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ICONS / HERITAGE OF POLAND  (online since 2002)
Poland's national identity and values build on its history and cultural heritage.
Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543). Born in Torun, Poland, Copernicus studied mathematics, philosophy and astronomy in Krakow, liberal arts in Bologna, medicine in Padua, and law at the University of Ferrara.  He discovered that the sun is the centre of our solar system ("De revolutionibus orbium coelestium").  "Copernicus stopped the sun and moved the earth". Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), the national poet of Poland, born near Novogrodek, Lithuania.  His masterpiece:  the epic Pan Tadeusz (1834, Thaddeus). Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), born in Zelazowa Wola, Poland.  Chopin studied at the Warsaw Conservatory and settled later in Paris, where he lived with George Sand from 1838 to 1847.  Inspired by Polish traditional music, he wrote mainly for the piano, including 50 mazurkas, 19 noctures and 12 polonaises. Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), the novelist, born in Poland.  Sienkiewicz is perhaps best known for his book Quo Vadis? (1896), the story of Rome under Nero.  He received the Nobel Prize in Literature 1905. Marie Curie (1867–1934), born in Warsaw, Poland.  A physicist, she worked in Paris with her French husband Pierre Curie (1859–1906) on magnetism and radioactivity.  She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1911. Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937), the composer, born in Tymoszowska, Ukraine.  He became director of the State Conservatory in Warsaw, and is widely held to be the greatest Polish composer since Chopin. Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), born in Lithuania.  A founder of the catastrophist school of Polish poetry.  During WW II, he worked for the Warsaw underground, then became a member of the Polish diplomatic service (1946–1950).  Rejecting the Communist government, he exiled himself to Paris to write (1951–60), then emigrated to America, becoming professor of Slavic languages and literature at the University of California, Berkeley.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1980.  Photo provided by The Nobel Foundation. Wislawa Szymborska born in Bnin (1923-2012), Poland.  A poet and critic, she wad awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1996.  Photo by Polonia-Online.
Nicolas Copernicus
1473-1543
Adam
Mickiewicz
1798-1855
Fryderyk Chopin
1810-1849
Henryk Sienkiewicz 1846-1916 Marie Curie
1867-1934
Karol Szymanowski
1882-1937
Czeslaw
Milosz
1911-2004
Wislawa Szymborska
1923-2012

>> Our tribute to Poland's cultural heritage
>> Europe's identity and future
>> Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982)
 
Photo by the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society.ICON OF THE PIANO
Arthur Rubinstein was born in Lódz, Poland.  He made public appearances from the age of six and studied later at the Warsaw Conservatory.  He is considered one of the greatest interpreters of Chopin and Brahms, and a champion of  Spanish music.

Rubinstein became a U.S. citizen in 1946.  In 1976, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour of the United States.


Also Icon of the piano >>
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) pianist, composer, diplomat, politician - 150 years on 18 November 2010


>> Letters in the International Herald Tribune

"Many countries could learn from Poland's historical experience in using language and culture to maintain a strong national identity in turbulent times" - by Jens A. Jorgensen:
Icons of Europe, 2006 | About Chopin, 2004

 

>> Cultural institutions and more

Icons of Europe events
- Chamber music and recital:  Brussels | Lasne
- Musical drama:  Lasne | Warsaw | Toronto | New York

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Selected by Icons of Europe asbl, the above Icons and institutions are eclectic examples of the cultural heritage and diversity of this country.  The selection does not necessarily represent a balanced view of the rich culture of the country.
We welcome suggestions to enhance the selection.