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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Prague 1900

Poetry and ecstasy

This lavishly illustrated book introduces the world of fin-de-siècle Prague. Around 1900, city’s artists and artisans began to develop a particular ornamental language inspired by the contemporary revival of Czech culture and influenced by Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, and the Vienna Secession. To begin with, lyricism and poetic symbolism dominated the visual arts. Jan Preisler, one of the most important figures of the time, created sensual paintings and sculptures based on themes connected to the writings of such Czech authors as Zeyer and Brezina. Other artists such as Kobliha and Hlavácek focused on turbulent forms, dramatic expressions of torment, and the macabre. In the applied arts, exuberant floral and vegetal motifs were gradually transformed into geometric patterns.

Prague 1900 charts the effects of the emergence of modernism and the search for Czech national identity in both the fine and the applied arts, as well as in architecture, music, and literature. The book also includes a wealth of illustrations of interiors, architectural and sculptural details and documentary photographs. Biographies of the most important artists are provided, as well as a full chronology of artists and events.

Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

224 pages

Art: Art--Biography, Art--General Studies

Culture Studies

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Table of Contents

Prague 1900: From provincial capital to metropolis - Michael Huig
Pictura & Poesis: The interplay of literature and art - Luboš Merhaut
Music - ’another world’ - Marta Ottlová
Between Salon and Secession - Roman Prahl
Towards a new synthesis - Petr Wittlich
Illustration as harmony - Iva Janáková
An artistic synthesis on paper - Iva Janáková
From ecstatic decoration to individual modernism: Applied art 1897-1910 - Sylva Petrová
The discovery of a new beauty: The installation of exhibitions and interiors - Roman Prahl
The violation of a dream: Post-Art Nouveau and Post-Symbolism - Alena Pomajzlová

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