Young Poland  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Young Poland (Polish Młoda Polska) is a modernist period in Polish art, literature and music, covering roughly the years between 1890 and 1918. It was an effect of strong opposition to the ideas of positivism and promoted the trends of decadence, neo-romanticism, symbolism, impressionism or art nouveau.



The term was coined after a manifesto by Artur Górski, published in the Kraków-based Życie newspaper in 1898 and was soon accepted in all parts of the partitioned Poland, as an analogy to other similar terms as Young Germany, Young Belgium, Young Scandinavia and so on.


The Polish literature of the period was based on two main concepts. The earlier was a typically modernist disillusionment with bourgeoisie, its ways of life and its culture. Artists following this concept also believed in decadence, end of all culture, conflict between humans and their civilisation and the concept of art as the highest value (art for art's sake). Authors following this concept include Kazimierz Przerwa Tetmajer, Stanisław Przybyszewski, Wacław Rolicz-Lieder and Jan Kasprowicz.

The later concept was a continuation of romanticism and as such is often called neo-romanticism. The group of writers following this idea was less organised and the writers themselves covered a large variety of topics in their writings: from sense of mission of a Pole in Stefan Żeromski's prose, through social inequality described by Władysław Reymont and Gabriela Zapolska to criticism of Polish society and Polish history by Stanisław Wyspiański.

Other writers of this period are:


In music, the term Young Poland is applied to an informal group of composers that include Karol Szymanowski, Grzegorz Fitelberg, Ludomir Różycki and possibly Mieczysław Karłowicz. The group was under strong influence of neoromanticism in music and especially of foreign composers such as Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner and those belonging to The Mighty Handful group e.g. Modest Musorgski, Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Visual Arts

In the period of Young Poland there were no overwhelming trends in Polish art. The painters and sculptors tried to continue the romantic traditions with new ways of expression popularised abroad. The most influential trend was art nouveau, although Polish artists started to seek also some form of a national style (see also: styl zakopiański). Both sculpture and painting were also heavily influenced by all forms of symbolism.

Prominent artists

See also

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