April 26, 1919|
|Died||December 4, 1999
|Alma mater||Academy of Fine Arts, Prague|
|Known for||Representations of astronomical subjects|
Luděk Pešek (April 26, 1919 – December 4, 1999) was an artist and novelist noted for his representations of astronomical subjects. Born in Kladno in what is now the Czech Republic, he died in Stäfa, Switzerland. The asteroid 6584 Ludekpesek is named for him. He was influenced by Lucien Rudaux.
Ludek Pesek was born in 1919 at Kladno, Czechoslovakia, and grew up in the mining town of Ostrava close to the Beskidy Mountains. His boyhood was marked by the longing for mountains, and distant lands, laying the ground for his later interest in geology and astronomy. His potential artistic and literary talents were recognized early, and encouraged by his art teacher at grammar school. It was also on that occasion, that he first had the opportunity to use an astronomical telescope. At the age of fifteen, Ludek acquired a painter's easel, and began to practice his hobby earnestly. Later, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
He produced his first art works around the age of 19. His first publications were The Moon and Planets (1963), and Our Planet Earth (1967). His work first reached US readers through the National Geographic Magazine, which commissioned him to do a series of works about Mars. Previous to the Mars article, he had painted 15 scenes for an article called Journey to the Planets in August 1970. In 1967, Ludek wrote his first science-fiction novel, Log of a Moon Expedition, which he illustrated in black and white. Another, The Earth Is Near, won Prize of Honour in Germany in 1971. It was published in the UK and United States in 1974. He illustrated Space Shuttles in 1976. He worked with writer Peter Ryan on several slim books for children: Journey to the Planets (1972), Planet Earth (1972), The Ocean World (1973), and UFOs and Other Worlds (1975); he later worked with the same author on the large-format Solar System (1978). He also illustrated the excellent Bildatlas des Sonnensystems (1974), with German text by Bruno Stanek.
In 1976, he published a fairy tale called, Schön friedliche Welt (English version as "A Beautiful, Peaceful World"), which is part of the children's book Update on Rumpelstiltskin and other Fairy Tales by 43 Authors, which is compiled by Hans-Joachim Gelberg, illustrated by Willi Glasauer, and published by Beltz & Gelberg. His other publications include a photographic record of Lebanon's historical monuments and natural beauties, and several other novels; one, Prey der Beute (Price of a Prey), is about the lives of whalers from old times to the present.
He produced several 360-degree panoramas for projection in the domes of the planetariums at Stuttgart, Winnipeg, and Lucerne, and exhibited in Washington, D.C., Boston, Nashville, Stuttgart, Berne, Lucerne, Zurich, and other venues. His work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
Books in English by Ludek Pesek
- The Ocean World – by Peter Ryan and Ludek Pesek – 1973 ISBN 0582153778
- The Earth is Near – 1974 ISBN 0878880666
- UFOs and Other Worlds – by Peter Ryan and Ludek Pesek – 1975 ISBN 0140610170
- An Island for Two – 1975 ISBN 0722652232
- A Beautiful, Peaceful World – by Hans-Joachim Gelberg and Willi Glasauer – 1976 ISBN 3407805187
- Log of a Moon Expedition – 1969 ISBN 0001844555
- Trap For Perseus – 1980 ISBN 0878881603
- The Moon and the Planets – by Josef Sadil and Ludek Pesek – 1963