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5/2015

Articles

Lubomír Konečný

The Eucharist and Atoms in Seventeenth-Century Art

Eucharistie a atomy v umění 17. století

pp. 350-354

The representation of the Five Senses is generally considered to be one of the most widespread themes in profane iconography during the Baroque period. It is therefore not surprising that works where the Five Senses are used in the context of sacred iconography are extremely rare. They include an engraving by Cornelis Galle, which he made in 1638 after a drawing by the Antwerp painter Erasmus Quellinus, and which was subsequently used as the frontispiece for several books dealing with the Eucharist and the question of transubstantiation. The culmination of this series is The Triumph of Faith over the Senses – an allegory painted by the Spanish painter Juan Antonio Escalante in 1667. These visual polemics may on the one hand appear as a natural continuation of the disputes over transubstantiation between Catholics and Protestants. On the other hand, we may ask how and why the Five Senses became part of this longstanding controversy. It seems that the answer can be found in several recently discovered documents from the Vatican archives, which were used, in particular, by Pietro Redondi in his book Galileo eretico (1983). According to one of them, in his The Assayer / Il Saggiatore (1623) Galileo describes a theory that calls into question a central article of Catholic faith, the miracle of the Eucharist. This is the atomistic theory, which explains the structure of matter and its properties in such a way that transubstantiation cannot occur, because the qualities that can be perceived by the five senses (light, heat, colour, taste, and sound) are caused by small particles called atoms.

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Steffen Eigl

Parabeln und Hyperbeln zwischen Neurasthenie und Hysterie im Werk von Bohumil Kubišta

Paraboly a hyperboly mezi neurastenií a hysterií v díle Bohumila Kubišty

pp. 355-362

In 1912 Bohumil Kubišta created the paintings Kiss of Death and Hypnotiser, two extraordinary cubist works. When compared against Kubišta’s theoretical ideas, which he published, there is an evident correlation between his writings, the subjects he chose to paint, and, above all, the way he painted them. In his writings Kubišta speaks repeatedly about hyperbola and parabola and their symbolic application to dramatic and mystic themes. Following from his understanding of the concept of gravity is an elaborate theory about society that makes possible further interpretations of these two paintings. In terms of form the paintings have to do with specific representations of hyperbola and parabola. In another perspective Kiss of Death and Hypnotiser relate to two illnesses, neurasthenia and hysteria, which around the turn of the century were a focus of interest in psychoanalytical research.

Kubišta’s study of the natural sciences and the symptoms of his era supports this. The theme of the double is also given a deeper dimension in Kubišta’s work. It each of these works indeed a ‘portrait of a double / a self-portrait’ can be inferred from the characterisation of the artist that is portrayed through the duality of the individual. In this Kubišta is exploring the balance of power between two figures, within a split personality. The impression created is that Kubišta was striving to reach a higher order in his paintings that goes beyond what we perceive in the works at first glance. In both paintings Kubišta has created a somewhat menacing vision of the double, one full of allusions to the history of science. Both paintings are model illustrations of the diversely changing intellectual world that existed on the eve of the First World War.

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Jindřich Vybíral

The Public Servants’ Colony in Dejvice, Prague, and the New Ideal of Urban Morphology: Anomaly or Paradigmatic Change?

Úřednická kolonie v Praze-Dejvicích a nový ideál městské morfologie. Anomálie, nebo paradigmatická změna?

pp. 363-384

This study deals with a public servants’ colony consisting of 114 one-storey houses built in Dejvice, Prague, in 1921–1922. One of the first Zeilenbau housing projects in Central Europe, the colony was meant to provide a healthier alternative to the densely packed, closed blocks of flats characteristic of large cities. The study presents the project in its historical context, analyses its concept of urban planning, and tries to find out why it has not yet been adequately dealt with in art-historical discussions. The project’s progressive approach to urban planning and its architectural design were not the result of an autonomous creative initiative, but rather came about as a provisional response to the pressure of an unparalleled housing crisis. Czech urban planners consequently viewed it merely as an ‘anomaly’ and not as a model for future strategies. The study deals with the authorship of the project and ascribes both the planning of the colony and the design of its brick house to Rudolf Hrabě, an engineer at the City Construction Office. However, the intellectual author of the idea to design the wooden groups of four houses, which were published as the work of architects František Ložek and Václav Novák, is identified in the study as their teacher Jože Plečnik, who probably also contributed to the designs of two other structures that were part of the colony: a school and a laundry.

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Interview

Ladislav Kesner

Crossing the Border. Hans Belting in Conversation with Ladislav Kesner

pp. 385-395

Reports

Petra Zelenková — Libor Šturc

Z protestantského teologa strahovským premonstrátem. Podobizna Andrease Fromma (1621–1683) od Karla Škréty mladšího

From Protestant Theologian to Premonstratensian at Strahov: Portrait of Andreas Fromm (1621–1683) by Karel Škréta the Younger

pp. 396-405

František Martin Pelcl’s well-known work Abbildungen böhmischer und mährischer Gelehrten und Künstler (Prague 1773–1782) contains biographies of various artists, scholars, and other personalities, and among them there is also a profile of the once famous German theologian and Catholic convert Andreas Fromm (1621 Plänitz – 1683 Prague). In his time Fromm was an iconic figure in the religious disputes that existed amongst Protestants and those between Protestants and Catholics. After a spiritual quest that lasted many years, and disgusted by the conflicts within the Protestant Church, he moved to Bohemia. In 1668 he and his entire family converted to the Catholic faith in Prague and the next year he was ordained as a priest. For the next more than a decade he was involved in the administration of the church in the diocese of Litoměřice. He spent the final years of his life at the Premonstratensian monastery at Strahov in Prague, which two of his sons also joined.

Two painted portraits of Andreas Fromm have been preserved in the collection of the Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov. The first portrait is the hitherto work of Karel Škréta the Younger from 1681–1683. The name Škréta is presented on the back of the canvas. That Škréta was the author is also confirmed by the signature on a graphic portrait of Fromm in Abbildungen, which has hitherto been overlooked or read incorrectly (as ‘Screler’). The oeuvre of Karel Škréta the Younger, knowledge of which is still incomplete, has thus been enriched by the identification of this first wholly indisputable work. The second portrait, preserved in the Royal Canonry at Strahov, is the work of the Strahov conventual and painter Siard Nosecký (1693–1758). The authors also describe the print portraits of Andreas Fromm that illustrate his publications and provide an interpretation of the interesting allegorical frontispiece to Fromm’s most influential work, in which he outlines the history and motives of his conversion – Wiederkehrung zur Catholischen Kirchen (Prague 1668). The article presents Fromm as one of the most interesting figures of the era of internal conflicts among Protestants and during the reassertion of Catholicism in Bohemia. While Fromm has received attention from German scholars, he has so far been unjustly overlooked in Czech historical research. 

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Reviews

Petr Wittlich

Karel Srp, Stíny hieroglyfů

pp.406-407

Géza Galavics

Martin Mádl (ed.), Tencalla I–II. Barokní nástěnná malba v českých zemích

pp. 408-411

Petr Tomášek

Petr Šámal – Kristýna Brožová, Umění inspektora. Josef Karel Burde (1779–1848)

pp. 412-414

Martin Charvát

Marie Rakušanová, Josef Váchal. Magie hledání

pp. 414-416

Klara Kemp-Welch

Pavlína Morganová, Czech Action Art: Happenings, Actions, Events, Land Art, Body Art and Performance Art Behind the Iron Curtain

pp. 417-420

Annotations

pp. 421-423

Acquisitions of Art History Sources

pp. 424-427

Česká resumé / English Summaries

pp. 428-431