The artistic profession is not easy to characterize. Various fields of artistic work are coupled with a range of different artistic attitudes, and these, in turn, with a variety of social positions assumed by artists, various historical conditions in which the profession functions as well as the diverse courses of artistic careers. There are those who say that this profession is not an occupation, but a vocation of an almost mystical nature. Yet it is tempting to examine the phenomenon of the artist, at least to the extent that it is possible in view of the scarcity of historical data.
Marian Golka is a sociologist of culture and cultural anthropologist and professor in the Institute of Sociology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.