Poster and graphic artist, painter, drawer, TV and theatre set-designer. One of the biggest art collectors in Poland. He studied at Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and Warsaw. Starowieyski became popular in the 60's thanks to a series of theatre and movie posters; he is recognized now as the one of most significant artists of the Polish School of Poster Art. Starowieyski created a so called Theatre of Drawing, where the pictures from the real world are modified by his conclusive imagination. His works are characterized by a strong fascination for the Rubens's renderings of the female nude, sensuality and reflecting on the meaning of life and death. In his Theatre of Drawing he connected two arts form in one, “performance of all types of arts”. His works are replete with atmosphere of old masters of the17th century, full of grotesque, exaggeration and humour.
He comes from a noble family, a sealing coat of arms Biberstein. During the war, his family moved to Krakow. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow in the studio of Wojciech Weiss and Adam Marczyński (1949-1952) and then in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the studio of Michael Perennials, where he graduated in 1955.
For a number of years he alternately in the studios in Warsaw and Paris. He has made about 300 posters and is considered one of the most prominent representatives of the "Polish School of Posters".
Kosciuszko Foundation Scholarship lecturer at the Berliner Hochschule der Künste (1980) and the European Academy of Arts in Warsaw (since 1993).
The artist is the hero of the film by Andrzej Papuzinski Bull glory. He also performed as an actor in films, Andrzej Wajda (Danton) and Krzysztof Zanussi (crystal structure). He has participated in over 200 exhibitions in Poland and abroad, among other in: Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, USA, Italy. It is the first Pole, who had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1985).
He has directed over 20 productions Drawing Theatre in different places of the world. The most successful considered Theatres in Venice and Paris, Spoleto, Seville and Chicago. Prepared theatrical productions, among others, Ubu the King to the Grand Theatre in Lodz.
Most important awards: the Grand Prix at the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Sao Paulo (1973), Grand Prix for a film poster for the Cannes Film Festival (1974), the Grand Prix at the International Festival in Paris (1975), Annual Key Award of the newspaper "The Hollywood Reporter" (1975 / 6) Awards at the International Poster Biennale in Warsaw and at the International Film Festival in Chicago (1979-1982). In 1994 he was awarded the "Golden Mask" for his work Ubu Rex by Krzysztof Penderecki at the Grand Theatre in Lodz, and in 2004 the Minister of Culture in the fine arts.
Starowieyski gifted baroque imagination, highly adept at combining sensuous forms of intellectual messages, shocking and unexpected effects surrealist visions. His work with sophisticated ornamentation is filled with unique metaphors and their own system of signs derived from the beloved baroque aesthetics. His paintings reveal a fascination with the sensuous female body with "Rubensian" shapes and reflections on the transience and death. In his paintings combines the real world with creations "unrestrained" even the imagination of the artist, and the whole works, imbued with the grotesque and humorous, ostensibly refers to the old seventeenth-century masters. Starowieyski is a master of drawing.
"Ever since I can remember, my tongue was always drawing. Best expresses my thoughts."
Artist amazes form of calligraphic drawing precise lines by which builds strange surrealist visions, combining the principle of grotesque and metaphorical meanings entirely separate, unrelated motifs. His penchant for calligraphy lovers of fantasy, penchant for the macabre and interest in anatomy, as well as the type of chiaroscuro, modeling and dynamics of the composition grows roots in the tradition of the seventeenth century.
Starowieyski often provides his work German styled as the seventeenth-century calligraphy comments and titles of works made decorative letter are an integral part of the work. Since 1970, the artist antydatuje his work 300 years back - arguing that it reflects his state of mind and spirit. The painter maintains that portrayed the spirit of living in the seventeenth century ancestor.
"I live in those times, and the rest - what later happened, until the apparent today - is only a matter of imagination" - explained in an interview.
He likes to shock the audience with his art and his behavior, what his role is certainly Salvador Dali.
"The viewer expects the artist to his scandalized, offended and shocked" - he once said.
His popularity started in the 60s series of theater and film posters. The artist was a medium to the level of spontaneous work of art. In October 1956 he made work entitled Crying dove of peace, in a gesture of solidarity with the uprising in Hungary. In the 50s Starowieyski designed movie posters in the style of the revolutionary woodcuts. It was then works such as The Forty-first, Mother, We from Kronstadt and pedagogical poem. Later he changed his style several times, experimenting with painting and drawing techniques to convey the atmosphere of the work of a film. An important period in his work was a collaboration with Dramatic Theatre , for which he designed, among others, joined the Angel of Babylon, lover. Slight pain, or Red magic. In 1962 he established important and breakthrough work, Frank V., in which the corner of nineteenth-century bank extending from the bottom of the skull. For the first time revealed in the works of the baroque Starowieyski, fascination with the inevitable passage of time, and the surreal combination of unrelated items. A little later appeared fanciful transformations ornamental motifs. Favorite accessories and props include a the female body, bones, skull (Mother Courage by Brecht, End of Europe Wisniewski ), bird's head (Alban Berg's Lulu, Strindberg's Dance of Death), snakes, magic eye, and all the artist subjected to extraordinary metamorphosis of shapes. Posters Starowieyski prey and expressive, reminiscent of baroque mysteries, as in the case of customs savagery to Leśmian . In such posters as Musica per archi or Golem merged bodies and landscapes in the images emanating mysterious mood. Posters Starowieyski not illustrate or advertise a film or a play, but spontaneous works of art. The artist himself describes it as "Francis Starowieyski presents" or "comments to ...". The posters from the 80s ornamentation has a clear reduction, and the body has ceased to be treated as an object, appeared while the symbolism and biological vitality.
Starowieyski created a unique theater Drawing, which arose for the first time in 1980 during my stay in Świdwin. This monumental art form born out of the case, but also the need to speak in public. Its direct inspiration Drawing a picture of Courbet's The Painter's Studio. Each of public drawing lasted a few days and according to certain rules, such as starting the composition of its removal from a central point, or a circle without a compass, working with models, talking with the audience. Every time an artist puts three stretchers (3 x 6 m) in a square. The stretchers appear tangled human and animal bodies, resembling baroque phantasmagoria deformation. Starowieyski draws on a grand scale, dynamically, with both hands, and also with anatomical precision. The artist himself says that during these sessions the most important for him is to evoke a mood. Created by the select audience that staying with the creator of the canvasses encourages it to work.
"I want to create a world independent of our concepts of humanity - says the artist." (...) I want to get the third dimension of the spiritual mood of my paintings."
His "theaters drawing" is a unique spectacle, a media phenomenon, whose artistic value is not only the act of creation and the resulting work of art, but also the accompanying visual and - thanks to the erudition of the author - literary. The largest picture drawn by him was made at the Venice Biennale (1986), had a 24 x 4 meters and was entitled Pilgrimage to the holy half-horse.
In 1998 a new building Polish Delegation to the European Union in Brussels image appeared Starowieyski Divina Polonia, which caused great controversy. The artist presented his own vision for the Polish in Europe and naked fat woman symbolizing Poland is drawn to the bull by HARD Europe.
At the beginning of June 2006 in Poznan Starowieyski started drawing an allegory of the Poznań June 1956. This is another work from the series Drawing Theatre. In the center of the 32 square meters faced figure of Nike, the goddess of war. Around the artist drew dozens of faces symbolizing the victims of the Poznań June. On the opposite side was a big red star, "an allegory of the red scourge of communism", and near the artist drew the faces of several communist secret police and the army. Ready work has been transferred to the Board of Wielkopolska Region "Solidarity" and went to the museum Plant them. H. Cegielski.
In 2006, the Poster Museum in Wilanów held a retrospective of Francis Starowieyski, titled "Absolut Starowieyski". Gathered on the 220 works selected by the artist himself. The interesting thing was undoubtedly a poster-drawing hare in pursuit of a Volkswagen, which the artist made at the age of eight years, showing the car advertising the brand. In addition to the posters Starowieyski also showed sketches and drawings and antique items, such as decorative square several centuries.