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Aleš Mudra

Towards the Gates of Paradise and Jerusalem: Meanings of the Relief on the Portal of the Monastery Church in Plasy

Towards the Gates of Paradise and Jerusalem: Meanings of the Relief on the Portal of the Monastery Church in Plasy

pp. 350–364

The relief tympanum in the recently uncovered portal of the basilica of the Cistercian abbey in Plasy in western Bohemia is an important addition to the stock of twelfth century sculpture. This study examines its iconography and its visual sources in the context of the typology of Byzantine and Italian artefacts of the seventh to the twelfth centuries extending into the imperial symbolism of ancient Rome. The motif of the cross with two trees was widespread in the sculpture of the regions on the road north from Rome to Lombardy, to which Czechs travelled in 1158–1162 in the service of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and from where they carried off various treasures. Relationships between the ruler of Bohemia Vladislav II and the Byzantine emperor Manuel Komnenos enabled the transmission of models from the east, and the association of the motif with staurotheques. The related triumphal and paradise symbolism of the cross was used in the context of the campaign preceding the Third Crusade. An active role was taken in this by the son of the funder of the Plasy monastery, and its patron and builder, Duke Bedřich. The meanings of motifs of the pillar, star, flower and polygram are conceived as an adaptation and actualisation of classical models (and transcultural ‘natural’ symbolism) with the help of biblical metaphors and Christian exegesis, followed in artistic traditions of the early Middle Ages. Attention is also paid to the perception and the decoding of the meanings in an environment with an undeveloped visual culture, with lingering references to paganism, and limited by the regulations of the Cistercian Order. The symbolism of the relief signals to visitors that this is the threshold of a sacred sphere, but also mediates their involvement in the performative connections of the portal and church and an appeal to participation in rituals. The topical references to the ethos of the ongoing Crusades are connected with timeless religious meanings, including the fundamental paradox of Christian art (the portrayal of the unportrayable). The cross without the Crucified and the pillar-Christ avoid the problem of the (non) identifiability of the image and its prototype. More easily than figural images, abstract forms reorient attention to the meaning’s essence — the invisible and unportrayable divinity.

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Lenka Kerdová

1920s and 1930s Prague Architecture with Special Focus on the German Cultural Circle: Adolf Foehr, Fritz Lehmann, Rudolf Hildebrand

Pražská architektonická scéna dvacátých a třicátých let z pozice architektů německého kulturního okruhu. Adolf Foehr, Fritz Lehmann, Rudolf Hildebrand

pp. 365–377

The interwar Prague architecture scene was a very heterogeneous milieu where Czech, German, and Jewish architects met but also missed each other. The study focuses on Prague’s German-speaking group, which formed a unique and complicated structure. Prague’s German-speaking architects included Czech Germans (Deutschböhmen), Jews from Czechoslovakia as well as the rest of the former monarchy, Germans, and Austrians. Given this high level of diversity within this broadly conceived group, the author presents a division of German-speaking architects according to their orientation towards a specific cultural environment, i.e. into a German-oriented group and a circle on the borderline between the Czech and German cultural milieu. The first group, on which the article focuses, exhibits more common characteristic traits, creating certain mini-centres within Prague’s cultural scene. On the basis of three exemplary cases of architects from this German cultural milieu, the article introduces important moments defining Prague’s German architecture scene. In the case of Adolf Foehr, this has to do primarily with the activity of Prague’s German housing associations. In some parts of Prague, German apartment buildings had a major impact on the character of the quarter. Also important in addition to a certain stylistic specificity are personal connections among architects and construction builders, as well as between architects and Prague authorities. One of the methodological backbones of the entire research consisted in reconstructing this imaginary network of ties and relations. Fritz Lehmann’s example illustrates the complicated situation at Prague’s German Technical University and the backdrop of rivalry within the German-speaking milieu. Architect Lehmann is also author of the reconstruction of the German House (Deutsches Haus) and a few published articles that untangle the complicated welter of Czech-German connections and potential nationalist antagonisms. Rudolf Hildebrand, the article’s last exemplary architect, corroborates its proposed observations in his uniquely preserved personal memoirs.

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Markéta Svobodová

New Stimuli for Optophonetic Works: Reflections of Science in the Theoretical Texts of the Architect František Kalivoda

Nové podněty pro optofonetickou tvorbu. Kontakty architekta Františka Kalivody s Raoulem Hausmannem

pp. 378–388

In 2019, MIT Press published the book Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein, comprising texts bya collective of authors, to accompany the eponymous exhibition organised by the Mead Art Museum and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The exhibition was an attempt to explore the ways in which modern art has been influenced by scientific advances. The main concept was based on the analysis and reflections contained in The Dimensionist Manifesto published in Paris in 1936 by the Hungarian poet Károly Tamkó Sirató (1905–1980), who, for a while, successfully brought together some surrealist authors and artists with members of the recently dissolved Abstraction-Création group. Sirató and his colleagues believed that corresponding advances in perception should take place on the basis of reflections about Einstein’s theory and Minkowski’s formulation of space-time. Although the term ‘dimensionism’ never appears directly in František Kalivoda’s texts, it is still possible to consider this architect and journalist from Brno as one of the very few individuals in inter-war Czechoslovakia who had close links to Sirató’s manifesto, just on the basis of Kalivoda’s intensive contact with László Moholy-Nagy. The collection of Kalivoda’s extensive correspondence even includes a letter sent by Sirató himself, so there can be no doubt but that Sirató was familiar with Kalivoda’s concept. Although in the second half of the 1930s Kalivoda was extremely busy as the secretary of the Eastern Section of the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM-Ost), in 1937 he published a noteworthy article in Výtvarná výchova (Art Education) magazine entitled ‘New Stimuli for Optophonetic Works’. In the title he used the term ‘optophonetics’, which was introduced in the artistic environment by the Austrian experimenter and ‘Dadasoph’ Raoul Hausmann. In 1937, Hausmann moved from Switzerland to Prague, and began to correspond regularly with Kalivoda. This article takes a look at their mutual contacts, and also examines the extent to which Hausmann’s ideas influenced the young František Kalivoda.

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Jana Zapletalová

Newly Discovered Drawings by Architect Filiberto Lucchese

Nově objevené kresby architekta Filiberta Luccheseho

pp. 389–398

Three drawings have recently been found in a vicarage in Melide (Switzerland) on the shore of Lake Lugano, in an archive together with many miscellaneous and qualitatively diverse drawings and prints. We propose that these three drawings should be attributed to Filiberto Lucchese (Melide 1606 — Vienna 1666), a key figure in architecture in Central Europe around the mid-17th century. The first drawing, which an architect created in free hand without preliminary under-drawing underneath or outlining, show a longitudinal cross- section through a covered hall two storeys high with twelve window openings set one above another on six axes. The drawing is a design for the stucco decoration of the hall, in which we can observe a variability of the decoration of the window jambs and suprafenestras above the first row of windows, with the deployment of a range of different architectonic and vegetative elements, busts, cartouches with curling stucco decor or just simple geometric framing. This variety in the approach to the treatment of decoration on a single wall adds dynamics and rhythm to this spontaneous and high-quality drawing, but also indicates that it was not a definitive design intended for stucco masters to realise. It was probably meant by the architect either just for himself, as a way of clarifying the most suitable system of decor, or as a basis for discussion with the commissioner on which decorative system to choose. By contrast the second and third drawings, which show stucco decoration for the vault of one salon and detail for the realisation of stucco in another different room, are made with great precision and must have served as definitive models for stucco artists. A family emblem in the form of a watermark on the paper of the third drawing has enabled us to identify the commissioner as Karl Eusebius Prince of Liechtenstein (1611–1684). This finding then led to the hypothesis that at the least the first drawing was a design for the interior of the main hall of the Liechtenstein Chateau in Úsov, but we do not know whether Lucchese and his colleagues ever actually realised the decoration of the interiors of the Úsov Chateau. The text offers a stylistic comparison of the drawings from Melide with the decorative systems of other buildings realised by Filiberto Lucchese and his team, specifically the chateau in Červený Kameň and in Holešov.

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Petra Willerthová

‘Gather round!’ On the Art Criticism of Miroslav Tyrš

‘Gather round!’ On the Art Criticism of Miroslav Tyrš

pp. 399–413

Miroslav Tyrš (1832–1884) is best-known to the public as one of the founders of the Sokol gymnastic movement, but he was also involved in the history of Czech fine art. He wrote various art historical studies and theoretical essays, organised academic lectures, and shortly before his death, he even became professor of art history at what is today the Charles University in Prague. This article focuses on his art criticism, which has never before been analysed in detail. Between 1872 and 1884, Tyrš wrote dozens of reviews of exhibitions, which he published in various periodicals, mainly in Národní listy. He also became an expert member of the jury that decided on the decoration of the National Theatre and sat on other competition committees for the creation of monuments and statues in public spaces. He perceived his work of a critic and mediator of art as an essential social task and wanted to provide it with a solid scientific basis. Therefore, he used his newly acquired knowledge from various fields to imbue his judgments with ‘exactness’, basing his opinion on his own empirical research. Thanks to archival research and a detailed analysis of all the texts, new information has been discovered in this respect. The study thus focuses firstly on Tyrš’s methodological sources of inspiration (Darwin and the evolution theory, Winckelmann and neo-Classicism, Schopenhauer and Voluntarism, Taine and Positivism, Brücke and the theory of colour, Zimmermann and Herbartism) and subsequently on the practical creation of the texts including interesting stylistic observations.

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Pavla Mikešová

The Picture Gallery of the Resistance Memorial in the Hvězda (Star) Summer Palace, 1921–1930: Seen Administratively as a Collection

The Picture Gallery of the Resistance Memorial in the Hvězda (Star) Summer Palace, 1921–1930: Seen Administratively as a Collection

pp. 414–429

After the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic, its Legionnaires established an institution intended to preserve the memory of their activity in the resistance to Austria-Hungary. The Resistance Memorial was founded for this purpose in May 1919. One of its tasks was to create an art collection, and with this in mind, in the autumn of 1921 the Memorial opened negotiations with the Governor of Prague Castle for the loan of the Hvězda (Star) Summer Palace. After consultation with the Heritage Conservation Department, the exhibition halls on the first and second floors of the summer palace were loaned, to which was later added the ground floor with its stucco decoration. The collection opened to the general public on 2 February 1923. Most of the artists presented here were amateurs, although there were also graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts and students from the School of Applied Arts. Some works by Gutfreund, Kupka, Filla and Preissig were included. The hanging was entrusted to Otto Matoušek and Jindřich Vlček, and the exhibition architecture designed by Vilém Kvasnička. Up to 1929 the collections held 2,351 oil paintings, water colours, drawings and prints. Among the exhibited themes were railway wagons, weapons and equipment, portraits, prisoner-of-war camps, battlegrounds, architecture, the Siberian landscape, indigenous peoples, and the port of Vladivostok. The authors devoted the ground floor of the summer palace to the Battle of Zborov, and the first floor to the Legions in Russia (an inventory of more than 700 works). The second floor presented the French and Italian Legionnaires (around 200 works). In spite of the quantity of works, their quality was inconsistent. Even with the representation of leading artists, it could not be considered a first class art gallery. The exhibition material originated primarily from the need for a documentary record, propagation and caricatures, and artistic needs were of later consideration. The picture gallery had more of a didactic nature and its main task was to inform the public about the sufferings the Legionnaires underwent for the creation of an independent Czechoslovakia. In 1930 the collections were rehoused, being moved from Hvězda to the new building on Vítkov Hill.

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Ivan Foletti – Katarína Kravčíková – Adrien Palladino – Sabina Rosenbergová

Body as Medium, Artwork as Epicenter, Theory as Instrument

Tělo jako médium, dílo jako epicentrum, teorie jako nástroj

pp. 430–433


Jan Klípa

Xavier Barral i Altet et al. (edd.), The Art of Medieval Hungary

pp. 434–437

Michaela Ottová

Ludmila Kvapilová, Vesperbilder in Bayern von 1380 bis 1430 / Susan Marti – Richard Němec – Marius Winzeler (edd.), Pražská Pieta v Bernu

pp. 438–443

Martin Šanda

Michal Šroněk – Kateřina Horníčková – Jan Ivanega, Zbožnost, účelnost, reprezentace

pp. 443–448

Katarína Bajcurová

Tomáš Winter – Pavla Machalíková (edd.), Jdi na venkov!

pp. 448–451

Marie Rakušanová

Ladislav Kesner, Trauma, tíseň, extáze, prázdnota

pp. 451–454

Johana Lomová

Agata Jakubowska – Magdalena Radomska (edd.), After Piotr Piotrowski

pp. 454–456


pp. 457–460

Česká resumé / English summaries

pp. 461–466

Obsah LXVIII. ročníku Umění/Art / Contents of 68th Volume of Umění/Art

pp. 467–468