Birth and studies
Štursa was born in mountainous area of Vysočina Region. He studied masonry and sculpture in Hořice and worked as stone cutter. Later, he studied at the Academy of Arts (AVU) in Prague under professor Josef Myslbek, a known sculptor. As a result of very rigorous criticism from Myslbek, Štursa destroyed most of his early works.
Themes and materials
Štursa was not influenced by Czech National Revival as the older sculptors but tried to find his own way. The female body was his frequent motif, for example in "Before taking bath", 1906  or "The Melancholy Girl", 1906 . A monumental couple of figures decorates the pylons of Hlávka Bridge in Prague. In addition to stone and bronze he also used plaster and wax. Later, he was influenced by cubism. Portrait painting was an important part of his works.
World War I
The inspiration for the "Burial in the Carpathians" sculpture was a photograph from a Carpathian battlefield. The original group in Austrian uniforms was remade in 1920s into a memorial of victims of World War I and placed in the village Předměřice nad Jizerou, with copies in Místek and in Nové Město na Moravě.
During 1922–24 Štursa served as Rector of the Academy of Arts (AVU). Štursa suffered from the effects of syphilis and in 1925, faced with increasing pain, he killed himself in his atelier two weeks before his 45th birthday.
Štursa's nephew Jiri Štursa was the architect of Stalin's Monument (Prague).
- Marie vitochova Jindrichkjer and Jiri Vsetecka, Prague and Art Nouveau, translation by Denis Rath and Mark Prescott, Prague: V Raji, 1995.
- Petr Wittlich: "Sculpture of the Czech Art Nouveau", Prague, Karolinum Press 2001, ISBN 80-246-0235-0 (in English, German translation available)
- Jiří Mašín, photos Tibor Honty: "Jan Štursa", Odeon, Prague, 1981