Google doodle to honor Polish painter & designer Zofia Stryjeńska on her 130th birthday
Happy Birthday, Zofia Stryjeńska!
Today's Doodle celebrates the 130th birthday of a Polish painter, graphic designer, illustrator, and stage designer Zofia Stryjeńska, who is widely regarded as one of the most significant Polish art deco artists of the early 1900s.
Today's artwork is illustrated by Poland-based guest artist Dixie Leota. Zofia Stryjeńska's bold and adventurous work mirrors her personality as an uncompromising heroine of creativity and artistic expression.
Zofia Stryjeńska was born on this day in 1891 in Kraków, Poland. She was the oldest of six children of Franciszek Lubański and Zofia Stryjeńska began painting caricatures of her father's customers in his glove shop, developing a talent that became her life's passion. As a child, she often drew and painted. She first attended a craft school, then a teacher's seminary, and until 1909 Leonard Stroynowski's private art school.
In 1909 she started to study painting at the Maria Niedzielska fine art school for women. She graduated in 1911 with honors for painting and applied art. 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."
But gender barriers stood in the way of her artistic pursuits; barriers she was determined to break. On October 1, 1911, she was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich where only 40 of around 200 applicants were taken. She used the name of her brother, Tadeusz Grzymala Lubański, and dressed like a boy because, at the time, the academy did not accept women. Stryjeńska cut her hair and attended the university disguised as a man. But after a year in Munich, the pressure of keeping her identity hidden pushed her to return home to Kraków.
Inspired by the history of her national identity, Stryjeńska began her career at 21 with a series of paintings based on Polish folklore. Her first artistic success came in 1912 when the Kraków Society of Friends of Fine Art included 18 of her watercolor illustrations of Polish Fables in its exhibition.
This modern take on a traditional art form became her hallmark; a style that gained popularity as Poland had recently regained its independence in 1911 and its citizens cherished their historical iconography. Her 1917 series of surrealist lithographs entitled "Bożki Słowiańskie" ("Slavic Idols") saw massive success and was printed on everything from postcards to chocolates.
An expert of folk costumes and Slavic mythology, Stryjeńska expressed the love of her heritage in work that ranged from wooden chess pieces to ballet costumes, like those designed for the 1930s Polish ballet "Harnasie."