Jerzy Nowosielski

BORN 1923, Kraków - 2011, Kraków

The foundation of Nowosielski’s paintings is a profound and personal reflection on the Eastern Orthodox icon. For Nowosielski, the Orthodox doctrine is not just an artistic inspiration from which he draws the traditional technique, a carefully weighed composition, a pared-down style – but also a subject of study. The artist has devoted numerous essays to the subject, published in the collections Inność prawosławia [The otherness of Eastern Orthodoxy] and Prorok na skale [Prophet on the rock]. Nowosielski is the author of numerous polychromies in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches. He graduated from the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts. He was a member of the 2nd Cracow Group (1942-1957 operating as Grupa Młodych Plastyków), the leading post-war artist collective, alongside such artists as Tadeusz Kantor, Mieczysław Porębski, Tadeusz Brzozowski, Jerzy Tchórzewski, as well as the members of the 1st Cracow Group: Jonasz Stern and Maria Jarema. He has received the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1998), the St. Mary Magdalene Medal, the highest distinction of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Poland (1985), and an honorary degree from the Jagiellonian University. In 1996, the artist and his wife founded the Nowosielski Foundation, which supports young artists.

untitled (women in red), sign. E/A
This image, entitled Sharing Creative Works, by Creative Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Jerzy Nowosielski

untitled (women in red), sign. E/A

1995 / serigraphy, paper / 98 x 68,5 cm / no. 0007 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 1/ 3 Wróć
Description

Jerzy Nowosielski’s painting is synthetic, a search for a way to capture a perception of the individual, art, harmony, and beauty, in a single composition. Sometimes, the strive to achieve a visual totality goes so far that a figural representation nears abstraction. This is precisely how the artist has represented female figures in his serigraphic series. The slender figures, reduced to contours, have frozen in studied poses, their faces left unseen. The artist has employed a uniform colour range, illuminating them with light reflections, and a zonal composition. These are characteristic features of Nowosielski’s style, an artist strongly inspired by the Byzantine icon tradition and European sacral art.

untitled (women in blue), sign.4/XV
This image, entitled Sharing Creative Works, by Creative Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Jerzy Nowosielski

untitled (women in blue), sign.4/XV

1995 / serigraphy, paper / 98 x 68,5 cm / no. 0008 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 2/ 3 Wróć
Description

Jerzy Nowosielski’s painting is synthetic, a search for a way to capture a perception of the individual, art, harmony, and beauty, in a single composition. Sometimes, the strive to achieve a visual totality goes so far that a figural representation nears abstraction. This is precisely how the artist has represented female figures in his serigraphic series. The slender figures, reduced to contours, have frozen in studied poses, their faces left unseen. The artist has employed a uniform colour range, illuminating them with light reflections, and a zonal composition. These are characteristic features of Nowosielski’s style, an artist strongly inspired by the Byzantine icon tradition and European sacral art.

untitled (blue abstraction), sign. XIII/XV
This image, entitled Sharing Creative Works, by Creative Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Jerzy Nowosielski

untitled (blue abstraction), sign. XIII/XV

1997 / serigraphy, paper / 89x74 cm / no. 0009 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 3/ 3 Wróć
Description

“I was interested in geometric abstraction on the one hand, and in certain elements of figuration on the other (…), the icon has made me realise that the two artistic trends  aren’t mutually exclusive, quite the contrary, they can coexist in every good painting. There is no good realistic picture without an inner, organising, abstract principle,” the artist said in an interview. The artist explains the metaphysical dimension of his work, saying: “For me, abstract painting is simply a way in which our consciousness reacts to the extrasensory consciousness. A consciousness we are permeated with. Abstract paintings are simply images adequate to the reality of the subtle entities that influence our consciousness, our sensitivity. Of course, these images are not identical with and do not illustrate the reality of those subtle entities.”

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