An eerie painting by Jaroslav Panuška,1907.
Czechoslovakian artist Jaroslav Panuška started his art career sometime around 1887 after becoming a student at an art academy in Prague run by Julius Mařák. Mařák, a talented Czech landscape painter, ran the school which is often referred to as the “Mařák’s School,” between 1887 and 1889 while Panuška and approximately 50 other students studied under him. Mařák’s goal was to enable his students to convey their inner emotions while observing nature in its purest form in order to see its “soul.” This approach deeply resonated with Panuška and it became the artist’s calling card for his entire career.
Sometime in the early 1900’s, Panuška illustrated a book with unsettling and dark fairy-tale like imagery. He would often incorporate typical fantasy characters like dragons, giants, and witches into his drawings. During this period, Panuška also began to reveal a much more sinister side of nature where ghosts and death were omnipresent, and the tranquil ponds full of lily pads were home to monsters lurking in the muck beneath. Panuška’s paintings and other artwork are coveted by collectors, and much of his large body of work is held in private collections. However, the artist’s most prized works are the ones that were done while he was seemingly under a heady spell that compelled him to conjure up images of creatures that only existed in stories or perhaps nightmares.
A beautiful-looking book on Panuška containing many examples of his art, Jaroslav Panuška 1872-1958: A Guide to Life and Work, can be purchased here for around $50. In other interesting news concerning Panuška, in 2014 old-school Czech black metal band Master’s Hammer released a song about the artist titled “Panuška” which directly referenced the work the he did during his dark mystical period, 56 years after he drew his last breath. Images from Panuška’s spooky days as well as an audio upload of Master’s Hammer and their black metal homage to the great painter below.
“Spirit of the Dead Mother” 1900.
More after the jump…