Max Švabinský Obrazy: Art from a Magnificent Czech Graphic Artist and Painter
A number of famous and serious critics perceived his work in completely different ways. Some considered him a living classicist, an artist who kept his character, others, eclectic and conservative. They all evaluated Max švabinský depending on their own views of art. He was highly regarded by those who allowed a broad view of the possible development of styles that existed in the past. Shvabinsky was severely criticized by the confessors of avant-garde movements in art. To this day, the public’s perception of Shvabinsky’s art is full of contradictions. Time passes, old clichés fall away, and a more accurate and fair view of the work of many authors emerges. The legacy of Max Szwabinski’s work is very large, which testifies to the artist’s enormous capacity for work, as well as to his enormous talent.
Biography and Life History of the Artist
Maximilian Theodor Jan Šwabinský, who lived a long life and created a great number of paintings and graphic works, was born on September 17, 1873, in Kroměříž. His artistic abilities were apparent at a very early age, so as soon as he had graduated from the Industrial School in Kroměříž in 1891, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in Prof. Maximilian Pirner’s class. He studied drawing with Professor Julius Maržák.
His Early Art
Recognition came to him very early and accompanied the artist throughout his life. In addition to his own creativity, Max Švabinský was actively involved in public life. Immediately after his arrival in Prague, he became a member of the Union of Czech Artists “Manes”, named after the outstanding artist Josef Manes. Max Švabinský received his first international recognition in 1904 when he won the gold medal at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.
The Success of the Max Švabinský
After he was awarded the title of professor in 1910, he established an arts department at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, which he maintained until 1927. In 1918, Max Švabinský was among the founders of the Hollar Society of Czech graphic artists, named after the 17th century Czech graphic artist and draftsman, Václav Hollar. Graphics have always been Švabinský’s strong point.
The model for Švabinský’s most famous painting, The Poor Country, featured in the Light in the Picture exhibition, was the artist’s fiancée, Ella Verichová. One of the favorite pastimes of the Verichov family, with whom Schwabinski was friends, was the area of Czech-Moravian Vysočina, where the idea for the painting was born. Max švabinský chudý kraj is still one of the most beautiful landscapes in Czech fine art.
Critics have called the painting a shining example of Czech symbolism. The painting depicts a girl personifying the spirit of the land, the land that, along with Prague, became his second home. As Schwabinski himself wrote, the purpose of this painting was to express “the harmony of the purple heather, the blue sky and the girl who symbolizes the earth.”
To this day, The Poor Country remains one of the most beautiful landscapes in Czech fine art. The play of light and shadow, the clouds in the blue sky that occupy half of the painting are all full of freedom. And the young girl sitting on a small hill covered in purple heather symbolizes the simple beauty of this part of the Czech land.
A number of other works by Švabinský are on show, including the beautiful painting “Fusion of Souls,” in which he depicts himself with his wife Ella Verichová.
Accomplishments in Art
Max Shwabinsky was a master not only in painting and drawing. Several stained-glass windows in the Cathedral of St. Vitus, the main cathedral of the Czech Republic, were made by him. Among them:
Stained-glass window “The Descent of the Holy Spirit” in the Chapel of St. Ludmilla
The stained-glass window is the largest window of the cathedral with the “Last Judgment” theme.
A three-part stained-glass window, “The Holy Trinity”, by the artist after World War II
Two walls Max Švabinský obrazy titled “Czech Spring”.
The artist’s works adorn the Metropolitan Municipal House. He made designs for three Czech bills of 50, 100, and 1,000 crowns.
Shvabinsky spent his last years in Chodov near Prague, in the villa of his friends, creating lithographs of flowers and butterflies. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1933, the title of National Artist in 1945, and six years later he was awarded the Czechoslovak Peace Prize. Max Švabinský died on February 10, 1962 in Prague and was buried in the cemetery in Vyšehrad, next to other prominent members of the Czech nation.
Sources of Inspiration for the Artist
The fascination with butterflies became a common motif in the artist’s work throughout his career. He also loved the stone table in the Palace Garden, a magical and romantic setting that provided the quiet concentration needed for his early drawings. The greenhouses in the Flower Garden were also a great source of inspiration for the budding artist, with many exotic flowers and plants growing there that were found nowhere else in his region.
The inspiration Schwabinski drew from the Kromierzizh greenhouses later transformed into dreamlike images full of exotic vegetation, where people live in harmony with wild animals – in a reality outside of this world.
The woodcuts in the Paradise Sonata collection are an excellent example of Max švabinský grafika work. In them, Shwabinski has created his vision of paradise, where young lovers can walk around without worrying about everyday reality. It is an environment full of lush vegetation and exotic animals, creating a realistic image of a tropical landscape – in fact, Shwabinsky has never physically visited these faraway lands. The greenhouses and gardens of Kroměříž were his main source of inspiration, and in the eyes of his inner child, they must indeed have seemed like a real tropical forest.
Visitors to Kroměříž can experience the same inspiration that influenced Max Švabinský and other artists. Visiting the Flower Garden, the Palace Garden and the Max Švabinský exhibit at the Kroměřížský Museum, you can see the world through the eyes of the artist and understand why he followed the motto “admire nature always and everywhere!” all his life. We believe that over the seventy years of his career Max Švabinský has become the unsurpassed creator of beautiful portraits, graphic cycles, and sketches. After all, the main subject of Shwabinsky’s art has always been people and nature.
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