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Easter is one of the main icons of Czech Symbolism of the 1890s. By this work Jan Preisler drew the attention to himself as a strong talent in the coming generation. He made this coal-drawing triptych in 1895 and with this first autonomous work he also introduced himself to the public. He won the prestigious Goldstein prize in the competition for the best drawing for the Světozor illustrated magazine, which published it on April 10, 1896 as a large-size representative reproduction, with a commentary. One year later the drawing was shown at the exhibition of the Krasoumná jednota and was positively appraised by critics for its formal perfection and depth of emotion. Due to this work Preisler was discovered as a “new strong Czech talent”. In the popular triptych form, conceived as a paraphrase of the altarpiece, Preisler treated the theme of the mystical experience of a young man – a shepherd boy, his vision of the spiritual and psychical awakening, linked with the awakening nature, the onset of a new natural cycle, and evoked by the sounds of the Easter bells and by visual scenes. The artistic expression of the work is unusual, with no trace of descriptiveness or literariness. The symbol of Easter, Christ’s crucifixion, connected with spiritual transformation of man, is expressed by the artist as a passionate experience of the secular figure placed in the middle part of the triptych. The lively Symbolist atmosphere of the drawing develops the Pre-Raphaelite trends in art, which found a unique expression in Preisler.

Details

  • Title: Easter
  • Creator: Jan Preisler
  • Date: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: 54,5 x 16,5 cm, 54,5 x 43,0 cm, 54,5 x 16,5 cm
  • Medium: coal, paper

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