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Josef Mánes in 1860
|Born||May 12, 1820
|Died||December 9, 1871 (aged 51)
His first painting lessons naturally came from his father. From 1835 to 1844, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, under Professors František Tkadlík and Christian Ruben. He continued his studies in Munich for two years. Upon his return, an affair with the family's maid had unpleasant results and created an estrangement with some members of his family that left him in a state of severe depression. He found refuge in the patronage of Count Bedřich Sylva-Taroucca (1816–1881), living and working at his castle in Průhonice for twenty years. From there, he made many trips throughout Moravia, Upper Hungary (Slovakia) and Poland.
He took an active role in many artistic, literary and patriotic societies. He also participated in Sokol, an athletic organization for young men, designing uniforms and other materials for them. In 1857, he visited Italy and, three years later, took a trip to Russia, from which he returned mentally disturbed.
From 1866, his mental state worsened rapidly, afflicting him with bizarre behavior and obsessions. A recuperative trip to Italy failed to improve his health and he died in 1871, after much suffering. It is believed that his brain had been affected by syphilis or meningitis.
Work and honors
He produced many paintings in every genre from landscapes and portraits to ethnographic and botanical studies. He even did paintings of the twelve months (Calendar plate) in face of the Prague Astronomical Clock. Although his work was little understood or appreciated in his lifetime, he is now considered to be among greatest Czech painters.
In 1887, the Mánes Union of Fine Arts was created in his honor. One of the central bridges over the Vltava River bears his name and includes a painter's statue on the Old Town side. His image has appeared on several Czechoslovak and Czech postage stamps.
- V. Kratinová: "Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950 (ÖBL). Vol. 6, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 1975, ISBN 3-7001-0128-7, p. 50 f. (Direct links to " ", " ") ". In:
- Miloš Jiránek, Josef Mánes, Prague (1917) Reissued by the University of Michigan Library.
- Jaromír Pečírka, Josef Mánes: Živý pramen národní tradice, Mánes Union of Fine Arts (1941)
- František Kožík, Josef Mánes, Prague (1973)
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