Polish-born printmaker Krystyna Smiechowska draws her inspiration from ancient maps and inscriptions and Slavic manuscripts from the High Middle Ages. She constructs abstract works in which the ancient writings and runes are integrated into the drawing and confer an aura of mystery to the work.
Smiechowska is a master engraver, but her works often combine several modes of expression, such as etching and aquatint, and are often made on previously embossed papers. This work, for example, was embossed, then engraved and printed, and then hand-painted in red, blue, rust, and purple.
Smiechowska was particularly active in the 1960s and 1970s, including important shows at the Regency Gallery in Brussels in 1968 and the Georgetown Graphics Gallery in Washington DC in 1971. She participated in 1973 at the Biennale de Paris.