curious about what factors have motivated people to leave Poland over the years. My family moved here ages ago and I am hoping to learn a little bit about why. Thank you. :)

Greetings from Poland! Thank you for the question, it’s a subject I wanted to bring up in some way ever since I started running this blog. Despite it looking pretty simple to answer, the topic of Polish emigration is in fact very complicated. The waves are dating way back to the 19th century and having its roots in the events of 18th C [talking about the “documented” mass emigration only]. Exploration of the topic is definitely not a pleasant read and my answer below isn’t covering even a half of the problems.

To give you a short answer first - the emigrations had mostly political and economic reasons, following decades [if not centuries] of oppression with the land and infrastructure being devastated by wars. Frankly, our geographical situation doesn’t provide many natural barriers, except of the mountains in the South and the marshy areas in the North-East - just look at this simple map to see how easy it is to ride through. 

As you might understand, I can’t answer your question comprehensively in relation to your personal story - not sure how long “ages ago” in the case of your family is and from which part of Poland did they come, which is also an important factor, so let me provide just some general info.

In order to give it a clear background, I need to go back to the end of 18th century, as most of the follow-up events of the 19th and 20th centuries are directly connected with eachother. I’m only scratching the surface and focusing on the most negative sides that led to the emigration, in order to give you and all the other interested readers a good picture of the general reasons

1. First major factor - the infamous Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that occurred between 1772-1795 and lasted to 1918, when the Commonwealth was “erased from the maps” - divided between Russian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia [Germany] and Austro-Hungarian Empire [see short summary: The Collapse of the State]. In short, we usually call these three powers ‘Partitioners’ [Polish: Rozbiorcy]. Although I could start with the list even earlier, let’s mark it as a beginning of the further problems.

2. Failures of the Uprisings against the Partitioners during 19th century - all of them ended with repressions followed by smaller or bigger waves of emigration [the 3 most significant Uprisings in chronological order are: 1794 Kościuszko Uprising, 1830/31 November Uprising and 1863/64 January Uprising].

3. As it comes to the Uprisings, It’s also good to learn about the term “Great Emigration” coined sometime after 1830 [Polish: Wielka Emigracja], which actually wasn’t that great in numbers, but affected the most prominent and talented Poles. They were seen by the Partitioners as a political threat. Enough is to say that a majority of the famous Polish poets, writers, musicians and painters of that time, not to mention the elites, politicians and activists, had to live and create somewhere abroad [see short summary: Polish émigrés] in order to avoid the political repressions. Despite the Partitioners’ efforts, Polish culture was blooming in unexpected ways, with the greatest development around the turn of 19th/20th centuries [see short summary: Literature, science and arts and learn about the “Młoda Polska” - Young Poland movement]. Since the 1830s, this was actually beginning of the notion of a “success/freedom abroad”, planted deeply in Polish mindset, that influenced the later waves of mass emigration.

Main directions of the emigration from Congress Poland in 19th century - US was an indirect but very desirable destination [bigger image / source with interesting summary!]:

4. Major reasons: political, cultural and economic struggle that continued throughout the 19th century up until the end of World War II and beyond - direct consequences of the Partitions followed by the so-called “Polish question“ and anti-Polish sentiment [see also points 5-8 below]. Initially, the ‘old-Polish’ culture of the Commonwealth was meant to either merge or disappear completely, partly as being too influential in that region of Europe in the past.

5. Long process of Germanisation in the Prussian Partition throughout the 19th century and first decades of 20th century [see as examples: Germanisation of Poles during the Partitions / Germanisation of the Province of Posen / Kulturkampf of 1870s / Drang nach Osten - and its later phases during World War II: Lebensraum / Generalplan Ost / Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany / Kidnapping of children by Nazi Germany / Intelligenzaction].

6. Long process of Russification in the Russian Partition throughout the 19th century and later [see as examples: Russification of Poland and Lithuania / Opressions after the 1863 Uprising / Sybiracy - Polish exiles on Siberia / Katorga - penal labor and quite a good general summary: Russification: word and practice 1863-1914 (PDF) with a lot of mentions regarding the Poles, read also about the later phases during and around the World War II, concerning not only the Poles: Poles in the Soviet Union / Forced settlements in the Soviet Union / NKVD prisoner massacres / Polish Operation of NKVD 1937-8Polish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union after 1939].

7. Also giving the notice to the Austrian Partition - it is said to be the least oppressive and providing a cultural freedom back then, but struggled the most in the fields of economy. A lot of regions were left on their own with just a political supervision, but with too little help in general development and no interests in implementing reforms [while the lands were cut off from the world by bordering the other, more oppressive Partitions in the North and by the natural barrier of the Carpathian Mountains range in the South]. Despite these geo-political conditions, the Austrian Partition was maintaining a policy of open borders. Up until the beginning of the World War I around 3 milion Poles were said to be emigrating [or rather escaping] from the region of Galicja to the US alone and another 100-200k to Brasil, which was the second popular destination back then. Galicja (also spelled Galicia in English) is by many historians called the poorest province of Europe of the late 19th century [see for example: Poverty in Austrian Galicia].

8. Fact is, all three Partitions were becoming overpopulated at the end of 19th century, with little to none conditions for economical development in most of their districts. Much of the land [especially in the East] was still wild and focused on agriculture only. The urbanized areas didn’t provide enough workplaces for the ethnic Poles and the business/factories were usually very strictly controlled by the foreign policies. Language and customs were suppressed - there were periods of Polish language being banned in the Russian and Prussian Partitions [more in the points 5-6 above]. Not much education was provided, maybe except of the Prussian Partition that always kept good primary schools but lots of them were run in the German language only - e.g. in the early 1900s many of the schools in some more open-minded districts stopped “tolerating” the Polish language, what led to the so-called strajki szkolne [meaning: school strikes - I found only a mention about the strikes in the Września town in English but apparently there’s a whole book dedicated to that topic]. At the end of 19th centrury the general illiteracy rate among all ethnic groups in the Austrian Partition was around 50% and in the Russian Partition - 70%. Majority of the inhabitants were living off the agriculture practiced with outdated equipment and methods, having no prospects in the neglected areas. These were the times of the desperate emigration “za chlebem” [meaning: for a bread]. People were often being used, lured with colorful descriptions of America’s wealth and opportunities [to read: Dark side of emigration - “Emigration Hyenas”], but you can probably imagine that majority of them were leaving the land with no qualifications or even a basic education - this was also a backgroud of prejudices that led to the creation of “Polish jokes”.

9. Most obvious reasons: the tragic World Wars I and II, that had left the lands even more worn-out. The so-called interwar period between them [1920s-1930s] still makes the Poles feel sentimental thanks to the notion of “regained independence” that Poland had earned in 1918, but the “reborn” Polish state - called Second Polish Republic - was facing a great variety of social and political problems [see for example: Polish-Soviet war of 1920 / Independent country; difficult beginnings / Sanacja regime / Polonisation in the Second Polish Republic] and was dealing with delicate isuues that you might have deducted from everything I mentioned above: the identity crisis after the long century of foreign influences and serious difficulties in tying together the lands left after the 3 entirely different Partitions, lands that even nowadays are struggling with completely different economic and social problems. Even though thousands of Poles returned to the “reborn” state during the interwar period, up to 2 milions left the country in order to earn for a living - as you might understand, the reborn Poland had a meager budget back then. As if it wasn’t enough, the state was also backlashed by the economic crisis of the 1920s and the global “Great Depression” of 1930s.

10. World War II left another devastating impact on Poland, which was attacked from the two sides by two of the old Partitioners. In a short summary, 1/5 of the Second Polish Republic’s population perished - highest rate as percent of the total population in the world [check the World War II casualities statistics and the page World War II casualities of Poland, the numbers vary but I believe that around 1/3 to ½ of the losses were the Polish Jews - always remember that the old Poland was multicultural]. A lot of surviving people emigrated after 1945 simply because it was too painful to stay here. Economically speaking, the industry built bit by bit during the interwar period was left in even worse ruins again, most of the cities and towns destroyed, many villages vanished from the earth entirely - people had no places to come back to. Official count of the war losses in infrastructure and resources in comparison to the year 1939 is around 35-40%. For the people it seemed like no hope in a near future. Besides, influence of the many foreign “-ism movements” and Polish own political ambitions were dividing the Poles practically throughout the 20th century, and it’s still seen nowadays. Facing the problems described in the next point below, many Polish people were leaving because, as they were saying, “it was not the Poland they were fighting for”.

11. Times after 1945 came with the communism. The new governent enforced by the Soviets started applying tons of absurd laws, of which many were marking the Polish war heroes, patriots and inteligentsia as “dangerious elements” - threat to the new govt as political opponents [read short summary: New Communist rule]. People started disappearing with no traces and a new state of fear was emerging. The process was slow and the worst phases were lasting up until the mid-1950s [see short summary: October ‘56 Thaw and “Small Stabilization”]. These were the long years marked with the lack of the freedom of speech and the censorship applied on all media. 

12. Events in the 1960s and 1970s were only deepening all the earlier problems. The communistic goverment was trying hard to maintain the so-called “propaganda of success” [see short summary: Gierek and the “propaganda of success”] but the growing problems in economy couldn’t be kept hidden for long or covered with the bilions of money borrowed from the West. Many protests and mass strikes caused by both price increase and lack of personal freedom occured around the 1970s, often put down with the help of armed forces [I already described a few under my protest tag]. Up until then, many people were often [let’s say] tolerating the communistic rule, blinded by the seemingly blooming infrastructure and economy as a contrast to the earlier devastation - the “success” which was always lively described by the media strictly controlled by the communist government. Beginning of 1980s is the turbulent phase of the imposed martial law and the birth of the famous Solidarność movement. It was the time of another notable waves of emigration - people escaping the political repressions and a collapsing economy (again).

Let me finish it here, as the last point basically ends up with the events that led to the fall of the communism and to the modern era of Rzeczpospolita Polska. Here’s a short summary [very simplified] of the most important/bigggest waves in my interpretation:

  1. Political refugee seekers of 19th century, particularly after the failed Uprisings [points 2-3 on the list above] - famous people of that wave were for example Tadeusz Kościuszko, Fryderyk Chopin or Maria Skłodowska-Curie - many notable Polish artists of that era were living and creating abroad
  2. Mass emigration for economic reasons during the industrialisation era and beyond [since the mid-19th century to the beginning of 20th century: see points 4-8 above]
  3. Emigration influenced by the World Wars and the fragile economic situation of the Second Polish Republic [points 9-10 above]
  4. Political repressions after 1945 [see point 11 above]
  5. Political and economic reasons of the emigration in the 1980s, caused and followed by strikes which eventually led to the collapse of the Communist Bloc [see point 12 above]
  6. Emigration for livelihood and work after opening of the borders in 1989 - lasting until nowadays

An interesting note to make is about the numbers of Polish Diaspora - it is said that even nowadays more Poles might be living outside than in the country, spread all over the world. Below’s a map showing the modern distribution of Polish Diaspora based on official numbers [bigger/source]:

Hope it cleared things up a bit and isn’t too complicated. I know it might look like a lot, but it’s just a collection of facts and I feel like I haven’t even touched on half of the factors I should’ve written about. Let me know if you’re interested to know anything more about a particular point from above.