Google Doodle honors Polish painter and designer Zofia Stryjeńska on 130th birthday

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Happy birthday, Zofia Stryjeńska!

Today’s Doodle celebrates the 130th birthday of Polish painter, graphic designer, illustrator and set designer Zofia Stryjeńska, who is widely regarded as one of the most important Polish art deco artists of the early 1900s.

Today’s work is illustrated by Polish guest artist Dixie Leota. Zofia Stryjeńska’s daring and adventurous work reflects her uncompromising heroine personality of creativity and artistic expression.

Zofia Stryjeńska was born on this day in 1891 in Krakow, Poland. She was the oldest of Franciszek Lubański’s six children, and Zofia Stryjeńska began painting caricatures of her father’s customers in his glove shop, developing a talent that became the passion of her life. As a child, she often drew and painted. She first attended a craft school, then a teachers’ seminary and until 1909 the private art school of Leonard Stroynowski.

In 1909, she began to study painting at the Maria Niedzielska School of Fine Arts for Women. She graduated in 1911 with honors in painting and applied arts. In 1910, she joined her father on a trip to Italy via Austria-Hungary, during which they visited galleries and museums in Vienna and Venice. As a young girl, she worked for magazines such as “Role” and “Voice of the People”.

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But the barriers between the sexes prevented his artistic activities; the barriers she was determined to break down. On October 1, 1911, she was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where only 40 of around 200 applicants were taken. She used her brother’s name, Tadeusz Grzymala Lubański, and dressed like a boy because at the time the academy did not accept women. Stryjeńska cut her hair and attended university disguised as a man. But after a year in Munich, the pressure to keep her identity hidden pushed her to return home to Krakow.

Inspired by the story of her national identity, Stryjeńska began her career at age 21 with a series of paintings inspired by Polish folklore. His first artistic success came in 1912 when the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts in Krakow included 18 of his watercolor illustrations of Polish fables in their exhibition.

This modern approach to a traditional art form has become his hallmark; a style that gained popularity when Poland recently regained its independence in 1911 and its citizens cherished their historic iconography. His 1917 series of surrealist lithographs titled “Bożki Słowiańskie” (“Slavic Idols”) was a huge success and was printed on everything from postcards to chocolates.

An expert in folk costumes and Slavic mythology, Stryjeńska expressed love for her heritage in works ranging from wooden chess pieces to ballet costumes, such as those designed for the 1930s Polish ballet “Harnasia”.

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