Courtauld Institute of Art medievalist, particularly English Romanesque. Zarnecki's father, Zygmunt Zarnecki, was a Polish Jew converted to Catholicism working as a civil engineer in Russia at the time of Zarnecki's birth; his mother was Russian, Julia Wolszczan (Zarnecki). The younger Zarnecki attended Cracow University, Poland, where he worked as a junior assistant in the Art History Institute, 1936-1939, earning an M.A. in 1938. Zarnecki taught at the University of Cracow until 1939.