Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vojtech Hynais

Divka a azalkou
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Vojtech Hynais (1854-1925) was a Czech painter, designer and graphics artist. He designed the curtain of the Prague National Theatre, decorated a number of buildings in Prague and Vienna, and was a founding member of the Vienna Secession. He was made an Officer of the Legion d'honneur in 1924. He was interested in integrating the human and the natural, and particularly female nudes. He was described as "a delicate poet depicting the beauty of the female body." He also bound together religious and aesthetic considerations. He did, however, maintain some distance between his decorative-poetic work and his political-nationalist work.

His father was a Czech tailor who had moved to Vienna, and did not want his children to receive a German education, so he was taught at home. He began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna in 1870, and he was considered to be one of the  most promising students. He lived in Paris from 1878 to 1893, where he came to know Alfons Mucha.

During the 1870s, art was being produced to decorate the under-construction Prague National Theatre. He was not considered to be suitably representative of the national spirit by Czech art critics because he lived in, and had absorbed too much influence from, Vienna. Still, he created nationalist images for the Royal Lounge, including allegorical, historico-mythic scenes and landscapes of Bohemia. His work for the National Theatre is what he is mostly remembered for. He was part of a broader axis of connection between Paris and Prague at the turn of the century.

He worked for the Sevres porcelain firm between 1889 and 1892 as a graphics artist, and became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague in 1894. While living in Prague, he was a founding member of the Vienna Secession. In 1923, he was made an Officer of the Legion d'honneur, and in 1924 was granted an honourary professorship at the Prague Academy.