Swietlan N. Kraczyna was born in Poland in 1940, spent six years in a
German refugee camp before he and his family arrived in New Haven, CT in 1951. Swietlan received a BFA from
the Rhode Island School of Design in 1962 and a MFA from Southern Illinois University in 1964. Kraczyna has taught in the U.S.,
Italy, England and The Czech Republic. 1983 became a founder of "Il Bisonte" International School of Advanced Printmaking
in Florence, Italy, where he still lives.
Swietlan Kraczyna is a master of multi-plate color
etching. Living and working in the 13th century home of Domenico Ghirlandaio
(Michelangelo's teacher and mentor), his art is deeply rooted in the traditions of the Italian Renaissance.
Kraczyna returns again and again to ancient themes, especially those inspired by theater, music, dance and the
surrounding Tuscan landscape.
Our current exhibition of Swietlan Kraczyna's work draws on his favorite themes
of theater, music and dance. These pieces are primarily unique pieces done in a
mixed media of Guache, Pastel and Etching. The following is a
statement by the artist on this body of work.
"Living in Italy, one is constantly surrounded and exposed to its Arts and Culture.
This constitutes as the major part of the fibers that make and shape our daily activities.
The arts, culture and history become also ingredients of our daily experiences, names such as
Michelangelo, Dante, Caesar, Hadrian, Machiavelli, Puccini, Vivaldi, Goldoni and
Leonardo Da Vinci
are part of our routine vocabulary. History, as revealed through it's magnificent buildings, partially
dating in time from the Romans, through the Renaissance and Baroque to today create the environment we
The arts, literature and music are ever present, and an aria from Verdi opera or "O Sole Mio", or
"Bella Ciao", likewise a Tarantella, a Pulcinella and Arlecchino become our "daily bread". Therefore
it is easy to comprehend and extremely natural that Arlecchino became part of my artistic vocabulary.
Arlecchino, along with Pantalone and Pulcinella (They also appear in my Oneiric Carnival series from 1981-82),
are perhaps the most popular figures from the Italian 17th century street theater, known as "Commedia dell' Arte".
Each one of these personages depicts in theatrical manner a specific human character- and the street actors,
through improvisation, present them in comical situations, reflecting our real life drama or living situation.
Arlecchino's clothes are made up of multicolor patches, which over time were refined into the harlequinesque,
colorful rhombic patterns, that are immediately recognizable. He is of course the most colorful and
theatrical character. In the "Commedia dell' Arte", Arlecchino is also the most nimble and acrobatic,
always in pursuit of his beloved Columbina, who leads him on, but always and forever escapes him.
Arlecchino's pursuit of happiness becomes like a ritualistic dance, forever performed in time with
infinite variations... and this is the subject of the human drama we all undergo in our daily living
and personal pursuit of happiness. This is what I tried to embody into this series of images dedicated to this
Harlequin/ Arlecchino, that I believe to exists to some degree in all of us."
Swietlan Nicholas Kraczyna