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Art

Such well-known poets as Jan Kasprowicz or Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, active in Galicia, stemmed from the Young Poland movement. Music compositions, inspired by new trends in the arts, by Mieczysław Karłowicz or Karol Szymanowski, were also created here. Soon, the true revolution in the theatre was brought on by the unique dramas, including the famous "Wedding", by Stanisław Wyspiański, who resided in Kraków until his death in 1907.

The most famous theatre premieres attracted crowds to the auditorium of the magnificent Juliusz Słowacki Municipal Theatre. The mighty building at Świętego Ducha Square, erected in the 1890s, is not only a testimony to the city’s affluence but also a fabulous historic monument of the period. But Kraków residents attended not only the Słowacki Theatre; who knows, if the popular vaudevilles, such as the famous "Queen of the Suburbs" performed for years after its premiere in 1898, did not attract larger audiences. At first, the "Queen of the Suburbs" was performed in a small theatre in the park, and then in the larger People’s Theatre at Krowoderska Street.

Polish Art Nouveau also emerged and developed in Kraków in the early 20th century. It quickly gained followers and drove away the hitherto dominating eclectic historicism. One of its main creators was Stanisław Wyspiański. This versatile artist was also a painter, stained-glass designer, architect and interior designer. The probably best internationally known Polish Art Nouveau artist, Józef Mehoffer, creator of the famous stained-glass windows (e.g. in the Cathedral in the Swiss Fribourg), also worked in the capital of Małopolska.
Also created at that time were the unique works by Stanisław Witkiewicz, founder of the so-called Zakopane style, inspired by the architecture and ornaments of the Podhale highlanders (Witkiewicz wanted to create the Polish national style in architecture). Buildings designed in the Zakopane style were erected not only in Zakopane, but also in other towns, such as Nałęczów, Poręba Wielka, and Wisła. 

Sketch of the Town Hall in Zakopane, 1899, St. Witkiewicz, arch Tatra Museum

Witkiewicz was not the only artist active in Zakopane at the time. This small town at the foot of the Tatra Mountains became one of the most important centres of Polish culture at the beginning of the 20th century! The fantastic Tatra landscape attracted painters, poets, actors and writers, and its austere beauty ideally fitted the Young Poland artistic concepts, which is best illustrated by the excellent Tatra short stories by Witkiewicz, poetry by Franciszek Nowicki or the great glorifier of the Tatras, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, and unique paintings by Leon Wyczółkowski. The artists were fascinated not only by the Tatra Mountains but also by the original culture of the Podhale highlanders. The highlander was almost perceived as an archetype of the Pole, and Podhale was regarded as the mainstay of the authentic Polish folk culture.
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