National Sensualism: Czech Fin-de-Siècle Art

  • Tomáš Vlček
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


When one asks what were the aims of Czech criticism at the turn of the century, one is asking a question whose answer is vital to any description of the Czech nation’s artistic development. One is asking whether that criticism is part of some resistance to the power structure within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy or whether it is concerned with some historic transformation whose bounds reach far beyond the disintegrating Empire. ‘Modern’ Czech art introduced a profoundly dissonant note into a complex situation where the interests of the nobility, middle class, peasantry and proletariat were at odds. That situation was made even more complex by racial or nationalist conflicts together with the universally European conflict between received ideas and ideas produced by the advance of technology. That dissonant note led ever more evidently towards a revolutionary change in central European intellectual attitudes. The relationship between art and politics was similar in Czech culture to the relationship between art and politics in Croatian, Galician and Hungarian culture. It was based on the idea of the preservation of national culture as the primary ground for any policy of national self-determination.


National Sensualism Expressive Means Everyday Reality Concrete World Czech Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Cf. C. E. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, Politics and Culture, New York, 1980.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Cf. M. Bayerová, ‘Rakouské filosofické myšlení konce 19. století v cěském kulturním životě’, in the 1984 conference proceedings, Povědomí tradice v novodobém českém umění, printing.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Cf. R. Kvaček, ‘Bojeonárodní divadlo’, in the 1983 conference proceedings, Divadlo v české kultuře 19. století, Prague, 1985, pp. 26–30.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Cf. R. B. Pynsent, Julius Zeyer, The Path to Decadence, The Hague, Paris, 1975.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Julius Zeyer, ‘Vůně’ (Květy, 1892), Obnovené obrazy, Spisy, 30, 1907, p. 16.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Julius Zeyer, Bratři (Lumír, 1882), Spisy, 23, 1907, p. 87.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    F. X. Šalda, Mladé zápasy, Prague, 1934, p. 189.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Cf. F. V. Krejčí, ‘Julius Zeyer a jeho exotismus’ (Rozhledy, 1901).Google Scholar
  9. 18.
    K. B. Mádl, Umění včera a dnes, I, Prague, 1904, p. 151.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    F. X. Šalda, ‘Søren Kierkegaard’, Ottů v slovník naučný, vol. 14, Prague, 1898, pp. 208–11.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    Cf. J. S. Machar, Konfese literáta, Prague, 1901.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    Ludmila Vachtová, Frank Kupka, Pioneer of Abstract Art, New York, Toronto, 1968, p. 45.Google Scholar
  13. 24.
    Karel Hlaváček, Spisy, II, Kritiky, Prague, 1930, p. 11.Google Scholar
  14. 26.
    Cf., e.g., V. M. Nebeský, V Art modeme tchécoslovaque, Paris, 1937, and Paris-Prague, Paris, Musée national de l’Art moderne, 1966;Google Scholar
  15. M. Lamač, Moderne tschechische Malerei, Anfänge der Avantgarde 1907–1917, Prague, 1967; Český kubistický interiér, Prague, UPM, 1976;Google Scholar
  16. F. Burkhardt, Varchitettura cubista boema, Cubismo cecoslovaco, Milan, 1982.Google Scholar
  17. 28.
    František Gellner, Spisy, III, Prague, 1928, p. 266.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Max Brod, Über die Schönheit Lässlicher Bilder, Leipzig, 1913.Google Scholar
  19. 30.
    Cf. S. K. Neumann, At’ žije život, Prague, 1921.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomáš Vlček

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations