Jan Marian Kościałkowski was born in 1914, Vilnius. He studied painting briefly at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Paris des Beaux Arts, before returning to Poland to fulfil his obligatory military service.
In 1936 he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and after graduating tried to return to Vilnius, but in the Spring of 1940 he was arrested and sent to the Soviet Union, to Welska on south-west of Arkhangelsk. As a result of an amnesty he was released in 1941, joining the Polish Army in the USSR.
During the following years he went to Persia, Iraq, Palestine, Libya and Egypt. In 1944 he arrived in Italy joining the ranks of the 2nd Corps, a branch of propaganda 5. Borderland Infantry Division (with the so-called. “Cars sound”), and for four months he took part in the battle of Monte Cassino. In the second volume of The Battle of Monte Cassino (Melchior Wańkowicza) there are 8 sketches by Kościałkowskiego of the battle. After the war, he travelled to England and was awarded a scholarship at the Sir John Cass’ College in London.
In 1968 he bought a house ‘Kościałkowscy’ in Carrara, Italy, where he worked and lived with his wife until his death in 1977.