National Sensualism: Czech Fin-de-Siècle Art

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Depression Europe Amid Manes Charcoal 

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Notes

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

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  • Tomáš Vlček

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