Zygmunt Radnicki z uczennicami Gimnazjum Sacré Coeur, Lwów, po 1930.

Radnicki – educator

The exhibition of Zygmunt Radnicki’s works is divided into two parts – at the National Museum in Krakow and at the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow.

The display at the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, titled Student and Teacher is dedicated to Radnicki as a student and educator. He worked as a drawing teacher and lecturer – before the War in Lviv secondary schools and at the University of Lviv, during the war in Nowy Sącz, and after the war in Girls’ Vocational School in Krakow. In 1949, he started his work as a professor (and rector) of the Academy of Fine Arts, from which he retired in 1965.

The artist was interested in the theory of teaching, which – among other things – resulted in the development of a chapter devoted to teaching drawing for the Education Encyclopaedia (Warsaw, 1936).
His educational interests were reflected in numerous notes and texts, a selection of which is displayed at the exhibition and some of which we are sharing here.


You need courage to botch things up. While painting, you need to express your thoughts and feelings with clarity and simplicity, but also depth. Paint from memory a lot. Paint from nature really well, and then paint the same thing from memory, and then the other way round.
Zygmunt Radnicki, manuscript, 1926

You can’t paint when you’re tired. You can’t paint things that are not artistically interesting, which do not stimulate painting, which you don’t feel should be painted. You can’t force work – it’s better to start a new project than to correct something that started off poorly.
Zygmunt Radnicki, manuscript, 19 May 1926

Discipline and self-awareness will let you notice the point when – in moments of fatigue – you should put off work in order to restart it after a longer break. That’s how you can spend weeks or longer on one painting, starting work anew with refreshed imagination and concentration. Such painting does not take on qualities of fatigue, it’s always fresh.
Zygmunt Radnicki, manuscript, 1961

It’s difficult to improve a painting which started off poorly. Initial mistakes often elicit subsequent errors, because of the increasing complexity of our feelings and thoughts, caused by the contrast between the old and new concepts.
Zygmunt Radnicki, manuscript, January 1961

You can find out more about Zygmunt Radnicki, also in his role as a teacher, in a book titled Zygmunt Radnicki, authored by the exhibition curator – Światosław Lenartowicz and published by the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and the National Museum in Krakow.

Światosław Lenartowicz – curator of the exhibition titled Zygmunt Radnicki (1894-1969), expert in Polish art from the interwar period. Author of exhibitions and publications dedicated to the art of Jacek Malczewski, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Zbigniew Pronaszko, Emil Krcha and Zofia Stryjeńska.

Photo: Zygmunt Radnicki with his students from the Sacré Coeur secondary school, Lviv, after 1930

The exhibition titled Zygmunt Radnicki. Student and Teacher at the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow was open until 29 April 2015.

The exhibition titled Zygmunt Radnicki (1894-1969) at the National Museum in Krakow will be open until 2 August 2015.


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