Josef Váchal: zapis żałoby

Danuta Sosnowska, University of Warsaw
2020 Studia Polsko-Ukraińskie  
Th e article presents the experiences of loss, grief, and mourning endured by Josef Váchal and described by him in his book In memoriam Marie Váchalové (1923). Josef Váchal, who was one of the leading artists of the Czech art in the twentieth century, was a pioneer of printmaking in Czechia, famous for his woodcuts. He was also an interesting painter, draughtsman, and sculptor. While reading, the reader turns from the verbal description to the visual one and back again, since the book combines
more » ... ords and images. It contains 45 colour and 25 black-and-white woodcuts. Th is is a very personal and intimate confession of pain aft er the death of the artist's wife, but also the record of his remorse and guilt for the romance he had in the last years of her life. However, the book also raises important metaphysical questions. Standing watch over the coffi n and catafalque, Váchal photographed the dead woman for two days. Th e photographs became the basis for his woodcuts included in the book. Th e aim of this activity was not so much to commemorate his wife as to tell the story of the posthumous fate of the soul, which fascinated the artist as a mystic, interested also in the esoteric knowledge and spiritualism. Th e article deals with questions about the relationship between demonism and holiness, as shown and experienced by Váchal, and about his understanding of death and God.
doi:10.32612/uw.23535644.2020.pp.168-177 fatcat:ri5xpr5vgrblhdxc2jwmzeckkm