Alfons Maria Mucha, known in English and French as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech painter and graphic artist, living in Paris during the Art Nouveau period, best known for his distinctly stylized and decorative theatrical posters of Sarah Bernhardt. He produced illustrations, decorative panels, designs, which became among the best-known images of the period. In the second part of his career, at the age of 43, he returned to his homeland and devoted himself to painting a series of twenty monumental canvases known as The Slav Epic, depicting the history of all the Slavic peoples of the world, which he painted between 1912 and 1926. In 1928, on the 10th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia, he presented the series to the Czech nation, he considered it his most important work. It is now on display in the National Gallery in Prague. Alphons Maria Mucha was born on 24 July 1860 in the small town of Ivančice in southern Moravia a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his family had a modest income.
He showed an early talent for drawing. In 1871, Mucha became a chorister at the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, where he received his secondary school education, he became devoutly religious, wrote "For me, the notions of painting, going to church, music are so knit that I cannot decide whether I like church for its music, or music for its place in the mystery which it accompanies." He grew up in an environment of intense Czech nationalism in all the arts, from music to literature and painting. He designed posters for patriotic rallies, his singing abilities allowed him to continue his musical education at the Gymnázium Brno in the Moravian capital of Brno, but his true ambition was to become an artist. He found some employment designing other decorations. In 1878 he applied without success to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, but was rejected and advised "to find a different career". In 1880, at the age of 19, he traveled to Vienna, the political and cultural capital of the Empire, found employment as an apprentice scenery painter for a company which made sets for Vienna theaters.
While in Vienna, he discovered the museums, churches and theaters, for which he received free tickets from his employer. He discovered Hans Makart, a prominent academic painter, who created murals for many of the palaces and government buildings in Vienna, was a master of portraits and historical paintings in grand format, his style turned Mucha in that artistic direction and influenced his work. He began experimenting with photography, which became an important tool in his work. To his misfortune, a terrible fire in 1881 destroyed the major client of his firm. In 1881 without funds, he took a train as far north as his money would take him, he arrived in Mikulov in southern Moravia, began making portraits, decorative art and lettering for tombstones. His work was appreciated, he was commissioned by Count Eduard Khuen Belasi, a local landlord and nobleman, to paint a series of murals for his residence at Emmahof Castle, at his ancestral home in the Tyrol, Gandegg Caste. (The paintings at Emmahof were destroyed by fire in 1948, but his early versions in small format exist He showed his skill at mythological themes, the female form, lush vegetal decoration.
Belasi, an amateur painter, took Mucha on expeditions to see art in Venice and Milan, introduced him to many artists, including the famous Bavarian romantic painter, Wilhelm Kray, who lived in Munich. Count Belasi decided to bring Mucha to Munich for formal training, paid his tuition and cost of living at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, he moved there in September, 1885. It is not clear how Mucha studied at the Academy. However, he did become friends with a number of notable Slavic artists there, including the Czechs Karel Vítězslav Mašek, Ludek Marold and the Russian Leonid Pasternak, father of the famous novelist Boris Pasternak, he founded a Czech students' club, contributed political illustrations to nationalist publications in Prague. In 1886 he received a notable commission for a painting of the Czech patron saints Cyril and Methodius, from a group of Czech emigrants, including some of his relatives, who had founded an Orthodox church in the town of Pisek, North Dakota, he was happy with the artistic environment of Munich: he wrote to friends, "Here I am in my new element, painting.
I cross all sorts of currents, but without effort, with joy. Here, for the first time, I can find the objectives to reach which used to seem inaccessible." However, he found. Count Belasi suggested that he travel either to Paris. With Belasi's financial support, he decided in 1887 to move to Paris. Mucha moved to Paris in 1888 where he enrolled in the Académie Julian and the following year, 1889, Académie Colarossi; the two schools taught a wide variety of different styles. His first professors at the Academie Julien were Jules Lefebvre who specialized in female nudes and allegorical paintings, Jean-Paul Laurens, whose specialties were historical and religious paintings in a realistic and dramatic style. At the end of 1889, as he approached
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne's repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are characteristic and recognizable, he used planes of small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects. Cézanne is said to have formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all." The Cézannes came from the commune of Saint-Sauveur. Paul Cézanne was born on 19 January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence. On 22 February, he was baptized in the Église de la Madeleine, with his grandmother and uncle Louis as godparents, became a devout Catholic in life, his father, Louis Auguste Cézanne, a native of Saint-Zacharie, was the co-founder of a banking firm that prospered throughout the artist's life, affording him financial security, unavailable to most of his contemporaries and resulting in a large inheritance.
His mother, Anne Elisabeth Honorine Aubert, was "vivacious and romantic, but quick to take offence". It was from her that Cézanne got his vision of life, he had two younger sisters and Rose, with whom he went to a primary school every day. At the age of ten Cézanne entered the Saint Joseph school in Aix. In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon in Aix, where he became friends with Émile Zola, in a less advanced class, as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who came to be known as "les trois inséparables", he stayed there for six years. In 1857, he began attending the Free Municipal School of Drawing in Aix, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk. From 1858 to 1861, complying with his father's wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while receiving drawing lessons. Going against the objections of his banker father, he committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861, he was encouraged to make this decision by Zola, living in the capital at the time.
His father reconciled with Cézanne and supported his choice of career. Cézanne received an inheritance of 400,000 francs from his father, which rid him of all financial worries. In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro; the friendship formed in the mid-1860s between Pissarro and Cézanne was that of master and disciple, in which Pissarro exerted a formative influence on the younger artist. Over the course of the following decade their landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise, led to a collaborative working relationship between equals. Cézanne's early work is concerned with the figure in the landscape and includes many paintings of groups of large, heavy figures in the landscape, imaginatively painted. In his career, he became more interested in working from direct observation and developed a light, airy painting style. In Cézanne's mature work there is the development of a solidified architectural style of painting. Throughout his life he struggled to develop an authentic observation of the seen world by the most accurate method of representing it in paint that he could find.
To this end, he structurally ordered. His statement "I want to make of impressionism something solid and lasting like the art in the museums", his contention that he was recreating Poussin "after nature" underscored his desire to unite observation of nature with the permanence of classical composition. Cézanne was interested in the simplification of occurring forms to their geometric essentials: he wanted to "treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone". Additionally, Cézanne's desire to capture the truth of perception led him to explore binocular vision graphically, rendering different, yet simultaneous visual perceptions of the same phenomena to provide the viewer with an aesthetic experience of depth different from those of earlier ideals of perspective, in particular single-point perspective, his interest in new ways of modelling space and volume derived from the stereoscopy obsession of his era and from reading Hippolyte Taine’s Berkelean theory of spatial perception. Cézanne's innovations have prompted critics to suggest such varied explanations as sick retinas, pure vision, the influence of the steam railway.
Cézanne's paintings were shown in the first exhibition of the Salon des Refusés in 1863, which displayed works not accepted by the jury of the official Paris Salon. The Salon rejected Cézanne's submissions every year from 1864 to 1869, he continued to submit works to the Salon until 1882. In that year, through the intervention of fellow artist Antoine Guillemet, he exhibited Portrait de M. L. A. Portrait of Louis-Auguste Cézanne, The Artist's Father, Reading "L'Événement", 1866, his first and last successful submission to the Salon. Before 1895 Cézanne exhibited twice with the Impressionists. In years a few individual paintings were shown at various venues, unti
Czech Cubism was an avant-garde art movement of Czech proponents of Cubism, active in Prague from 1912 to 1914. Prague was the most important center for Cubism outside Paris before the start of World War One. Members of this movement realized the epochal significance of the cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and attempted to extract its components for their own work in all branches of artistic creativity: sculpture, applied arts and architecture; the most notable participants in this movement were the painters František Kupka, Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Antonín Procházka, Vincenc Beneš, Josef Čapek, the sculptor Otto Gutfreund, the writer Karel Čapek, the architects Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman and Josef Chochol. Many of these artists were members of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts. A major division in Czech architecture occurred after 1912 when many young avant-garde artists from Jan Kotĕra and his circle divorced themselves from the Mánes Association; these younger architects were more idealistic in their outlook and criticized the strict rationalism of their forebears, Otto Wagner and Kotĕra.
Janák, Gočár, Hofman founded the group Skupina výtvarných umĕlců and established a journal for the group, Umĕlecký mĕsíčník. After Czechoslovakia's founding in 1918, architectural Czech Cubism developed into Czech Rondocubism, more decorative, as it was influenced by traditional folk ornaments to celebrate the revival of Czech national independence. Czech Cubists distinguish their work through the construction of sharp points, slicing planes, crystalline shapes in their art works; these angles allowed the Czech Cubists to incorporate their own trademark in the avant-garde art group of Modernism. They believed that objects carried their own inner energy which could only be released by splitting the horizontal and vertical surfaces that restrain the conservative design and “ignore the needs of the human soul.” It was a way to revolt from the typical art scene in the early 1900s in Europe. This evolved into a new art movement, referred to as Cubo-Expressionism. Czech Cubism developed between 1911 and 1914.
It was a contemporary development of functionalism generated by designers in Prague. Fifteen years the first concept of cubism itself was written off as a decorative purpose, a replacement of secessionism and mistaken departure into ‘aestheticism’ and ‘individualism’. On the contrary, it was a revolt against traditional values of realism. Czech Cubism was first conceal by the Modern Movement and masked by the aesthetic dictates of Stalinist and post-Stalinist culture in Czechoslovakia. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and the post modern attraction of ornamentation and decoration, there came to be a rise of fascination in Czech culture and its own unique forms of cubism. Czech Cubism developed paradoxically as both a product of Czech bourgeois affluence and as an avant-garde rejection of secessionist designers such as Otto Wagner and Jan Kotěra. Architects such as Josef Chochol and Pavel Janák devised spiritualist philosophies of design and a dynamic ideal of planar form derived from cubist art.
As Cubism spread across the European continent in the early 20th century, its greatest impact can be seen today in the Czech Republic. Pyramid and crystal forms were one of the signature principles seen in Czech Cubism, incorporated in architecture and applied arts; the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague uses the House of the Black Madonna as a permanent exhibition space for Czech Cubist art. Cubist sculpture References SourcesThe Czech Cubism Foundation What is Czech Cubism? Von Vegesack, Alexander, ed. Czech Cubism: Architecture, Decorative Arts. Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1992. Journal of Design History Toman, Jindrich. Czech Cubism and the Book: The Modern Czech Book. New York: Kant Publications, 2011. Czech Cubism in Architecture. Fostinum: Czech Cubist Architecture
Madonna of Zbraslav
The Zbraslav Madonna comes from the parish church of St James the Greater in Zbraslav. It is on long-term loan at the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery in Prague; the Cistercian abbey in Zbraslav near Prague was founded by king Wenceslaus II in imitation of the royal necropolis of Saint Denis near Paris. Elisabeth of Bohemia, mother of Emperor Charles IV was buried in the monastery. Although the origin of this picture is not known and its existence is not recorded in any written documents, comparative analyses have shown that it dates from the period between 1350 and 1360; the early character of the engraved drawing and the pentiments that have been revealed prove that it isn’t a copy. The story that the picture was dedicated to the monastery by its founder Wenceslaus II dates from the late 18th century. In the past, there was an excerpt of poetry on the rear side of panel, glorifying the Virgin Mary, misinterpreted by preceding generations of historians. In 1420 the monastery was burned down by the Hussites and the picture was reputedly found two hundred years in the rubble and exhibited in a newly built church in 1654.
Its current state follows restoration in 1945, in the 1990s old areas of retouching and overpainting were removed. The picture is painted in tempera on a chalk base with an engraved drawing outlined in black, it measures 89 x 59.5 cm. Compared with older Italian-Byzantine models, the drawing is suppressed and the painter models volume using the technique of thin, glazed paint layers of colour gradation in the incarnates; the Madonna has a gold-embroidered white cloak and a blue cloak with green lining decorated with gold stars. The Madonna’s cloak and white veil and the transparent shirt of the child are decorated along their hems with gold embroidery; the crown is decorated with curly leaves. The stones and pearls on the crown, halos and clasp were mounted on, while the background was subsequently gilded over; the ring on the Madonna’s finger refers to the mystic betrothal of Christ and Mary that symbolises the Christian Church. This allegorical identification of Mary with the Church is characteristic of the Cistercian context and stems from the preaching of St Bernard of Clairvaux.
In its composition, the picture has much in common with the Madonna of Veveří type and the Madonna of Rome. At the same time, however, it repeats several motifs from earlier Marian pictures, its colour palette recalls the painting of Tomasso da Modena. The motif of the Infant Jesus holding a goldfinch or waxwing was widespread through Italy from the early 14th century and appears in the Rajhrad Breviary of Queen Elizabeth Richeza of Poland. In contrast to the older Italian-Byzantine type of Madonna, the Hodegetria in which the mother presents the child as an object of worship, in this composition there is a tangible shift to a more human and intimate relationship between the mother and child that corresponds more to the ideas of believers around the mid-14th century; the Zbraslav Madonna was one of the most celebrated Marian pictures in Bohemia. It was intended for the church of the Cistercian monastery, where Bohemian kings from the Přemyslid dynasty were buried; some people believe. The Zbraslav Madonna was revered and there exist many copies of it, dating from the Baroque period.
The Zbraslav Madonna was consecrated as the 43rd chapel of the Holy Route from Prague to Mladá Boleslav, established by the Jesuits between 1674 and 1690. Jiří Fajt, Štěpánka Chlumská, Čechy a střední Evropa 1220-1550, Národní galerie v Praze 2014, ISBN 978-80-7035-569-5, pp. 24–28 Jiří Fajt, Jan Royt: České gotické umění, Karolinum Press, Praha 2002 Jan Royt, Medieval Painting in Bohemia, Karolinum Press, Praha 2003 ISBN 8024602660 Jaroslav Pešina: Česká gotická malba, Praha 1972 Antonín Matějček, Jaroslav Pešina, Česká malba gotická, Praha 1950, pp. 58–61 National Gallery never closes: Madonna of Veveří, Madonna of Zbraslav, CTV 2012
François Auguste René Rodin, known as Auguste Rodin, was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past, he was schooled traditionally, took a craftsman-like approach to his work, desired academic recognition, although he was never accepted into Paris's foremost school of art. Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent pocketed surface in clay. Many of his most notable sculptures were criticized during his lifetime, they clashed with predominant figurative sculpture traditions, in which works were decorative, formulaic, or thematic. Rodin's most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory, modeled the human body with realism, celebrated individual character and physicality. Rodin refused to change his style. Successive works brought increasing favor from the artistic community. From the unexpected realism of his first major figure – inspired by his 1875 trip to Italy – to the unconventional memorials whose commissions he sought, Rodin's reputation grew, he became the preeminent French sculptor of his time.
By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin's work after his World's Fair exhibit, he kept company with a variety of high-profile intellectuals and artists, his students included Antoine Bourdelle, Camille Claudel, Constantin Brâncuși, Charles Despiau. He married Rose Beuret, in the last year of both their lives, his sculptures suffered a decline in popularity after his death in 1917, but within a few decades, his legacy solidified. Rodin remains one of the few sculptors known outside the visual arts community. Rodin was born in 1840 into a working-class family in Paris, the second child of Marie Cheffer and Jean-Baptiste Rodin, a police department clerk, he was self-educated, began to draw at age 10. Between ages 14 and 17, he attended the Petite École, a school specializing in art and mathematics where he studied drawing and painting, his drawing teacher Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran believed in first developing the personality of his students so that they observed with their own eyes and drew from their recollections, Rodin expressed appreciation for his teacher much in life.
It was at Petite École that he met Alphonse Legros. In 1857, Rodin submitted a clay model of a companion to the École des Beaux-Arts in an attempt to win entrance. Entrance requirements were not high at the Grande École, so the rejections were considerable setbacks. Rodin's inability to gain entrance may have been due to the judges' Neoclassical tastes, while Rodin had been schooled in light, 18th-century sculpture, he left the Petite École in 1857 and earned a living as a craftsman and ornamenter for most of the next two decades, producing decorative objects and architectural embellishments. Rodin's sister Maria, two years his senior, died of peritonitis in a convent in 1862, Rodin was anguished with guilt because he had introduced her to an unfaithful suitor, he joined the Catholic order of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Saint Peter Julian Eymard and head of the congregation, recognized Rodin's talent and sensed his lack of suitability for the order, so he encouraged Rodin to continue with his sculpture.
Rodin returned to work as a decorator. The teacher's attention to detail and his finely rendered musculature of animals in motion influenced Rodin. In 1864, Rodin began to live with a young seamstress named Rose Beuret, with whom he stayed for the rest of his life, with varying commitment; the couple had a son named Auguste-Eugène Beuret. That year, Rodin offered his first sculpture for exhibition and entered the studio of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, a successful mass producer of objets d'art. Rodin worked as Carrier-Belleuse' chief assistant until 1870, designing roof decorations and staircase and doorway embellishments. With the arrival of the Franco-Prussian War, Rodin was called to serve in the French National Guard, but his service was brief due to his near-sightedness. Decorators' work had dwindled because of the war, yet Rodin needed to support his family, as poverty was a continual difficulty for him until about the age of 30. Carrier-Belleuse soon asked him to join him in Belgium, where they worked on ornamentation for the Brussels Stock Exchange.
Rodin planned to stay in Belgium a few months. It was a pivotal time in his life, he had acquired skill and experience as a craftsman, but no one had yet seen his art, which sat in his workshop since he could not afford castings. His relationship with Carrier-Belleuse had deteriorated, but he found other employment in Brussels, displaying some works at salons, his companion Rose soon joined him there. Having saved enough money to travel, Rodin visited Italy for two months in 1875, where he was drawn to the work of Donatello and Michelangelo, their work had a profound effect on his artistic direction. Rodin said, "It is Michelangelo who has freed me from academic sculpture." Returning to Belgium, he began work on The Age of Bronze, a life-size male figure whose realism brought Rodin attention but led to accusations of sculptural cheating—its realism and scale was such that critics alleged he had cast the work from a living model. Much of Rodin's work was explicitly larger or smaller than life, in part to demonstrate the folly of such acc
House of the Black Madonna
The House of the Black Madonna is a cubist building in the "Old Town" area of Prague, Czech Republic. It was designed by Josef Gočár, it is in use as the Czech Museum of Cubism and includes the Grand Café Orient restaurant on the first floor. The House of the Black Mother, sometimes referred to as Black Mother of the Lord, was designed and built between 1911 and 1912 on the corner of Celetná Street and Ovocný trh. Josef Gočár built the house as the first example of cubist architecture in Prague, it remains the most celebrated. Without historical details of the baroque building surrounding it, the House of the Black Madonna maintains the atmosphere of the neighborhood; the house was given its name by the stone sculpture that adorned one of the two Baroque buildings on the same lot. After many years altered use in the interwar period and under communist rule, the house was closed in January 2002 and re-opened after extensive restoration in November 2003. Gočár designed the house in mid-1911 at the age of 31 for the wholesale merchant František Josef Herbst.
Herbst chose Gočár to build his department store in the Old Town along the old coronation route because of the architect’s earlier success with a similar shop in Jaroměř, built in 1909-1911. Because of its prominent location in the heart of the city, Gočár’s building was subject to strict harmonization rules requiring that the department store not conflict with its historical setting; the building thus uses the language of baroque architecture in a Cubist form, thus exemplifying the ‘contextualization’ of Cubist architecture. Gočár’s first plans were not well received by the historical buildings authority in Bohemia. Subsequent designs incorporated more Cubist features into the building; the Prague City Council approved the plans on August 4, 1911. Gočár’s early modernist orientation, gave way to new Cubist designs in the finished building; the angular bay windows, iconic capitals between windows, cubist balcony railing took their place in the designs. Like many of Gočár’s houses, the House of the Black Madonna was built with a reinforced-concrete skeleton inspired by the Chicago School.
Cubist interiors have proven a challenge to architects. The use of a reinforced-concrete skeleton allowed for large interior spaces without ceiling support that were better suited to Cubist aesthetics; the Grand Café Orient, which encompassed the entire first floor without supporting pillars, was a revolutionary feat of engineering. In some literature, Gočáris described as ‘decorativist’ because he was concerned with creating a Cubist façade instead of a Cubist building, it is thus ironic that his design for the Grand Café Orient is the only surviving Cubist interior in the world. As for the façade, multiple changes in design and the requirements of harmonization forced certain compromises in the Cubist elements; the façade breaks with Cubist and modern traditions on the third storey, incorporates'foreign' elements in order to reconcile the building with its surroundings. For example, the roof resembles baroque double roofs, the third storey features flat windows and pilasters with Classical fluting between them.
The House at the Black Madonna was designed to house a department store. Herbst's store occupied the second floor of the building. Grand Café Orient was established on the first floor. Above that were apartments. Minor changes were made to this arrangement in 1914. In the mid-1920s the café and store on the second floor were converted into bank offices; the department store was closed in 1922. Further alterations to the architectural integrity were made in 1941, when functionalist architect V. Kubik refashioned the wooden frames on the ground floor windows with steel. During the communist period, the building was subdivided internally into more office space and designated the state exhibition agency. In 1994, the building was made a center for Czech culture. After heavy renovation works between 2002 and 2003, the building was made home to the Museum of Czech Cubism; the fourth and fifth floors are dedicated to a permanent exhibition of Cubist art curated by the Czech Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition focuses on Czech artists in the period from 1911 to 1919, when Cubism was in its heyday in both the visual arts and in architecture.
In March 2005, the Grand Café Orient was re-opened after extensive renovation works. Although only a few original plans had survived, black-and-white photographs documenting the café's interior décor and atmosphere from 1912 were used during renovation. Replicas of café furniture and brass chandeliers were constructed to revive the café and showcase the many forms of Cubism present in the Czech republic. Cubist House of the Black Madonna re-opens in Prague - Czech Radio House at the Black Madonna - Museum of Czech Cubism House at the Black Madonna at www.prague-museums.com
Hradčany, the Castle District, is the district of the city of Prague, Czech Republic surrounding Prague Castle. The castle is one of the biggest castle in the world at about 570 metres in length and an average of about 130 metres wide, its history stretches back to the 9th century. St Vitus Cathedral is located in the castle area. Most of the district consists of noble historical palaces. There are many other attractions for visitors: romantic nooks, peaceful places and beautiful lookouts. Hradčany was an independent borough until 1784, when the four independent boroughs that had constituted Prague were proclaimed a single city; the other three were Staré Město and Nové Město. Official Website of the City of Prague Hradčany - Prague-wiki Fullscreen QTVR virtual tour of Hradčany and Prague Castle