Kajetan Stefanowicz

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Basic information
Kajetan Stefanowicz
Date of creation
oil painting
cardboard oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
104.5 x 74.5
Information about author
Kajetan Stefanowicz
Artist's lifetime
Kajetan Stefanowicz is one of the brightest representatives of the Lviv secession, a graphic artist, decorator, and illustrator. His work is characterized by oriental motifs, flatness, and complex symbolism of images. The artist was born on July 12, 1886 in the city of Drohobych in the family of Armenian intellectuals. He had his first painting lesson with his father, the artist Antoni Stefanowicz, then he studied architecture under the supervision of the architect and painter Edgar Kováts (1849–1912) at the Lviv Polytechnic National University. Between 1906 and 1908, he studied under the supervision of Jozef Pankiewicz and Jozef Mehoffer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, and in 1908–1910, he studied under the supervision of Otto Seitz at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1911, he received a scholarship from the Sapiegos Foundation and continued his studies at the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (National School of Fine Arts) in Paris. In 1914, with the beginning of World War I, he joined the ranks of the Eastern Legion (Legion Wschodni) in Lviv and began his military service. In 1920, he remained in the officers reserve and worked as a training officer for the Military Ministry. With the beginning of the Polish-Soviet war, he returned to his regiment at the front. He was killed by a sniper bullet on September 20, 1920 near Rahachow (now Gomel region, Belarus). The artist was buried at the Cemetery of the Defenders of Lviv on the territory of the Lychakiv Cemetery.
Object description
At the beginning of the twentieth century, art critics described Kajetan Stefanowicz as a brilliant connoisseur and admirer of Eastern culture. Unfortunately, the artist's own dream, a trip to India, never came true because of the events of World War I. In the presented work, one can see skillfully combined aesthetics and spiritual practices of the East. The central female figure is depicted as withdrawn and meditating; on both sides, she is symmetrically framed by decorative ribbons of traditional Buddhist smokes, which rise above the stylized flowers (lotuses?). The symmetrical composition reflects the ideas of balance and harmony that are key to Eastern philosophy. Moreover, the smoothness of forms, complex movement of lines, as well as decorativeness and flatness of the image refer to the Secession style.