Zygmunt Krasiński

Count Zygmunt Krasiński (Polish pronunciation: [ˈzɨɡmunt kraˈɕiɲskʲi]; 19 February 1812 – 23 February 1859), a Polish nobleman traditionally ranked with Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki as one of Poland's Three National Bards — the trio of great Romantic poets who influenced national consciousness during the period of Poland's political bondage. He was the most famous member of the aristocratic Krasiński family.

Zygmunt Krasiński
Zygmunt Krasiński portrait

Portrait by Ary Scheffer
Full name
Napoleon Stanisław Adam Feliks Zygmunt Krasiński
Born19 February 1812
Paris, France
Died23 February 1859 (aged 47)
Paris, France
Noble familyKrasiński
Spouse(s)Eliza Branicka
with Eliza Branicka:
Władysław Krasiński
Zygmunt Jerzy Krasinski
Maria Beatrix Krasińska
Marya Krasińska
Eliza Krasinska
FatherWincenty Krasiński
MotherMaria Urszula Radziwiłł

Youth and early studies

Napoleon Stanisław Adam Feliks Zygmunt Krasiński was born in Paris on February 19, 1812 to Count Wincenty Krasiński, a Polish aristocrat and military commander, and Countess Maria Urszula Radziwiłł. Spending his childhood in the town of Chantilly, where Napoleon Bonaparte's Guard Regiment stationed, in 1814 he returned with his parents to Warsaw, which then was part of the Duchy of Warsaw ruled by Frederick Augustus I of Saxony and was a client state of the First French Empire. Following their arrival, Krasiński's father, who was highly caring and well taught, employed many renowned tutors and teachers, including Baroness Helena de la Haye, Józef Korzeniowski and Piotr Chlebowski, to take care of Zygmunt's education. On April 12, 1822 Krasiński's mother suddenly died due to tuberculosis and henceforth he was granted the supreme authority and control of the family besides his father, who watched carefully over his education and instilled in him the belief of chivalry and honor. Zygmunt's fascination with the personality of his father; the hopes and ambitions of free Poland, all led to excessive, burdensome and mutual idealization. They both shared a strong passion of a free nation, an independent country and therefore were strongly anti-Russian and in despise of the Tsar of the Russian Empire. This strong feeling and emotion towards the eastern neighbour soon turned into hatred, which possibly impacted in Wincenty's contribution to the Napoleonic Wars and taking part in Napoleon's unsuccessful invasion of Russia. After the war, the family spent most summer vacations and holidays in the privately owned estates in the region of Podolia or in Opinogóra.[1]

In September 1826 he entered a local Warsaw Lyceum and received his high school diploma in the Autumn of 1827. Krasiński began his professional studies at the Faculty of Law and administration at the Imperial University of Warsaw, however, the incident on March 14, 1829, during which Leon Łubieński accused Krasiński of lacking solidarity with other students and refraining from participating in the patriotic manifestation, and subsequently refusing to attend any of the classes during the funeral of the President of the Sejm and Senator Piotr Beliński, interfered with his education at the complex. As a result of this event, in late March 1829, Krasiński was expelled from the university. From late May to mid-June he took first foreign trip to Vienna, under the care of his father, who previously travelled to Austria. In October 1829 he left the country to study abroad. Through Prague, Plzen, Regensburg, Zurich and Bern, Krasiński arrived in Geneva on November 3,[2] where he met with Adam Mickiewicz, a principal figure in Polish Romanticism and widely regarded as Poland's greatest poet.

Literary career

The stay in Geneva was extremely important for shaping the personality of the young writer. His meeting and in-depth conversation with Mickiewicz, who dazzled him to the extent of his knowledge, proved to be vital in creating and shaping Krasiński's literary techniques, however, he was sociopolitically more conservative than the other poets. He published much of his work anonymously. The blossoming friendship with Mickiewicz undoubtedly accelerated the intellectual mind of the young poet. From August 14 to September 1 of 1830 they travelled together to the High Alps; Krasiński described this event in his diary and highlighted the trip in a letter to his father dating from September 5, 1830. Soon after his arrival to Geneva, in the beginning of November, 1829, he also met Henry Reeve, the son of a doctor, who at the time was in Switzerland for philosophical and literary studies. The young Englishman, noble and extremely talented in composing excessive romantic poetry, greatly inspired Zygmunt Krasiński. They soon became close friends and often wrote letters in which they stated and extensively highlighted their love for classical and romantic literature and prose.

At the beginning of 1830, Krasiński developed feelings for Henrietta Willan, the daughter of a wealthy English merchant and tradesman. This highly romantic relationship, strictly not associated with the thought of marriage, provided new experiences and proved to be an inspiration for the future works composed by Krasiński.

Zygmunt Krasiński kept a diary and wrote many letters indicating that he suffered morally over the failed November Uprising of 1831 against the Russian Empire, and he gave himself in to Tsar Nicholas's Court in ill health.[3] He was released and went to Vienna.[3]

He is best known for his philosophical Messianist ideas and tragic dramas.[2] Krasiński's writings from the 1830s are full of frenetic plots, strongly influenced by gothic fiction and Dante Alighieri. As the poet's most famous works show, he is most interested in the extreme face of human existence such as hate, desperation or solitude. His drama, Nie-boska Komedia (The Un-Divine Comedy, 1833), portrays the tragedy of an old-world aristocracy defeated by a new order of communism and democracy, and is a poetic prophecy of class conflict and of Russia's October Revolution (see also Okopy Świętej Trójcy). The work was paraphrased and expanded by Edward Robert, Lord Lytton, as "Orval, the Fool of Time" (1869).[3] Krasiński's Agaj-Han (1834) is also well known in Poland. It is a historical-poetic novel, though unlike the historical novels which were popular in Poland, such as those of Walter Scott. Agaj-Han is filled by macabre motives, death and fratricide. Upon human life still exists tragic fate. His drama, Irydion (1836), deals, in the context of Christian ethics, with the struggle of a subjugated nation against its oppressor.

His muse for many years was Countess Delfina Potocka (likewise a friend of Frédéric Chopin), with whom he conducted a romance from 1838 to 1846. Later she continued to be his friend, and he wrote for her "Sen Cezary" ("Cezara's Dream", published 1840) and "Przedświt" ("Predawn", published 1843). "Predawn" is his best-known poem, a nationalist poem which sees the Partitions of Poland as retribution for sins committed, and which predicts Poland's reappearance, as a world leader.[2] Chopin set a poem by Krasiński as a song (see "Polish songs by Frédéric Chopin").

On 26 July 1843, Krasiński married Polish Countess Eliza Branicka (1820–76).

Later (1844–48) Krasiński wrote Psalmy Przyszłości (Psalms of the Future), in which he called for the Christian virtues of love and charity.


Coat of Arms of Krasiński family

Count Krasiński's family coat-of-arms

Złoty Potok dwór Krasińskich portret Zygmunta Krasińskiego 14.05.2011 p

Krasiński, aged 7, by Louis René Letronne, 1819

Delfina Potocka 4

Krasiński's muse, Delfina Potocka, by Moritz Michael Daffinger, 1839

Scheffer Zygmunt Krasiński

Portrait of Krasiński, by Ary Scheffer, 1850

Winterhalter Eliza Krasińska with children

Krasiński's wife Eliza, née Branicka, and children, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1853

Portret pośmiertny Zygmunta Krasińskiego

Posthumous photograph of Zygmunt Krasiński by Nadar

Krypta krasinskich

Church crypt in Opinogóra Górna, Poland: graves of Krasiński's family and parents


  1. ^ http://ipsb.nina.gov.pl/index.php/a/napoleon-stanislaw-adam-feliks-zygmunt-krasinski#
  2. ^ a b c "Zygmunt Krasiński". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg A. Tarnowski (1913). "Sigismund Krasinski" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

External links

Always and Everywhere

”Always and Everywhere” is a song by the English composer Edward Elgar with words translated from the Polish of Zygmunt Krasiński by Frank H. Fortey. It was composed and published in 1901.

The repeated ”Always and Everywhere” would have reminded the composer that the initials were those of his wife (Alice) and himself.

Czapski Palace

The Czapski Palace (Polish: Pałac Czapskich, IPA: [ˈpawat͡s ˈt͡ʂapskʲix]), also called the Krasiński, Sieniawski or Raczyński Palace, is a substantial palace in the center of Warsaw, at 5 Krakowskie Przedmieście. It is considered one of the most distinguished examples of rococo architecture in Poland's capital.

The building, just across the street from the University of Warsaw, has been home to famous persons including artist Zygmunt Vogel, composer Frédéric Chopin, and poets Zygmunt Krasiński and Cyprian Norwid.

The palace now houses the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

Delfina Potocka

Delfina Potocka, née Komar (March 1807 – 2 April 1877), a Polish countess, was a friend and muse to Polish expatriate artists Frédéric Chopin and Zygmunt Krasiński. She was noted for her beauty, intellect and artistic gifts. In her youth she was a piano student of Chopin's.

Henryk Biegeleisen

Henryk Biegeleisen (1855–1934) was a Polish Jewish historian, literary critic, publisher, journalist, and ethnographer specializing in the history of Polish literature from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. His greatest accomplishment in the field of publishing included a series of books devoted to Romanticism in Poland. He prepared annotated editions of works of the Polish national bards: Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, and Zygmunt Krasiński.

Józef Kallenbach

Józef Henryk Kallenbach (24 November 1861 – 12 September 1929) - a Polish historian of literature.

Kallenbach graduated from the IV Public Male Gymnasium under the name Jan Długosz of old-classical type in Lwów. He was a professor of Polish literary history at Lwów University (since 1904) and Jagiellon University. He was also a professor at the universities in Freiburg, Warsaw, and Wilno, a member of the Akademia Umiejętności, and a director of the Czartoryski Museum and Library in Kraków.

He lectured about Polish pre-partitions literature and romanticism. During his work in Lwów he examined the works of Adam Mickiewicz, Zygmunt Krasiński, and Juliusz Słowacki. Some of his most notable works refer to the literature of Old Poland.

Although Kallenbach died in Kraków, he was buried on Lychakivskiy Cemetery, as he considered himself tied with Lwów.


Krasiński (sometimes spelled Krasinsky, if originally transliterated from Russian, Ukrainian or Belarusian) is a surname of Polish, or generally Slavic, origin.

In its feminine version, the Polish surname becomes Krasińska, and the Russian or Belarusian surname may become Krasinskaya.

Krasiński family

Krasiński (plural: Krasińscy) is the surname of a Polish noble family. Krasińska is the feminine form.

The name derives from the village of Krasne in Masovia.

The family dates from the 14th century. Its members were landowners and politically active in Masovia, Lithuania and Halychyna. The Krasiński family has produced officers, politicians (including voivodes of Poland, members of the Senate of Poland) and bishops. Probably its most celebrated member is the 19th-century poet, Zygmunt Krasiński, one of Poland's Three Bards.

Maria Beatrix Krasińska

Countess Maria Beatrix Krasińska (1850–1884) was a Polish noblewoman and landowner.

Maria was owner of the Złoty Potok estates. She was a daughter of one of Poland's greatest romantic poets Zygmunt Krasiński. She was married to Edward Aleksander Raczyński from April 9, 1877 (Warsaw).

Mikołaj Bazyli Potocki

Mikołaj Bazyli Potocki (ab. 1712 – 13 April 1782) was a Polish nobleman, starost of Kaniv, Bohuslav, benefactor of the Buchach townhall, Pochayiv Lavra, Dominican Church in Lviv, deputy to Sejm and owner of the Buchach castle.

Mikołaj's father, Stefan Aleksander Potocki, Governor of Bełz, with his second wife, Joanna Sieniawska, were the founders of Basilian monastery of the UGCC in Buchach. Mikołaj Hieronim Sieniawski was his grandfather.

Infamous for his many excesses and habits, he was immortalized in many Polish and Ukrainian stories and legends (especially those of the 19th century), notably in the Ukrainian ballad Bondarivna (about a cooper's daughter, whom he murdered when she refused to live with him). Zygmunt Krasiński, in his Nieboska Komedia, referred to him as a "governor, who shot women on the trees and baked Jews alive" ("Ów, starosta, baby strzelał po drzewach i Żydów piekł żywcem"). Near the end of his life, after the first partition of Poland, when many of his lands passed under Austrian rule, he was ordered to disband his private army. He then attempted to create an image of a pious and almost saintly person, moving to a monastery and sponsoring many religious buildings and organisations – nonetheless, even until his last years, he retained a harem.Buried in Ławra Poczajowska (Pochayiv Lavra).

Mikołaja Reja Street in Bydgoszcz

Mikołaja Reja Street is a historical street of downtown Bydgoszcz.

Monica Mary Gardner

Monica Mary Gardner (26 June 1873 – 16 April 1941) was an English writer on Poland and Polish writers and a translator of Polish literature.

Polish literature

Polish literature is the literary tradition of Poland. Most Polish literature has been written in the Polish language, though other languages used in Poland over the centuries have also contributed to Polish literary traditions, including Latin, Yiddish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German and Esperanto. According to Czesław Miłosz, for centuries Polish literature focused more on drama and poetic self-expression than on fiction (dominant in the English speaking world). The reasons were manifold, but mostly rested on historical circumstances of the nation. Polish writers typically have had a more profound range of choices to motivate them to write, including historical cataclysms of extraordinary violence that swept Poland (as the crossroads of Europe); but also, Poland's own collective incongruities demanding adequate reaction from the writing communities of any given period.The period of Polish Enlightenment began in the 1730s–40s and peaked in the second half of the 18th century. One of the leading Polish Enlightenment authors included Ignacy Krasicki (1735–1801) and Jan Potocki (1761–1815). Polish Romanticism, unlike Romanticism elsewhere in Europe, was largely a movement for independence against the foreign occupation. Early Polish Romantics were heavily influenced by other European Romantics. Notable writers included Adam Mickiewicz, Seweryn Goszczyński, Tomasz Zan and Maurycy Mochnacki. In the second period, many Polish Romantics worked abroad. Influential poets included Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński.

In the aftermath of the failed January Uprising, the new period of Polish Positivism began to advocate skepticism and the exercise of reason. The modernist period known as the Young Poland movement in visual arts, literature and music, came into being around 1890, and concluded with the Poland's return to independence (1918). Notable authors included Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Stanisław Przybyszewski and Jan Kasprowicz. The neo-Romantic era was exemplified by the works of Stefan Żeromski, Władysław Reymont, Gabriela Zapolska, and Stanisław Wyspiański. In 1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz received a Nobel Prize in literature for his patriotic Trilogy inspiring a new sense of hope. Literature of the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) encompasses a short, though exceptionally dynamic period in Polish literary consciousness. The socio-political reality has changed radically with Poland's return to independence. New avant-garde writers included Tuwim, Witkacy, Gombrowicz, Miłosz, Dąbrowska and Nałkowska.

In the years of German and Soviet occupation of Poland, all artistic life was dramatically compromised. Cultural institutions were lost. Out of 1,500 clandestine publications in Poland, about 200 were devoted to literature.

Much of Polish literature written during the Occupation of Poland appeared in print only after the conclusion of World War II, including books by Nałkowska, Rudnicki, Borowski and others. The situation began to worsen dramatically around 1949–1950 with the introduction of the Stalinist doctrine by minister Sokorski. Poland had three Nobel Prize winning authors in the later 20th century: Isaac Bashevis Singer (1978), Czesław Miłosz (1980) and Wisława Szymborska (1996).

Polish poetry

Polish poetry has a centuries-old history, similar to the Polish literature.

Stanisław Wyspiański

Stanisław Mateusz Ignacy Wyspiański (pronounced ['staˈɲiswaf vɨˈspjaɲskʲi]; 15 January 1869 – 28 November 1907) was a Polish playwright, painter and poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. A patriotic writer, he created a series of symbolic, national dramas within the artistic philosophy of the Young Poland Movement. Wyspiański was one of the most outstanding and multifaceted artists of his time in Poland under the foreign partitions. He successfully joined the trends of modernism with themes of the Polish folk tradition and Romantic history. Unofficially, he came to be known as the Fourth Polish Bard (in addition to the earlier Three Bards: Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, and Zygmunt Krasiński).

Three Bards

The Three Bards (Polish: trzej wieszcze, IPA: [ˈtʂɛj ˈvjɛʂt͡ʂɛ]) are the national poets of Polish Romantic literature. They lived and worked in exile during the partitions of Poland which ended the existence of the Polish sovereign state. Their tragic poetical plays and epic poetry written in the aftermath of the 1830 Uprising against the Russian rulership, revolved around the Polish struggle for independence from foreign powers.

Wieszcz means prophet or soothsayer in the Polish language. Therefore, the Three Bards were thought to not only voice Polish national sentiments but also to foresee the nation's future. Originally, the term Three Bards was used almost exclusively to denote Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), Juliusz Słowacki (1809–1849) and Zygmunt Krasiński (1812–1859).

In a rough classification of the members of this brilliant triad, Mickiewicz, the master of the epic and lyric, may be called the poet of the present; Krasiński, the prophet and seer, the poet through whom the future spoke; while Słowacki, the dramatist, was the panegyrist of the past.

Wincenty Krasiński

Count Wincenty Krasiński (5 April 1782 – 24 November 1858) was a Polish nobleman (szlachcic), political activist and military leader.

He was the father of Zygmunt Krasiński, one of Poland's Three Bards—Poland's greatest romantic poets.

Władysław Krasiński

Count Władysław Krasiński (1844–1873) was a Polish nobleman.

Władysław was the 3rd Ordynat of the Opinogóra estates. He was son of one of Poland's greatest romantic poets Zygmunt Krasiński.

He was married to Róża Potocka and had three children, Adam Krasiński, Elżbieta Maria Krasińska and Zofia Krasińska.

Zygmunt Krasiński Street in Bydgoszcz

Zygmunt Krasiński Street or Krasińskiego Street is an avenue of Bydgoszcz, in downtown district (Polish: Śródmieście).

Złoty Potok, Silesian Voivodeship

Złoty Potok [ˈzwɔtɨ ˈpɔtɔk] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Janów, within Częstochowa County, Silesian Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It lies approximately 2 kilometres (1 mi) south of Janów, 25 km (16 mi) south-east of Częstochowa, and 60 km (37 mi) north-east of the regional capital Katowice. The village has a population of 1,101.

The history of the village dates to at least the 12th century. In the 19th century a palace by Raczyński family, and a mansion of Krasiński family, were built here. In the Krasińscy mansion there is a museum dedicated to the Polish poet Zygmunt Krasiński.

The village church dates from the mid 13th century, is among the oldest in Poland.

The village is a popular destination for Polish tourists during the summer months, as it hosts major festivals such as the International Folk Festival and Lato Filmowe (Summer of Movies).

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