Author Archive

Unpredictable. Essentially, the very difference between the symbolic and the metaphoric in art resides in the possibility to guess a meaning behind the iconographic representation. In case of symbolist art the complexity (ethimologically, from Latin complicatio, literally “put several things together”) is due to the fact that the symbol shares a complexity of different (sometimes contradictories) meanings behind a painted scene, behind lines, behind colors.

The work of Linzy Kokoska is incredibly filled by symbolist evocations. She’s a living (yes, living !) artist, born in Nova Scotia but who who traveled trough many countries in Europe and Asia (see Linzy Kokoska visual artist profile on Facebook). Her second name, Kokoska, isn’t definitively invented, but it’s real: we don’t know if she’s relative of the famous Oskar Kokoschka, but we know that the spirit of Austria Felix, an aesthetic where coexist a complexity of artistic developments such as expressionism, decorativism, symbolism and secession, is still alive in this contemporary artist.

Unlike many contemporary artists, she doesn’t depict just abstract or non-figurative scenarios: on the contrary, the natural elements in Kokoska’s paintings are present, but the impression is by far superseded by the expression, the outstanding feeling of the artist is every time able to fully takeover the naturalistic representation. The artist’s own eyes and feelings are overcharged and, consequently, her colors completely supersedes the natural colors of objects, of flowers in this case, transfiguring any spectator own expectation based on his previous sensible experiences:

The internal energy and passion of the artist, her expression is able to takeover the colors of the most colorful natural elements par excellance, the flowers: Looking at the painting, one could be able to perceive the different smell of these flowers, charged of a water and icy scent; the author push the spectator to abandon himself to new sensorial feelings no more related to previous experiences, to feel the smell of a particular color,  in a sort of synesthetic approach to the painting. And the same applies to the forms, too:

A further step in the Symbolist direction is performed by Linzy Kokoska combining the perception of natural elements with images and symbols which belong to the incredibly wide universe of this painter’s own sensibility. Again, we are miles away from every Impressionism: natural elements aren’t copied, nor interpreted, but, really, created and transformed in a sort of heraclitean flux. Elements which probably still doesn’t exist per se, that aren’t part of any artist’s previous experience, but that are brought into the painting just after the artist’s own feelings. Quoting Oscar Wilde, the author precedes the Nature, the artist achieves the capability to manage the laws of creation, and she becomes creator of possible worlds where mountains seem to come out from a Russian folk dream, where flowers are growing under the sea under the mysterious forces of a creative Spinozist Nature.

The flow, in the latest painting, which seems to vitalize the flowers, is conceived, by the author, in form of abstract decorative curves and lines. And this represents the major step in the direction of Symbolism. As Henri van de Velde perfectly stated, the lines in decorative or figurative arts, is not just a “beautiful element”, an embellishment which excites the
eye of the spectator. The lines is charged by the energy and the spirituality of the artist who drawn it ! And, definitively, this is the case of Linzy Kokoska, too.

In this painting, she creates a world in which smooth and pastel colors join together with calm lines which seems to be taken out of a Greek  dream:

But in this other painting, spirals and light green, thin curves swirl on themselves in perpetuum motu together with strong and very definite colors, a powerful green flow which constitutes the border, a defensive shield of a bigger and delicate mysterious element.

This painting reveals not just that this lucky artist seems to have the key to enter the Alchemist’s Garden of Philosophers: but also that she maintains in herself some unconscious (fin-dè-siécle) Austrian spirit. When, in 1911, Klimt went to Bruxelles to see his own frieze finally installed in the Stoclet Palace, he was probably aware that many of the future guests of the palace would have regarded at this wall painting as a sort of beautiful eye capturer design. The few would have recognized that the colors and graphic elements of that decorations is a key to enter into an outstanding Forest of Symbols:

Linzy Kokoska is an artist who has her own style, who doesn’t follow any other rules than her passionate desire to live for art. What she’s doing right now is definitively Art Nouveau: and not really because she’s conforming to some ancient Master, or because she’s copying one particular style which developed at the turn of the century. She’s doing Art Nouveau in the proper sense of these words, because she’s freely doing an art which is consequence of her freedom and the time in which she’s living. The problem here is that, while she’s actually a young artist, her style seems to have been passed through two centuries, her time so widespread, not aged, but incredibly experienced, so complex  and indefinable, so unpredictable, and thus so fascinating.

 

The word Japonisme is maybe one of the most used one when dealing with Art Nouveau illustration and graphic art. It is quite a common known statement the influence the graphic art produced in Japan in XVIII and XIX Centuries upon the turn of the century art, in particular, book illustration and graphic.

The reception of this Far East tradition was every time mitigated by the personal taste and style of the authors.

Gustav Klimt was quite receptive to non-European styles and artistic traditions. In his painting, the influences of Byzantine art is quite recognizable, while in graphic art he looks at Japanese one. in These vignettes designed for the Secession exhibition Catalogue (VII exhibition) and Ver Sacrum (Volume 1) his style is interpreting the Japanese using large black areas combined with a fluent line, developed on the vertical, as several Japanese wall paper productions. Klimt was able to characterize the facial expression with very few thin lines, once again like Japanese drawing technique:

Dealing with Austria, professor Koloman Moser was also involved with graphic design, mostly in relationship with the artists work craft named Wiener Werkstaette. Again the lines are well evidenced. Anyway, Kolo Moser used a mixture between curves and segment, between fluent (Art Nouveau) and segmented and straight (as many Wiener Werkstaette productions) lines, creating a tension between the dynamism of the first, and the static hieratic of the latter. facial expression recalls the Japanese art too, but in Moser’s work Japonism is mitigated by the stylistic researches on the melting between straight and curves:

 

Once again Austrian Empire, but Hungarian side. Japanese influences are quite evident in Attila Sassy production. He also used large curve areas filled either by black colors or geometric, repetitive patterns. Female bodies, as in his famous “Opium Dream”  are also constituted by white large area, which includes only essential lines to distinguish anatomic elements:

Lajos Kozma was an illustrator, architect and interior designer. He was really a prolific author (see http://www.szecesszio.com/?p=701). As an illustrator, he developed a personal style in which the overall composition followed the orthogonal lines, either vertical and horizontal; the lines of the drawing became very thin and spotted, contrasted with marked and filled ones, providing really the distinction between dream and reality, between the perceived and the quintessential lines of characters coming from other world, either dreams or super-human ones. White spaces which fragmented the lines are here stylistic elements too, bringing the spectator to other dimensions, accessible just trough the art:

Hungarian as well, Imre Simay was an illustrator and a sculptor too. As illustrator, he maturated his own black/white style after the shadow/light atmospheres of some Japanese and Chinese artistic production. Simay’s style is characterized by overcharged darkness, in which human characters act as in a mysterious world, hiding mostly of their bodies, providing to the spectator the sensati
on of mystic and sensual worlds:

Use of the lines, revisited by other two European artists. Jan Toorop, Dutch, stressed to its limits the abstraction function of the curve lines, removing at all all the traits from the face, and providing expressivity just using concentric lines. The reclining head of the vignette below, has enough symbolic power to let the spectator perceive the feelings of the female (again, female by lines) character (reclining head, meditative position of the shoulder, open arms from which come a fluids toward above worlds …). Not by hazard, the vignette came after an article of the prophet of line, Henri van de Velde.

Adolfo De Karolis (aka De Carolis) is one of the most influencing Italian fin-dè-siécle illustrator. He was the preferred by the Commander-Poet Gabriele d’Annunzio and eventually he was chosen by the Vate to illuminate most of his works. Mainly published for the Edition of Treves brother, the vignettes and illustrations of De Carolis show an indubitable neo-classic inspiration. In any case, his styleis far to be considered eclectic, since even the neo-classic lines and themes are revisited by the special turn of the century taste attitude toward melancholy (decadent) and symbolism (that, in case of De Carolis, presents echoes of pre-Raphaelitism):

Finally, in UK, the one who is considered the master of black/white illustration. An author who dedicated his short live and artistic activity to the monochrome illustration, Aubrey Beardsley. Symbolic and erotic elements, styled using large areas, sometimes huge, of black ink. The Black Cap seems just a large ink spot which gains the shape of a sinuous female figure; The famous “Climax” from the Oscar Wilde’s Salome presents a female figure never before so fatale, where the blood exiting from the Baptist’s head has the flexuous characteristics of the Art Nouveau line.

Lucian’s Strange creatures collect together several grotesque figures who inhabited the author own dreams (or nightmares, perhaps …):

Large black areas and flexuous lines are also characteristic of the maybe most influencing American illustrator, William Bradley. He worked as advertising illustrator for private Companies in the States, and for reviews such as The Inland Printer. The Author was often compared to Beardsley (the figures below were published by the British leading fin-dè-siècle art magazine “The Studio”). Anyway, considering the same subject (the masked woman in Bradley’s “Masked Ball” , and the “Lucian’s Strange Creatures) drawn by Beardsley) the American artist lacks the perverted erotic atmosphere which surrounded the Beardsley’s drawing.

The line for Bradley represented not only a decorative element, but an effective way to suggest the sense of dynamism in his drawings. Again, in “Masked Ball” ideally a curved line begins at the top of the second female character’s cap till the back shoulder, a sort of big “S” which is the ideal join with the complex background, decorated with floral elements (which recall the school of Morris) placed and developed with an S-like movement.

Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration was a leading art magazine in Germany at the turn of the century. An article, on Volume 21, presented the works by Julius Klinger as illustrator. Again, the Japanese influences are quite evident (see first illustration, for example, and the decoration of the vest). Long and sinuous lines remark the luscious character of Klinger’s Femme Fatales, even if, as in many German illustrations (see, for example, illustrations for magazines Pan or Simplicissimus) the female figures are often seen under a sort of ironic perspective. C’est a dire, Une belle dame sans merci, but, maybe, just for fun …

 

Die Nibelungen. Interpreted by Franz Keim (1840-1918) and illustrated by Carl Otto Czeschka (1878-1960) (Wien; Leipzig: Verlag Gerlach u. Wiedling, [1909]

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John Collier is one of those artists who seems having lost their own momentum when they embraced a particular artistic movement or a specific stylistic way. IF the thematic, the historical background, the social aspiration, the style, a certain image of woman which are elements which characterized the Pre-Raphaelite movement could seem outdated in 1900:

One could really wonder if all the above was proposed by an artist still in the late ‘20s. Well, quite surprisingly, this was definitively the case of John Collier:

In due course, Collier became an integral part of the family of Thomas Henry Huxley PC, sometime President of the Royal Society. Collier married two of Huxley’s daughters and was "on terms of intimate friendship" with his son, the writer Leonard Huxley. – from Wikipedia, voice John Collier (painter)

He became quite famous as portrait painter and, due his strict relationships with the English high society, he was commissioned to portrait several members of the good British cultural and political elite. He was able to effectively apply the portrait technique  to historical  subjects too:

Collier died in 1934. His entry in the Dictionary of National Biography (volume for 1931–40, published 1949) compares his work to that of Frank Hollbecause of its solemnity. This is only true, however, of his many portraits of distinguished old men — his portraits of younger men, women and children, and his so-called "problem pictures", covering scenes of ordinary life, are often very bright and fresh.

His entry in the Dictionary of Art (1996 vol 7, p569), by Geoffrey Ashton, refers to the invisibility of his brush strokes as a "rather unexciting and flat use of paint" but contrasts that with "Collier’s strong and surprising sense of colour" which "created a disconcerting verisimilitude in both mood and appearance".

The Dictionary of Portrait Painters in Britain up to 1920 (1997) describes his portraits as "painterly works with a fresh use of light and colour".

One could think, after having read the above introduction, that we are facing quite a traditional artist, who couldn’t move out from strict stylistic rules and genres (the Pre-Raphaelite way of painting), devoted to the elegant portraits of very traditional society as per in England at the turn of the century and before the First World War.

Definitively, there’s something more with Collier. Let’s go further with his portrait of Lilith.

Here the subject came after the reading of the Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem entitled Eden’s Bower (1868):

      It was Lilith the wife of Adam:
                 (Eden bower’s in flower.)
      Not a drop of her blood was human,
      But she was made like a soft sweet woman.

[…]

Between the two paintings which depicted the poem (the Collier’s own and the Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting after his own verses), could be noticed how the style of Collier significantly differs from the Rossetti Pre-Raphaelite taste. The Lilith of Rossetti was depicted in form of a seductive woman, where the tonal accent resides on the red of the lips, of the hairs and of the flowers. The figure of the woman herself was represented as she was a frivol young lady seeking for a rich entitled gentlemen to be seduced by her beauty and luscious attitude. The frivol temperament of the character is also charged by the detail of the mirror (a typical woman toilette’s accessory) and the face expression, which looks like the one of a concubine who relies just on his fatal body rather than on her fascinating nor intelligent expression.

Luscious, evil, but also with a sinister fascinating light in her eyes: the Collier’s Lilith far beyond the posh puppy depicted by Rossetti. Lilith here is the classical femme fatale: colors are darkened, with evident dark yellow of the flesh (which recalls somewhat late Renaissance nudes). Lilith finally is painted adorned by the Snake, the very symbolic element associated with the Mesopotamia Goddess. She’s enjoying the contact with the morbid skin of the Snake, and she seems to completely rely upon her fascinating attitude, which could bound every man at her fee
t with the same luscious strength of the snake.

Collier’s female figure, then, is far from being a posh baby à là Rossetti: she’s really a Goddess, with elements far from the traditional figure of Mary Mother of God, but which seem much more related to the Femme Fatale iconography of the Symbolist paintings at the turn of the Century. Lilith here looks much more like the same character painted by Franz von Stuck rather than a Pre-Raphaelite nun or Madonna-like weak female. She’s a female who is really in charge, just like Venus in respect of Tannhauser (as in another Collier painting). Again, the theme goes beyond the Reinassance or English mythology of the Pre-Raphaelite, and recalls directly one of the most influencing artist at the turn of the Century, the initiator of the GesamtKunstwerk idea, Richard Wagner.

Woman Goddess, woman with the double aspect of passionate mother and passionate lover, the tenderness of the mother, the seductive evil of the animal passions:

The clothes are red, the sight fierce, the woman is able to relate herself with the under-terrain forces. The woman is a medium, just like a Priestess of Delphi.

This is the strange case of John Collier, himself too suspended between the idyllic sleepy atmosphere à là Burne-Jones & Rossetti, and the New Art which was possible, at the turn of the Century, just having proudly discover and depicted the real complexity of the Eternal Feminine.

Simbolismo è apertura: e non al significato, come lo è l’allegoria.

Il simbolo non apre la porta all’irruzione del significato ma, in vece, esso dischiude inaudite potenzialità di interpretazione da parte del percepiente.

Il Simbolo è faticoso, e non solamente per chi lo concepisce, lo accarezza, ed infine lo mostra: ma il pericolo è il mostrato, e la fatica diviene titanica da parte di chi, impattato da esso, se ne voglia nutrire. Il simbolo, negli occhi del percepiente, conflagra come un enorme mare imbizzarrito: esso rende nervosi e mantiene svegli, irrequieti come lo sono gli assidui bevitori di caffè.

La linea simmetrica è calmante perché si riflette, non lascia spazi a novità od a sposizionamenti. Ciò che è simmetrico è commensurabile, intuibile, ricostruibile senza sforzo da parte del percepiente.

Differente il caso di linea mancante di simmetria, ovvero senza possibilità alcuna di essere totalmente com-presa (considerata completamente, nel totale insieme di ogni sua possibile declinazione).

La riconoscete: è proprio questa, la linea Art Nouveau. Simbolica nella sua astratta fuga dal rappresentato, svincolata da ogni naturalismo rappresentativo, nella quale non vi è presente alcun residuo di significato. La linea Art Nouveau non costituisce alcun segno, non fotografa e non cita, è antinarrativa, è metastorica, non descrive, non si conforma, come fosse un delicato abito di seta, alle forme del corpo che avviluppa. Non c’è alcun corpo descritto da quei tratti sinuosi, e la loro femminea delicatezza è prodromo di una altrettanto femminea ferocia guerriera.

La linea Art Nouveau è quanto di meno platonico possa esservici nell’arte: essa non è copia di copia, poiché non è copia di alcunché. In essa non troviamo le rappresentazioni naturali, ma percepiamo le forze intrinseche che generano quelle forme. La linea Art Nouveau possiede in sè la forza dell’artista che le ha tracciate, l’energia creatrice che fa di esse un’arte che si ri-genera, e non imita, un’arte del dirsi sempre nuova, e non già del detto (o scritto) su tavole colossali, su tavole di pietra eterna. E’ un eternamente, e non un eterno.

E, dunque, ci vuole una forza folle per sostenere l’impatto estetico con quell’a intensa energia simbolica. Di più. L’opera rigenerativa che il simbolo astratto e non-formato della Linea Art Nouveau necessita di uno sguardo che non solamente la contempli, ma che ne sappia cogliere l’energia per lasciar continuare quei flutti arricciati nelle imprevedibili direzioni e movimenti del sinuoso tratto. Uno spettatore che non aspetti, ma che sappia coinvolgersi in quelle linee, che se ne lasci trasportare, oltre, eccitare ed esaltare.

Linee fitomorfe, che ingabbiano e stritolano come serpenti chi non abbia l’ardire e la conoscenza di comprendere che l’energia che ha dato origine a quella linea è costituita dal medesimo elàn vitale dell’essere umano che ancor abbia volontà di godere, di godere del bello. Come scriveva D’Annunzio:

La sua bellezza non mi stanca mai: mi suggerisce sempre un sogno

Continuare quelle sinuose linee senza mai completarle, poiché la forza che ne ha scaturito il getto è potenza vitale, una vita eraclitea, rinvigorita nella continuata presenza.

La linea Art Nouveau davvero mal si adatta a spettatori parvenu o critici di mestiere: essa evoca terribili forze oscure, agghiaccianti come urla di Erinni, sinuose e fascinose come sguardo di Atena. Queste linee così pericolosamente femminili sono baci rubati dalle bocche dei Risvegliati e degli Esteti …

As a follow up to the post dedicated to the work of Osvald Polivka I would like to present two decorative elements on the façade of the Topič building, work due to the Czech sculptor Ladislav Jan Šaloun.

Ladislav Jan Šaloun (b Prague, 1 Aug 1870; d Prague, 18 Oct 1946). was student of the sculptors Thomas Seidan (1830-90) and Bohuslav Schnirch. As many artists and sculptures at the turn-of-the-century, Šaloun  too was influenced by the work and style of Auguste Rodin, whose Prague exhibition he saw in 1902. The vagueness of the shapes, the formation of figures from the raw marble, the pathos of the composition, the dramatic expressions of the characters, were elements which Šaloun admired in the works of Rodin.

In Hradecko, in the Secession building due to the architect Osvald Polívka 1912 other works of Ladislav Šaloun are characterized by an evident sensual and melancholic mood. Abandoned the vagueness of the unformed marble material, shapesd in a more classicist or neo-renaissance style, these statues are notwithstanding characterized by an introspective attitude, a typical “humor noir”, a melancholic expression of the faces which recalls the title of a philosophical work of Theophrastus, the Melancholy of the Genius. This feeling is typical symbolist and decadent attitude:

Symbolism. The symbolic element, remarked by the beauty of the Art Nouveau line, engraved by typical Secese female figures. The smooth gesture and the dreaming attitude of the sculptured women on the Topič building façade are somewhat similar to a magazine vignette rather than a plastic sculpture, completely different from the style of the previous Šaloun works.

By a pure aesthetic point of view, some noticeable similarities between one of the sculpture and a woman depicted for a poster of Alphonse Mucha: position of the head, dreaming and ecstatic sight, spatial position of bodies and shoulders. A typical fin-de-siécle Czech sensibility toward arts ?

 

A very mysterious manuscript was traveling through north and center Europe in the last few months as well as in the last few centuries. The Story itself is quite intriguing since the legends wants the Manuscript have being written by a monk under the Faustian supervision and consulting of Lucifer himself. From The Prague Post, September 12th, 2007 issue

 

By Sezin Rajandran

For the Post

How does one gauge the value of a soul? Faust learned this lesson the hard way, by selling his soul and then regretting it. American musician Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul in order to become the best guitar player the blues had ever seen.

To the Bohemian monk who created the Codex Gigas,otherwise known as the Devil’s Bible, legend has it the price of his soul was worth the one night it took to create the biggest medieval book in the world.

The Devil’s Bible was taken as war booty from a small monastery in Podlažice, near Chrudim, by the Swedish Army during the Thirty Years’ War. For the past 359 years, it’s been on display in the National Library of Sweden. And now it’s coming back — albeit only temporarily, in a special exhibit at the National Library in Prague that opens Sept. 20 and runs through Jan. 6.

The air of mystery surrounding this amazing artifact has been deepened by the National Library’s refusal to say a single word about the exhibit prior to a press conference Sept. 18. But the basic facts about the book are well-known.

Made of the skins of about 160 animals — some say donkeys, others say calves — the manuscript measures a king-size 90 x 50 x 22 centimeters (roughly 36 x 20 x 9 inches) and weighs 75 kilos (165 pounds), requiring two people to lift it.

According to the National Library’s Web site (www.nkp.cz), legend holds that a monk was sentenced to be buried alive for a breach in Benedictine conduct. In order to forgo his punishment, he agreed to make the most magnificent book the world had ever seen in honor of his brotherhood. The catch was that he was given just one night to complete this Herculean task.

Around midnight, the monk realized he would not be able to finish by daylight, so he invoked the devil to help him, selling his soul in the process. As a tribute to his helper, the monk included a quirky image of the devil within the manuscript, thus giving the book its nickname.

The real story of the Codex Gigas is not fully known, but no less intriguing. Although there are no records of the origins of the book or its author, the first mention of theCodex Gigas appeared in the year 1295. However, the National Library Web site notes it is very likely that the Devil’s Bible dates to as early as 1229. Scholars believe the book was most likely the life’s work of one scribe, who is estimated to have spent 20 years or more creating it. The unity of the writing, as well as the synchronization of the overall composition and minute details, supports the idea that it was the work of a single person.

The leather parchment pages contain both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible in pre-Vulgate Latin and much more: a Penitential (a priest’s manual of sins and suitable penance); Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae, a 20-volume encyclopedia from the seventh century; Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews; a necrology of the Podlažice monastery as well as a list of all the living monks in Podlažice; and numerous texts of mystical incantations for everything from curing illnesses to catching thieves.

In terms of local history, perhaps the most significant entry is the Chronicle of Bohemia (Chronica Bohemorum), written by Cosmas of Prague, which details major points of Bohemian history and genealogy.

While the secrecy surrounding the return of the Devil’s Bible is intriguing and curious, it’s not entirely inappropriate. Years ago, the Codex Gigas was attacked while on display in the National Library of Sweden; details of that event are still sketchy. Access to the book’s various incantations has always been restricted. And the fact that a primarily religious work includes codified pagan and mystical beliefs makes the book an extremely rare and even more bizarre artifact.

[…]

The special Lucifer signature in form of an illuminated figure of a Daemon, is well visible in the infamous page 289 recto:

and what about the relationship with Prague ? Within the several manuscripts which constitute the whole book, there is also the famous text  Chronica Bohemorum, written by Cosmas of Prague. The books 4 till 9 of this text report the legend of Princess Libuse, the mythical founder of the city of Prague ! (courtesy of Czech Digital Library, http://www.manuscriptorium.com)

Capitulum quartum

Quarum maior natu nuncupata est Kazi que Medee Cholchice herbis et carmine nec Peonio magistro arte medicinali cessit, quia sepe Parcas cessare interminali ab opere.

Ipsaque fata sequi fecit sua carmine iussa. Unde et incole huius terre, quando aliquid est perditum et quod se posse rehaberedesperant, tale proverbium de ea ferunt: "Illud nec ipsa potestrecuperare Kazi."

Ad Cereris natam hec est ubi rapta tyrannam, eius usque hodie cernitur tumulus, ab incolis terre ob memoriam sue domme nimis alte congestus, super ripam fluminis Mse iuxta viam, qua itur in partes provincie Behin, per montem qui dicitur Osseca ..

Laude fuit digna, sed natu Tethka secunda, Expers et maris, emuncte femine naris, que ex suo nomine Tethin castrum natura loci firmissimum prerupte rupis in culmine iuxta fluvium Msam edificavit. Hec stulto et insipienti populo Oreadas, Driadas, Amadriadasadorare et colere et omnem supersticiosam sectam ac sacrilegosritus instituit et docuit; sicut actenus multi villani velut pagani, hic latices seu ignes colit, iste lucos et arbores aut lapides adorat, ille montibus sive collibus litat, alius, que ipse fecit, idola surda et muta rogat et orat, ut domum suam et se ipsum regant.

Tertia natu minor, sed prudentia maior, vocitata est Lubossa, que etiam tunc potentissimam iuxta silvam, que tendit ad pagumZtibecnam, construxit et ex suo nomine eam Lubossin vocitavit. Hec fuit inter femi

nas una prorsus femina in
consilio provida, in sermone strennua, corpore casta, moribus proba, ad dirimenda populi iudicia nulli secunda, omnibus affabilis, sed plus amabilis, feminei sexus decus et gloria, dictans negocia providenter virilia. Sed quia nemo ex omni parte beatuspozn., talis ac tante laudis femina – heu dira conditio humana – fuit phitonissa. Et quia populo multa et certa predixit futura, omnis illa gens commune cnsilium iniens patris eius post necem hanc sibi prefecit in iudicem. Ea tempestate inter duos cives, opibus et genere eminentiores et qui videbantur populi esse rectores, orta est non modica litigio agri contigui de termino pozn.. Qui in tantum proruperunt in mutuam rixam, ut alter alterius spissam unguibus volaret in barbam, et nudis conviciis semet ipsos turpiter digito sub nasum confundentes intrant bachantes curiam ac non sine magno strepitu adeunt domnam et, ut ratione iusticie dubiam inter eosdirimat causam, suppliciter rogant. Illa interim, ut est lasciva mollicies mulierum, quando non habet quem timeat virum, cubito subnixapozn.ceu puerum enixa, alte in pictis stratis nimis molliter acubabat.Cumque per callem iusticiepozn.incedens, personam hominum non respiciens tocius controversie inter eos orte causam ad statum rectitudinis perduceret, tunc is, cuius causa in iudicio non obtinuit palmam, plus iusto indignatus terque quaterque caput concussitpozn.et more suo terram ter baculo percussit ac barbam pleno ore saliva conspergenspozn.exclamat: O iniuria viris haud toleranda! Femina rimosa virilia iudicia mente tractat dolosa. Scimus profecto, quia femina sive stans seu in solio residens parum sapit, quanto minus, cum in stratis accubat? Re vera tunc magis est ad accessum mariti apta quam dictare militibus iura. Certum est enim longos esse crinespozn. omnibus, sed breves sensus mulieribus. Satius est moripozn., quam viris talia pati. Nos solos obprobrium nationibus et gentibus destituit natura, quibus deest rector et virilis censura, et quos premunt feminae iura. Ad hec domna illatam sibi contumeliam dissimulans et dolorem cordis femineo pudore celans subrisit et Ita est, inquit, ut ais; femina sum, femina vivo, sed ideo parum vobissapere videor, quia vos non in virga ferreapozn. iudico, et quoniam sine timore vivitis, merito me despicitis. Nam ubi est timorpozn. pozn., ibi honor. Nunc autem necesse est valde, ut habeatis rectorem femina ferociorem. Sic et columbepozn. olim albiculum milvum, quemsibi elegerant in regem, spreverunt, ut vos me spernitis, et accipitrem multo ferociorem sibi ducem prefecerunt, qui fingens culpas tam nocentes quam innocentes cepit necare; et ex tunc usque hodie vescitur columbis accipiter. Ite nunc domum, ut quem vos cras eligatis in dominum, ego assumam mihi in maritum.

Interea predictas advocat sorores, quas non inpares agitabantfurores, quarum magica arte et propria ludificabat populum per omnia; ipsa enim Lubossa fuit, sicut prediximus, phitonissa, utChumeaSibilla, altera venefica ut Colchis Medea, tercia malefica, ut Aeaeae Circes pozn.. Illa nocte quid consilii inierint ille tres Eumenidesaut quid secreti egerint, quamvis ignotum fuerit, tamen omnibus luce clarius mane patuit, cum soror earum Lubossa et locum, ubi duxfuturus latuit, et quis esset nomine indicavit. Quis enim cerederet, quod de aratro sibi ducem prerogarent? Aut quis sciret, ubi araret, qui rector populi fieret? Quid enim phitonicus furor nescit? Aut quid est, quod magica ars non efficit? Potuit Sibilla Romano populo seriem fatorum fere usque in diem iudicii predicere, que etiam, si fas est crederepozn., de Christo vaticinata est, sicut quidam doctorpozn. in sermone sue predicationis versus Virgilii pozn. ex persona Sibille de adventu Domini compositos introducit. Potuit Medea herbis et carmine sepe e celo Hyperionem et Berecinthiam deducerepozn.; potuit ymbres, fulgura et tonitrua elicere de nubibus; potuit regemEgacum pozn. de sene facere iuvenem. Carmine Circes socii Ulixesconversi suntpozn. in diversas ferarum formas et rex Picuspozn. in volucrem, que nunc dicitur picus. Quid mirum? Quanta egerunt artibus suis magi in Egypto, qui pene totidem mira carminibus suis fecerunt, quot Dei famulus Moyses ex virtute Dei exhibuisse perhibetur. Hactenus hecpozn..

Capitulum quintum

Posterea die, ut iussum fuerat, sine mora convocant cetum,congregant populum; conveniunt simul omnes in unum, feminaresidens in sublimi solio concionatur ad agrestes viros: O plebs miseranda nimis, que libera vivere nescit, et quam nemo bonus nisi cum vita amittitpozn., illam vos non inviti libertatem fugitis et insuete servituti colla sponte submittitis. Heu tarde frustra vos penitebit, sicut ranaspozn.penituit, cum ydrus, quem sibi fecerant regem, eas necare cepit. Aut si nescitis, que sint iura ducis, temptabo vobis ea verbis dicere paucis. Imprimis facile est ducem ponere, sed difficile est positum deponere; nam qui modo est sub vestra potestate, utrum eum constituatis ducem an non, postquam vero constitutus fuerit, vos et omnia vestra erunt eius in potestate. Huius in conspectu vestra febricitabunt genua, et muta sicco palato adherebit lingua pozn.pozn.. Ad cuius vocem pre nimio pavore vix respondebitis: „Ita domine, ita domine“, cum ipse solo suo nutu sine vestro preiudicio hunc dampnabit et hunc obtruncabit, istum in carcerem mitti, illum precipiet in patibulo suspendi. Vospozn.ipsos et ex vobis, quos sibi libet, alios servos, alios rusticos, alios tributarios, alios exactores, alios tortores, alios precones, alios cocos seu pistores aut molendinarios faciet. Constituet etiam sibi tribunos, centuriones, villicos, cultores vinearum simul et agrorum, messores segetum, fabros armorum, sutores pellium diversarum et coriorum. Filios vestros et filias in obsequiis suis ponet; de bubus etiam et equis sive equabus seu peccoribus vestris optima queque ad suumplacitumtollet. Omnia vestra, que sunt potiora in villis, in campis, in agris, in pratis, in vineis, auferet et in usus suos rediget. Quid multis moror
? Aut ad quid hec, quasi vos ut terream, loquor? Si persistitis inincepto et non fallitis voto, iam vobis et nomen ducis et locum ubi est indicabo. Ad hec vulgus ignobilepozn. confuso exultat clamore; omnes uno ore ducem sibi poscunt dari. Quibus illa: En, inquit, en ultra illos montes – et monstravit digito montes – est fluvius non adeo magnus nomine Belina, cuius super ripam dinoscitur esse villa, nomineZtadici pozn.. Huius in territorio est novale unum in longitudine et inlatitudineXII passuum, quod mirum in modum, cum sit inter tot agros in medio positum, ad nullum tamen pertinet agrum. Ibi dux vester duobus variis bubus arat; unus bos precinctus est albedine et albo capite, alter a fronte post tergum albus et pedes posteriores habens albos. Nunc, si vobis placet, meum accipite thalitarium et clamidem ac mutatoria duce digna et pergite ac mandata populi atque mea referte viro et adducite vobis ducem et mihi maritum. Viro nomenestPrimizl, qui super colla et capita vestra iura excogitabit plura; nam hoc nomen latine sonat premeditans vel superexcogitans. Huius proles posterahac in omni terra in eternum regnabit et ultra pozn..

Capitulum sextum

Interea destinantur, qui iussa domne et plebis ad virum perferant nuncii; quos ut vidit domna quasi inscios de via cunctari: Quid, inquit,cunctamini? Ite securi, meum equum sequimini, ipse vos ducet recta via et reducetpozn., quia ab illo non semel illa via est trita.

Vana volat famapozn., nec non et opinio falsa, quod ipsa domna equitatu phantasmatico semper in noctis conticinio solita sit ire illo et redire pre gallicinio, quod Iudeus credat Apellapozn.. Quid tum? Procedunt nuncii sapienter indocti, vadunt scienter nesciipozn.vestigia sequentes equi. Iamque montes transierant, iam iamque appropinquabant ville, ad quam ibant, tum illlis puer unus obviam currit, quem interrogantes aiunt: Heus bone indolis puer, estne villa ista nomine Ztadici aut si, est in illa vir nomine Primizl? Ipsa est, inquit, quam queritis villa, et ecce vir Primizl prope in agro boves stimulat, ut quod agit cicius opus peragat. Ad quem nuncii accendentes inquiunt: Vir fortunate, dux nobis diis generate! pozn. Et, sicut mos est rustieis, non sufficit semel dixisse, sed inflata bucca ingeminant: Salve dux, salve, magna dignissime laude, Solve boves, muta vestes, ascende caballum!Et monstrant vestessternutantemquecaballum. Domna nostra Lubossa et plebs universa mandat, ut cito venias et tibi ac tuis nepotibus fatale regnum accipias. Omnia nostra et nos ipsi in tua manu sumuspozn., te ducem, te iudicem, te rectorem, te protectorem, te solum nobis in dominum eligimus. Ad quam vocem vir prudens, quasi futuroruminscius, substitit et stimulum, quem manu gestabat, in terram fixit et solvens boves: Ite illuc, unde venistis!dixit; qui statim cicius dicto ab oculis evanueruntpozn., et nusquam amplius comparuerunt. Corilus autem, quam humi fixit, tres altas propaginespozn. et, quod est mirabilius, cum follis et nucibus produxit. Viri autem ili videntes hec talia ita fieri stabant obstupefacti. Quos ille grata vice hospitum invitat ad prandium et de pera subere contexta excutit muscidum panem et formatici partem et ipsam peram in cespite pro mensa et super rude textum ponit et cetera. Interea dum prandium sumunt, dum aquam de anphora bibunt, due propagines sive virgulta duo aruerunt et ceciderunt, sed tercia multo alcius et lacius accrescebat. Unde hospitibus maior excrevit ammiratio cum timore. Et ille: Quid ammiramini? inquit. Sciatis, ex nostra progenie multos dominos nasci, sed unum semper dominari. Atqui si domna vestra non adeo de hac re festinaret, sed permodicum tempus currentia fata expectaret, ut pro me tam cito non mitteret, quot natos heriles natura proferret, tot dominos terra vestra haberet.

Capitulum septimum

Post hec indutus veste principali et calciatus calciamento regali acrem ascendit equum arator; tamen sue sortis non inmemor tollit secum suos coturnos ex omni parte subere consutos, quos fecit servari in posterum; et servantur Wissegrad in camera ducis usque hodie et in sempiternumpozn.. Factum est autem, dum per compendia viarumpozn. irent nec tamen adhuc illi nuncii ceu ad novicium dominum familiarius loqui auderent, sed sicut columbe, si quando aliqua peregrina ad eas accedit, inprimis eam pavescunt et mox in ipso volatu eam assuefaciunt et eam quasi propriam faciuntet diligunt; sic illi cum fabularentur equitantes et sermocinationibus iter adbreviarent ac iocando per scurilia verba laborem fallerent, unus, qui erat audacior et lingua promptior: O domine, dic, inquit,nobis, ad quid hos coturnos subere consutos et ad nihilum nisi utproiciantur aptos nos servare fecisti; non satis possumus admiraripozn.. Quibus ille: Ad hec , inquit, eos feci et faciam in evum servari, ut nostri posteri sciant, unde sint orti, et ut semper vivant pavidi et suspecti neu homines a Deo sibi commissospozn. iniuste opprimant per superbiam, quia facti sumus omnes equales per naturam. Nunc autem et mihi liceat vos vicissim percontari, utrum magis laudabile est de paupertate ad dignitatem provehi an de dignitate in paupertatem redigi? Nimirum respondebitis mihi, melius esse provehi ad gloriam quam redigi ad inopiam. Atqui sunt nonnuli parentela geniti ex nobili, sed post ad turpem inopiam redacti et miseri facti; cum suos parentespozn. gloriosos fuisse et potentes aliis predicant, haudignorant, quod semetipsos inde plus confundunt et deturpant, cum ipsi per suam hoc amiserunt ignaviam, quod illi habuerunt per industriam. Nam fortuna semper hanc ludit aleam sua rota, ut nunc hos erigat ad summa, nunc illos mergat in infima. Unde fit, ut dignitas terrena, que erat aliquando ad gloriam, amissa sit ad ignominiam. At vero paupertas per virtutem victa non se celat sub pelle lupina, sed victorem suum tollit ad sydera, quem olim secum traxerat ad inferapozn..

Capitulum octavum

Postea vero quam iter emensi fuerant et iam iamque prope ad urbem venerant, obviam eis domna stipata suis satellitibus accelerat et inter se consertis dextris cum magna leticia tecta subeunt, thoris discumbunt, Cerere et Bacho corpora reficiunt, cetera noctis spacia Veneri et Himineo indulgent. Hic vir, qui vere ex virtutis merito dicendus est virpozn., hanc efferam gentem legibus frenavit et indomitum populum imperio domuit et servituti, qua nunc premitur, subiugavit atque omnia iura, quibus hec terra utitur et regitur
, solus cum sola Lubossa dictavit.

Capitulum nonum

Inter hec primordia legum quandam die predicta domna phitone concicata presente viro suo Primizl et aliis senioribus populiastantibus sic est vaticinata: Urbem conspicio, fama que sydera tangetpozn. pozn., Est locus in silva, villa qui distat ab ista Terdenis stadiis, quem Wlitaua terminat undis. Hunc ex parte aquilonali valde munit valle profunda rivulus Bruznica; at australi ex latere latus mons nimis petrosus, qui a petris dicitur Petrin, supereminet loca. Loci autem mons curvatur in modum delphini, marini porci, tendens usque in predictum amnem. Ad quem cum perveneritis, invenietis hominem in media silva limen domus operantem. Et quia ad humile limen etiam magni domini se inclinant, ex eventu rei urbem, quam edificabitis, vocabitis Pragampozn.. Hac in urbe olim in futurum bine auree ascendent olivepozn. pozn., que cacumine suo usque adseptimum penetrabunt celumpozn. et per totum mundum signis et miraculis coruscabunt. Has in hostiis et muneribus colent et adorabunt omnes tribus terrepozn. Boemie et nationes relique. Una ex his vocabitur Maior Gloria, altera Exercitus Consolacio pozn. pozn..

Plura locutura erat, si non fugisset spiritus pestilens et prophetans a plasmate Dei. Continuo itur in antiquam silvampozn. et reperto dato signo in predicto loco urbem, tocius Boemie domnam, edificantPragam. Et quia ea tempestate virgines huius terre sine iugo pubescentes veluti Amazonespozn. militaria arma affectantes et sibi ductrices facientes pari modo uti tirones militabant, venacionibus per silvas viriliter insistebant, non eas viri, sed ipsemet sibi viros, quos et quando voluerunt, accipiebant et, sicut gens Scitica Plauci sivePicenatici pozn., vir et femina in habitu nullum discrimen habebant. Unde in tantum feminae excrevit audacia, ut in quadam rupe non longe a predicta urbe oppidum natura loci firmum sibi construerent, cui a virginali vocabulo inditum est nomen Devin pozn.. Quod videntes iuvenes contra eas nimio zelo indignantes multo plures insimul conglobati non longius quam unius bucine in altera rupe inter arbusta edificant urbem, quam moderni nuncupant Wissegrad, tunc autem ab arbustis traxerat nomen Hvrastenpozn. pozn.. Et quia sepe virgines sollertiores ad decipiendos iuvenes fiebant, sepe autem iuvenes virginibus fortiores existebant, modo bellum, modo pax inter eos agebatur. Et dum interposita pace pociuntur, placuit utrisque partibus, ut componerent cibis et potibus symbolum et per tres dies sine armis sollempnem insimul agerent ludum in constituto loco. Quid plura? Non aliter iuvenes cum puellis ineunt convivia, ac si lupi rapaces querentes edulia, ut intrarent ovilia. Primam diem epulis et nimiis potibus hilarem ducunt. Dumque volunt sedare sitim, sitis altera crevitpozn., Leticiamque suam iuvenes vix noctis ad horamdifferunt. Nox erat et celo fulgebat luna serenopozn., Inflans tunc lituum dedit unus eis ita signum dicens: Lusistis satis, edistis satis atque bibistispozn.; Surgite, vos rauco clamat Venus aurea sistropozn.. Moxque singulipozn. singulas rapuere puellas. Mane autem facto iam pacis inito pacto, sublatis Cerere et Bacho ex earum oppido murus Lemniaco vacuos indulgent Vulcano. Et ex illa tempestate post obitum principis Lubosse sunt mulieris nostrates virorum sub potestate.

Sed quoniam omnibus Ire quidem restat, Numa quo venit et Ancuspozn., Primizl iam plenus dierumpozn., postquam iura instituit legum, quemcoluitvivus ut deum, raptus est ad Cereris generumpozn.. Cui Nezamizl succcessit in regnum. Hunc ubi mors rapuit, Mnata principales obtinuit fasces. Quo decedente ab hac vitaVoyn suscepit rerum gubernacula. Huius post fatum Vnizlau rexit ducatum. Cuius vitam dum rumpunt Parce, Crezomizl locatur sedis in arce. Hoc sublato e medio Neclan ducatus potitur solio. Hic ubi vitadiscessit, Gostivit throno successitpozn.. Horum ugitur principum de vita eque et morte siletur, tum quia ventri et somno dediti, inculti et indocti assimilati sunt peccori, quibus profecto contra naturam corpus voluptati, anima fuit oneripozn.; tum quia non erat illo in tempore, qui stilo acta eorum commendaret memorie. Sed sileamus, de quibus siletur, et redeamus, unde paulo deviavimus.

 

Osvald Polívka born 24. 5. 1859 was one of the most influencing Czech Architect. He studied architecture as well as building engineering. Polívka began the career under the guide of  prof. J. Zítka, and finally began his first project in 1890. His style was definitively influenced by Art Nouveau. Serpentine lines as well as phytomorphic motifs are present on his facades.

Combination of naturalistic and phytomorphic elements are well noticeable in this apartment house build in 1901-2:

Even if the facade is clearly Secese styled however it has still some neoclassic and eclectic elements and the curves of the decor´s lines are contrasting the classicist elements of the building (in the detail, the female face and the phytomorphic element seem struggle in a battle with the conservative static container of the neo-greek frieze).

Fully Secessionist, on the contrary, the building for the U Novaků Department Store, which also include a mosaic sketched by the famous Czech painter Jan Preisler. 

 

Really outstanding are the zoomorphological decorations:

And the mosaic of Jan Preisler, also, characterized this building, one of the most interesting of the Czech Secese:

And, finally, the internal galleria, with decorated glasses and mirrors:

Topič building, 1903-6, another great work, with a façade which mixes Viennese elements with the outstanding decorative taste of Osvald Polívka:

… TO BE CONTINUED

This post will be the first of a series.I will try to digitize my very Art Nouveau/Jugendstil/Secession oriented library and share it with you.
First digitizedbook of the new Bibliophilia section is Die Träumenden Knaben, a poem written and illustrated by the Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka. This version is a close copy of the original booklet printed in 1908.

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