Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Czech Church Art

One of the most frustrating things about my research into the Archaeological Society trip to South Bohemia is that every time I try to visit a church I find it locked. Being British I expect to walk in and look around or at least go to a nearby house to collect a key. On a walk with a friend I discussed why this was and she told me about the problem the country has with thefts from churches. As a result churches have to be locked up and visitors like myself denied.

Now Ceske Novinny has run an article on the problem which shocked and appalled me. Apparently 90 per cent of religious buildings have been burgled since 1989.

In the article the diocesan heritage preserver to the Prague Archbishopric is quoted as saying "About a half of Gothic and Renaissance works of art and roughly one-third of baroque artefacts have disappeared (from Czech churches) in the past 20 years."

The culprits are often organized gangs linked to specialist foreign art traffickers who take the stolen artefacts across the border to Austria and Germany. The situation has been exacerbated by the relaxation of the border with the creation of the Schengen area. It is a terrible thing that these precious artefacts, which have a religious and cultural value which exceeds their monetary one, managed to survive atheist communism only to fall foul of black market forces under democracy.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Themes in the Blog - Czech Customs and Culture

As the blog gets larger I thought I might help readers interested in certain topics by creating some pages which list the blog's content by theme. I promise to update the pages as new posts are added.

The themes are: Czech Nature, Czech Customs & Culture, Places to visit in South Bohemia, Buying and Restoring a Czech House, Czech History and Politics, Day to Day Life in the Czech Republic. This post covers Czech Customs and Culture, click on the links above for the others.

CZECH CUSTOMS AND CULTURE

Monday, 21 December 2009

Egon Schiele and Cesky Krumlov


When it comes to local artists none is more famous than Egon Schiele. Schiele moved to his mother's hometown Cesky Krumlov in 1911 with his girlfriend and model Wally Neuzil. He had been visiting the town since his childhood and had been inspired by it to do some of his earliest work, including his earliest landscape - of the Budweiser gate. Although his life in the town came to an abrupt end in the face of the anger from the local burghers, who were shocked by his use of young girls as models, he returned to the town time and again for short stays to sketch the architecture, often from the hills above.

Now of course all is forgiven and Cesky Krumlov celebrates his work. The Egon Schiele Centrum is a major attraction - a large art gallery offering a small celebration of Schiele's life and work together with large visiting art exhibitions by different artists. The exhibitions vary in their interest, but it is always worth checking what is on at the Centrum if you are visiting Cesky Krumlov.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Czech Art


I have just been enjoying a fascinating post on the blog Adventures in the Print Trade about Czech Graphics of the 1970s. As I indicated in a previous post on Jiri Trnka - a visit to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Trade Fair Palace in Prague first opened my eyes to the wealth and creativity of Czech artists that was hidden by the Iron Curtain, and it is good to see Neil of the Print Trade blog making the same discovery.

One of the delights of discovering Czech art and especially its graphics is for me the influence of fairytales - another reason why I am not surprised that it has struck a chord with Neil, who is an authority on the subject. Fairytales seem to have infused Czech life in a way that is very special. So often people coming to my part of the world will comment that Cesky Krumlov is a fairytale place. And whilst visually I can see why people might say this, I think it is something more profound, something deep in the Czech pysche, that is calling.

Czech graphics are distinctive. There is something playlike about them, they have a humour that can be dark (like many a Grimm fairytale) but also are light of touch. My Czech puppeteer friend who first introduced me to this place is also, among her many accomplishments, a wonderful artist. In particular I like her prints. She was always being told when she was living and working in England how unusual her art was. Without in anyway diminishing the standard and originality of her work I now can see that it is rooted in the graphics of her homeland.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Blog Themes - Places to Visit

As the blog gets larger I thought I might help readers interested in certain topics by creating some pages which list the blog's content by theme. I promise to update the pages as new posts are added.

The themes are: Czech Nature, Czech Customs & Culture, Places to visit in South Bohemia, Buying and Restoring a Czech House, Czech History and Politics, Day to Day Life in the Czech Republic. This post covers Places to Visit in South Bohemia, more posts for other themes will follow.

PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTH BOHEMIA
Page update 28 July 2010

Blog Themes - Czech History and Politics

As the blog gets larger I thought I might help readers interested in certain topics by creating some pages which list the blog's content by theme. I promise to update the pages as new posts are added.

The themes are: Czech Nature, Czech Customs & Culture, Places to visit in South Bohemia, Buying and Restoring a Czech House, Czech History and Politics, Day to Day Life in the Czech Republic. This post covers Czech History and Politics, click on the links above for the others.

CZECH HISTORY AND POLITICS

This post was updated on the 8th August 2010.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Blog Themes - Buying and Restoring a Czech House

As the blog gets larger I thought I might help readers interested in certain topics by creating some pages which list the blog's content by theme. I promise to update the pages as new posts are added.

The themes are: Czech Nature, Czech Customs & Culture, Places to visit in South Bohemia, Buying and Restoring a Czech House, Czech History and Politics, Day to Day Life in the Czech Republic. This post covers Buying and Restoring a Czech House, click on the links above for the others.

BUYING AND RESTORING A CZECH HOUSE

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Blog Themes - Day to Day Life.

As the blog gets larger I thought I might help readers interested in certain topics by creating some pages which list the blog's content by theme. I promise to update the pages as new posts are added.
The themes are: Czech Nature, Czech Customs & Culture, Places to visit in South Bohemia, Buying and Restoring a Czech House, Czech History and Politics, Day to Day Life in the Czech Republic. This post covers Day to Day Life, click on the links above for the others.

DAY TO DAY LIFE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
List updated July 26th 2010.

Themes Covered in This Blog - Theme 1 Czech Nature

As the blog gets larger I thought I might help readers interested in certain topics by creating some pages which list the blog's content by theme. I promise to update the pages as new posts are added.
The themes are: Czech Nature, Czech Customs & Culture, Places to visit in South Bohemia, Buying and Restoring a Czech House, Czech History and Politics, Day to Day Life in the Czech Republic. This post covers Czech Nature, click on the links above for the others.

Czech Nature
This post was brought uptodate on 5th August.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

An Enterprising Woodpecker.

Please forgive the rather bad photo, it was taken through a misty window. I have been watching this chap for some weeks now. He or she comes regularly to investigate the cracks between the tiles on the barn next door and in the barn wall. Why peck at the frozen bark of the local trees, when you can have insects in ready-made cracks?

The barn is a real attraction for the local birds. I can stand at my window and watch nuthatches, redstarts, treecreepers, bluetits and more feasting on the insect buffet offered by the old barn. Allowing the bird life to come to me certainly beats wandering around in the cold weather clutching a pair of binoculars.

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