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.
Zoonims provide information in the fields of linguistics, history, archeology, and ethnography. However, they are rarely examined comprehensively. This article investigates the words used for three most popular domesticated animals in the Slavic world, namely the horse, the dog and the cat. It studies these words, focusing on the history of animal husbandry in the Slavic countries and their contemporary geography.
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.
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.
Michal Walicki (1904–1966) studied Art History at the University of Warsaw (1924–1929), where he received his doctorate for his dissertation on the murals in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity in the Castle of Lublin (1418), under the guidance of Prof. Zygmunt Batowski. He worked in the Department of Polish Architecture at the Warsaw Technical University, at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts (later the Academy of Fine Arts), at the National Museum, and the Art History Institute of the Warsaw University. In 1933, his earned his habilitation for his thesis on the stylistic development of panel painting in fifteenth–century Poland. During World War II, he participated in the resistance movement; he was arrested (in 1949) and put in prison. After his release (in 1953), he combined work at the Institute of History of Art at the Warsaw University and the State Institute of Art (later the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences). Michał Walicki’s academic activities encompassed a surprisingly wide spectrum of subjects, though his particular field of interest was painting. He had a ‘positivist’ temperament, concerned with a painstaking search for new works of art and the collecting of material, and above all with cataloguing and sharing the collections. In texts written before the war he built a firm foundation for the study of panel painting in fifteenth–century Poland, although his narrow national perspective is now certainly difficult to accept. After his employment at the National Museum in Warsaw, he changed his profile of research, focusing on modern painting (particularly Dutch), but also on the best understood popularization and education through art. After the war, he initiated and coordinated the work on a series of syntheses, setting new standards of quality in Polish academic studies. He belonged to the narrow circle of great humanists who could write about art with passion, in a manner accessible and understandable to all. He developed his own, easily recognizable style, impressionistic in character, well–suited to aesthetic experiences. As an outstanding university lecturer and museum official, he became one of the founders and most important authorities of the Warsaw school of art history, and as a personality had a profound impact on students and friends led by Jan Białostocki. Above all, he instilled in them a broad outlook on matters of art and the importance of publishing in foreign languages.
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.
The present writer comments upon Wiesław Boryś’s article on etymological research in Poland. (1) The present writer claims that in all languages the form of words depends on three main factors, not only on regular sound change and analogical development, but also on what he calls irregular sound change due to frequency. Word groups, words and morphemes which are very frequently used sometimes show irregular reductions, e. g. Polish wasza miłość> waść, podobno> ponoor *(děl)-ajetь> (dział)-a. The present writer reproaches Boryś that he does not mention irregular sound change due to frequency although in Polish texts this development sometimes occurs in more than 60% of cases. (2) The present writer criticizes the laryngeal theory. (3) The present writer criticizes Kuryłowicz’s opinion according to which the Indo-European apophony e/o was of analogical origin. (4) The present writer draws attention to an important difference between his theory of irregular sound change due to frequency, which concerns all languages of the world, and Winter’s “law” which deals only with one language, namely Balto-Slav.
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.