The article considers the presence of the avant-garde in the oeuvre of Tadeusz Kantor, and tries to capture the artist's conceptions relating to contemporary art. The helpfulness of 'Lekcje mediolanskie' (The Milan Lessons) lies in the fact that this publication is situated on a margin of Kantor's theoretical reflections and artistic undertakings. The text shows how abstraction, Constructivism and Surrealism affected the work of the author of the 'Umarla klasa' (Dead Class). 'Lekcje mediolanskie' also indicate the reasons why Kantor referred to precisely those three trends, summing up their role and significance in twentieth-century art. Kantor returned to the bases of modern art in order to define his whole oeuvre and contemporaneity as such vis a vis the listed currents.