Slovakia Genealogy Research Strategies

Home Strategy Place Names Churches Census History Culture
Toolbox Contents & Search Places Maps FHL Resources Military Correspondence

Art and Architecture Overview

Architecture Intro - A-J - K-R - R-Z Art Intro - A-LM-Z

Annotated Bibliography of Eastern European Folk Architecture

R-Z

Danusha V. Goska, PhD

 

Ruyak, Jacqueline. 1992. "Institute of Ethnography, the Slovak National Museum, Martin, Czechoslovakia" Ornament 15:37.

Overview and Main Points:

Brief and favorable introduction to the Institute of Ethnography in Martin, Slovakia. Martin was once the cultural and intellectual center of Slovakia. The Soviets damaged that by placing a tank factory here. (The article does not mention something I was told while visiting Martin in 1975, that it was Slovakia's Gorky, where dissident intellectuals were sent and punished). The Institute of Ethnography has 200,000 items, most from the 19th century. There are 5,200 works by Martin Benha, who painted peasant life, 40,000 textiles and folk costumes, and photographs of peasant life by Karol Plicka from the early 20th century.

 

Seton-Watson, Robert William. 1972 [1913]. Racial Problems in Hungary. New York: H.Fertig.

 

Schauss, Hans-Joachim. 1987. Contemporary Polish Folk Artists. New York: Hippocrene Books.

Overview:

Schauss' words are kept to a minimum. He serves mostly as editor and facilitator. The majority of the text consists of the words of artists themselves. Schauss sought out and interviewed the folk artists his enthusiasm for Polish folk art brought to his attention; often, they were men whose work he had purchased. Schauss likes wood carving, painting, and ceramics, so the book suffers for disincluding needlework and papercuts, and, thereby, disincluding women. In spite of that flaw, and the haphazard nature of his selection process, the book is carried by its strengths: the pithy, direct words of Polish folk artists on what they do and why they do it. In this absence of theory and analysis, questions do arise: e.g., how is it that the artists say they copy no one and yet their work is so readily identifiable as being part of Polish folk art? What role in the creation of a allegedly purely folk aesthetic has the urban, communist Cepalia played in its sponsoring of some artists, and its rejection of others? What is an American reader to make of it when a Polish man states that the German family who owned him as a slave during the war treated him well when he reports working from four till ten and being made to stand outside during air raids? Let other works tackle these questions; here the art, and the artists, do the talking. Photographs of the artists accompany each chapter; these compelling photographs of rough hewn peasants suggest that the artists themselves are works of art. Several photographs illustrate the works of each artist featured; about half are in color.

Main Points:

Author sought personal contact with creators in order to have a full relation with his folk art purchases ... Poland is rich in folk art ... worried Christ; pietas ... post war sponsorship of folk art under communism ... all are amateurs; inner drive is only compulsion ... front view is sufficient in folk carving, as they were originally for veneration ... profit motive causes decline ... features artists share, including poverty and slave labor during the war ... Jan Gacek, wood carver, thumps his chest and proclaims, "My work! My work!" four years education ... worked in fields ... doesn't mind coming in last in contests: "'The first shall be last and the last shall be first,'" ... "I don't polish or smarten up anything; after all, human beings have their blemishes as well" ... also a story teller ... Jan Madej, carver ... began to carve while minding cattle as a child ... "I don't carve what I actually see" ... Edward Kolacz, carver ... only one subject, the laboring villager ... handicapped ... "I have never seen a smile on Edward Kolacz's face" ... even at 13 worked twelve to sixteen hours a day ... carved whenever he had a chance ... "I never had an education so I can't write like an author -- I can only impart my experience and ideas in terms of plastic art" ... "I am very ill, but I hope to die with a carving in my hand" ... was in Auschwitz at liberation; this has affected his art ... is never satisfied unless audience understands what he is trying to express ... wants to record, in his art, history of now absent Jews in Poland ... Stanislaw Holda ... deaf from birth ... had to roam as a child ... no statement; can't speak ... Wladyslawa Wlodarzewska, painter ... her motif: a fine lady ... father was prisoner in WW I; she had to work ... made her own paintbrush; had never seen one ... painting relieves her pain ... Stanislaw Sewerynski ... deaf ... no statement ... Waclaw Suska, carver ... slave in Germany ... "I can't complain" ... "Every figure must be different" ... Stanislaw Denkiewicz, carver ... carved while minding cattle as a child; hid it; afraid neighbors would laugh ... encouragement of folk artists from mass media spurred him on ... elder brother used to burn his carvings, as they detracted from farm labor ... wife died during German house search ... didn't carve during WW II "it wasn't the time for that sort of thing" ... wants his grandsons to carry on ... records in his work how people lived before machines ... Jan Reczkowski, ceramist ... wants to add to glory of Poland ... carved while minding cows ... does Jewish figures in order to commemorate Jews who were exterminated in Poland ... works in Goral tradition ... fires his own wares ... Antoni Baran, carver ... factory worker ... learned to carve while minding the cows ... never looks at works of other wood carvers ... does it for pleasure and passion ... astonishes himself with his own work ... Wladyslawa Iwanska, painter ... used to draw on bread wrappings and clouded window panes; her mother grumbled ... Wojciech Oleksy, deaf, carver ... his niece says at first no one knew what to do with the things he made ... he never copies ... Stanislaw Marcisz, carver ... concentrates on profit and loss in his statement ... Jerzy Witek, ceramist, dead ... his work celebrates wives and mothers ... Wladyslaw Chajec, carver ... inspired by pilgrimage to Auschwitz ... Waclaw Czerwinski, carver ... mother died in Ravensbruck ... carves from wood from Chelmno forest, site of extermination camp ... "one must be able to identify with the other man and to feel the burden he carries...when I carve it's as if I were reading a page of my own diary" ... carves Jews "as an indictment to the Germans...so that the persecuted should not remain mute" ... Stanislaw Majewski, carver ... slave labor in Germany ... "learned professors" admire his work ... "I make it all up out of my own head ... you mustn't copy; that's no good" ... Bazyli Albiczuk, painter ... paints his own garden, at various seasons ... as a child, painted with cinders from the stove ... began to paint after the war, "for during the war our village was set on fire and we had to move eastwards" ... time plays a big role in his paintings ... Adela and Bronislaw Chojeta, painter and carver ... carved dolls while minding cattle ... would give these to other kids to get them to mind the cattle ... escaping from Germans during war ... saw carvers on TV ... "I saw the way the wind was blowing and made up my mind to keep on with wood carving" ... his wife encouraged him when he wanted to give up ... Jozef Lurka, carver ... Germans plunged bayonets into hay under which he hid ... his mother saw him carried away ... that has stayed with him ... influenced his Stations of the Cross ... "Life itself has given me my spiritual education...our folk art is rooted in devotional subjects" ... Jozef Chajec, carver ... slave labor in Germany; "They were good people" ... carved Satan and Hitler embracing ... Stanislaw Zagajewski, ceramist ... an orphan and scrap merchant ... an outsider ... does works on a monumental scale; copies no one ... very aware of his critics ... chance plays a role in his art; changes in weather, street traffic: "a monkey turns into a bear" ... Szczepan Mucha ... neighbors make fun of him ... Germans set fire to his village ... slave labor in Germany ... "nothing but shit" ... carves traditional demons ... Adam Zegadlo, carver ... made and sold toys during war so he could buy food ... does Jews ... worked 14 years in a Jewish factory ... "They were good people who looked after me and trained me ... I make these wood carvings in honor of their memory. I believe that when you feel sympathy for someone who has played an important role in your life, then you should attempt to portray some of it ... I can still visualize them today. I went to the synagogue, too, to find out about their creed. It is my aim not to let the traces of this ancient culture sink into oblivion."

 

Sherrill, Sarah B. 1985. "Folk Art: The Jewish Heritage in American Folk Art, Jewish Museum, New York" The Magazine Antiquities 127:358.

Overview:

A one page, favorable review of the museum show which is more fully covered in this bibliography under Kleeblatt.

 

Slesin, Suzanne, Stafford Cliff and Daniel Rozensztroch. 1994. Mittel Europa: Living in Style in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and the Lands of the Danube London: Thames and Hudson.

Overview:

A very beautiful and expensive book. The chapters on Eastern European folk art focus on interior design. Folk art and peasantry in the Martha Stewart tradition. More popular than scholarly.

 

Sourek, Karel. Folk Art in Pictures London: Spring Books.

Overview:

Essay conveys author's opinionated take on folk art, reflective of various trends in thought about folklore. Makes statements meant to apply to folk art in general, using Czechoslovak folk art as examples. Uses sweeping generalities: women do this; children do that. Two hundred seventy-one photographs, majority black and white, of Czechoslovak metalwork, sacrificial offerings, ritual costumes and effigies, corn dollies, wedding cakes, wedding candlesticks, oil paintings, toys, wedding wreaths, mangle boards, beehives, carvings, needlework, ceramics. Photographs vary widely in quality. A couple, for example #171 of St. John, IV/1 of a beehive head, IV/7 of a pieta, do honor to their subjects in haunting, evocative shots.

Main Points:

Discovery of folk art ... review of romantic nationalism ... Kralovedvorsky and Zelenohorsky Manuscripts (comparable to Ossian) ... review of gesunkenes kulturgut ... unknown masses are foundation of creative geniuses .. folk art is utilitarian ... folk art from simple material is the best kind ... discussion of the origin of art ... nature as a theme in folk art ... human life as a theme in folk art ... Easter eggs ... costume ... work as a theme ... folk art is not anonymous ... religion as a theme ... exaggeration ... Renaissance and Baroque influences in folk art ... painting on glass ... extinction of folk art; new forms of folk art.

 

Sport i Turystyka Publications. 1960. Folk Art in Poland. Warsaw.

Overview:

A small format brochure for tourists; most useful to the researcher for its photographs. The book presents Poland region by region, commenting on the folk art each region is known for, and mentioning special folk holidays and museums. The more unusual photographs include one of a peasant woman decorating the ground with colored sand, a beehive in the form of a "high priest" (looks like orientalism?), a stencil for hand-blocked textiles, a Silesian ritual mask which looks very much like an Iroquois false face, two straw plaited pitchers and a straw plaited box.

 

Stankova, Jitka. 1987. Lidove Umeni z Cech, Moravy a Slezska. Prague: Panorama.

Overview:

Of all the illustrated books in this bibliography, this book was the only one to contain photos of the art of decorating windows with soap and decorating the ground with colored sand. It had the best and most extensive photos of decorative baked goods and painted wood furniture. Chapters divide folk art in a way no other book in this bibliography divides it: art for everyday, art for show, art for joy, etc. In Czech with an English summary and captions. Two hundred eighty photographs, all in color, of ritual effigies, decorative baked goods, drawings on windows with soap, drawings on dirt with colored sand, pysanky, headdresses, wood carvings, costumes, architecture, metalwork, nativity scenes, ceramics, paintings, painted furniture, glassware, toys.

Main Points:

Differentiates between folk art, in which producer and consumer are the same, and folkloric art, in which there is a division ... folk art is typified by simplicity of composition, fantasy unconstrained by reality, and flatness of spacing ... some art existed only for one day: example, sand designs on the ground, soap on windows, baked goods ... folk art contains elements of the past which are not understood by modern users ... some art was for everyday life; even horse collars could be made artistically ... some art was for Sunday and special days, for example, decorated prayer books ... some art was for show, typified by embroidery and lace, and shelves in the home where ceramics were displayed ... some art was for joy, for example, decorated beehives.

 

Taylor, Mary. 1989. "Slovak Folk Embroidery." Ars Textrina December: 175-211.

Overview:

Non-scholarly, disorganized, and strangely uninformative. For example, jumps from the prehistoric origins of Slovak folk embroidery to praise for books in Slovak to a discussion of stitches, without telling the reader very much of anything about any of these things. Though the majority of pages are devoted to a breakdown of over a dozen stitches, and though the author adjures the reader to incorporate these into modern works, the author doesn't tell how to execute them. Higgly piggly bibliography lacks pertinent info on some items. We really need to get up a team of competent English language folklorists and ship them to Slovakia, which has produced some of the most beautiful folk art in the world. Includes eighteen photographic illustrations of stitches.

 

Ungerleider-Mayerson, Joy. 1986. Jewish Folk Art From Biblical Days to Modern Times. New York: Summit Books.

Overview:

The title of this book is misleading; a more appropriate title would have been: The Jewish Year through Folk Art. The book does not discuss many of the main concerns of folk art: aesthetics, creators, artistic trends, or even where a work art was created. It does, however, give a quick but detailed picture of the Jewish liturgical year, using folk art as illustrations. In a recent lecture on this campus, Henry Glassie referred to differences in the treatment of art. Elite art, he argued, is often treated as if it were on a chronological trajectory from primitive to more sophisticated art. In contrast, folk art is regarded as static. In this volume, Jewish folk art is treated as part of a circular time -- the constantly repeated cycle of the Jewish year and of life, from birth to death. Here Judaism is definitely centered in the home, not in the synagogue. Two thousand years of history are treated, and life on several continents; thus, the reader is advised to remain alert. A glossary is provided for the many specialist terms, many in Hebrew or Yiddish. Reference is made to surrounding Gentile cultures, from Poland to Syria. given the book's scope, items' full genealogy are often not treated; for example, are the raffia figures on page 53 folk or idiomatic art? Two hundred and eighty three pages, with often more than one photo on almost every page, most in color.

Main Points:

"While high art might claim the awe of admiration of its beholders, thus offering competition with religion, folk art, essentially prosaic, workmanlike, and utilitarian, has no such pretensions" ... toward art as craft, there is no ambivalence in Jewish tradition, but, rather, wholehearted acceptance and respect ... Jews are thought to be verbal and opposed to representational art ... command is to not worship images ... images dangerous because spirit might enter them ... Ezekial described images in new temple ... discussion of syncretism of Jewish and Christian art ... iconography ... micrography ... mysticism surrounding words ... marriage; the ketubah -- protection for women in a male dominated society ... home is cornerstone of Jewish life ... books given by father-in-law to daughter-in-law ... mezuzahs ... prayer shawls ... bags for prayer shawls and phylacteries ... Mizrach, eastern wall marker ... giving birth is encouraged ... superstitions were often borrowed from local folkways ... amulets ... Lilith ... circumcision ... brit cloth reworked as Torah covers ... wimples as valuable sources of ethnographic material ... The Sabbath ... was a revolutionary concept when first introduced ... challah cover ... Sabbath lamps ... Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukhot ... shofar, horn of any ritually clean animal except bull ... flagellation whips ... etrog box ... Simchat Torah ... change of Chanukah lamps over time ... dreidels ... Purim; most typically "folk" festival ... Purim plates, groggers, Haman effigies, Megillah ... Purim allowed Jews to overcome bans on cross dressing in order to role play ... plates from which fruits from the Holy Land are eaten on Tu Bishuvat ... proscriptions and implements for eating matzo on Passover; seder plates; Elijah cup; seder towels; pillowcase for seder; matzoh bag; four types of illustration in Haggadah ... bird head illustrations ... Haggadahs created in wartime Europe ... omer calendars ... Shavuot decorations ... a comparison of the Temple and synagogues ... synagogue architecture ... synagogue murals ... torah arks ... ark curtains ... rimmons ... pointers.

 

Vaclavik, Antonin and Jaroslav Orel. Textile Folk Art London: Spring Books.

Overview:

Text contains a few gems. For example, the author experimented with fireplace painters in Slovakia by painting purposely thin shapes. The fireplace painters responded with a pithy statement of folk aesthetics: 'Really, you have got it all dried up; untie it from the trough and hurry up and put it out to graze.' Other than that, it could have served from stronger organization and critique of his insistence on the lack of consciousness in the folk, demonstrated in sentences like: "Various discrepancies arose from mistakes caused by association and forgetfulness ... in the majority of cases the content of motifs is not understood or is incorrectly interpreted." Three hundred photographs, most in black and white, including close-ups, of costumes and costumes being worn. Photographs are more clinical than artistic, and color is bleary.

Main Points:

Czechoslovakia has a very rich history of costume design ... motifs pass from one field to another ... embroidery is the most developed art in Czechoslovakia ... popular motifs listed ... "The strongest element in folk art was, and remains, the deep erotic feeling" ... vaginal forms abound/ signs of fertility ... apotropaic designs ... motifs that brought good fortune ... motifs introduced by the Renaissance ... "Various discrepancies arose from mistakes caused by association and forgetfulness ... in the majority of cases the content of motifs is not understood or is incorrectly interpreted" ... "people did not create anything by copying directly from nature" ... magic use of symbols ... study of Easter eggs reveals that even apparently meaningless designs like a point or a scallop originally had magical functions ... discussion of evolution of vegetable forms ... use of double headed eagle not an example of mechanical adoption of an aristocratic symbol, but, rather, evidence of peasant gratitude for abolishing of serfdom ... folk costume must be studied in the context of elite art ... folk ornament prefers round shapes; author once tested this by joining in fireplace painting in Slovakia; peasant said of his drawing, 'Really, you have got it all dried up; untie it from the trough and hurry up and put it out to graze' ... "the peasantry obviously like zoomorphic forms, even if they did not understand the meaning of the whole composition" ... "From moral or personal pride, no folk artist would adopt the creative ideas of another" ... folk aesthetics were stated in proverbs, e.g.: "Red and blue, good for a fool" [It is interesting to note that Hungarians liked to use red and blue, and Hungarians were the oppressors of Slovaks] ... meaning and symbolism of various colors discussed, and their degrees of popularity ... seven factors to consider when assessing colors used in a folk textile ... textiles used ... linen and hemp woven at home ... in Bohemia, fish scales were used in embroidery ... childbed curtain ... confinement ... churching shawls ... survivals of female initiation rituals seen in wedding ceremony ... churching shawls were not just about aesthetics; in covering the bride, they covered her brand new apparel ... kerchiefs as bonds in courtship; men would wear sweetheart's kerchiefs ... men's contributions ... female social outcasts made good embroidery.

 

Vann, Philip. 1988. "Artists of the Hungarian Land: Peasant Painters" Artist 103:10-13.

Overview and Main Points:

An appreciative discussion of several Hungarian peasant artists active in this century: Janos Nagy Balogh, Istvan Nagy, Menyhert Toth. All were very poor; Toth lost his leg to working in the cold. These artists are described as creators of worthy oil paintings which reflect rural realities.

 

Vydra, Josef. 1954. Indigo Blue Print in Slovak Folk Art. Prague: Artia.

Overview:

Thorough and detailed (if dry and impersonal) introduction to the invention, spread, production and use of indigo blue print cloth in Europe in general and in Slovak folk costume in particular. One hundred sixty-two illustrations, including a few vintage color drawings of peasants in costume. Photographs are in black and white, with blue and yellow tinting in photographs of indigo printed cloth. Photos illustrate the making and use of indigo blue print cloth, including the making of patterns, peasants in costume, close-ups of cloth, and buildings where indigo blue cloth was made. Photographs focus on technical details; for example, the wide portico of a dyers' house with the necessary ventilation grill is shown in one photograph. One page of drawings of print making hand-tools, an illustration of an indigo plant, and a clever map, printed in various indigo print designs, plotting indigo workshops in Slovakia.

Main Points:

Positive prints v. negative prints ... mechanical v. chemical methods for dying cloth ... Origin in Asia ... mechanical tied pebble dying used in Piest'any ... negative method used on Easter eggs ... cottage walls might be decorated with dies made from cut potatoes or sugar beets ... Plinius the Elder's, Herodotos', Vergilius' and Diodorus' comments on dying ... after fifth century AD, indigo printing died out (pun intended) until the end of the seventeenth century, when in 1690 A Siamese brought cloth to Louis XIV ... in the Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance periods, positive prints, printed with gold, silver, and even ground glass, were substitutes for ornamented fabric and brocades ... tapestries were treated with ground glass to give them a silvery glitter ... "cloth printing was a forerunner of the letterpress" ... burning of linseed produced vine-black for printing ... in Ukraine, nomad dyers used positive printing ... 16th century, growing bourgeois prosperity, weavers were better off in Slovakia ... Andres Glorez von Mahren made a breakthrough in dying calico ... deputation from Siam in 1680 (see above; 1690! copyediting, please!) caused a stir; France and England issued bans to importing Indian fabrics to protect own trade; new colors and techniques were a new impetus to domestic printing ... Dutch, in early 18th c., were the first to do indigo printing on cotton imported from India ... Dutch method penetrated Slovakia via Augsburg and Silesia ... no more oil; dye is absorbed by cloth fibers ... indigo was a novelty; since Chinese porcelain, also popular then, was also blue, it came to be called "porcelain printing" ... Weavers Guild opposed importation ... printers might be ordered to destroy calico imported from India ... secret was out; people admired staying power of the dye in this method ... in Prussia and Berlin import, manufacture, and use was banned ... in France import could be punished by the galleys ... first record of Slovak cloth dyers is from 1608 ... "In Kremnitz 1783" on first recorded Slovak indigo print ... many early prints listed and described ... dyers divided up as "dark dyers," "light dyers," black dyers," "blue dyers," etc., depending on their work ... dying spread throughout flax growing districts, esp. Orava, Liptov, and Spis ... Master Dyers had to undergo three year apprenticeship ... indigo workers were highly secluded, restricted, and/or related ... at first, the cloth printer and pattern maker were the same; with time, esp. with invention of letterpress, engraving patterns grew into an independent trade ... pear, walnut, plum, and maple used for making patterns ... pear is best for indigo; dense fiber, amorphous, strong, tenacious ... patterns are 20/23 cm ... brass points fitted to the edge of patterns help secure alignment ... wood designs supplemented by wire for airier touches ... letterpress workers penetrated cloth dying; metal produced more delicate ornaments ... patterns might originate in Slovak embroidery ... sample books ... hunting themes, typical of Slovak pottery ... stripes ... indigo print centers occurred where cloth was spun for the drapers trade ... each district, or even village, had its own favorite designs; they had their own names for designs, e.g.: thumb, sun, lace, cleft walnut ... dyer was also a farmer (printing was seasonal); had a big house, with a room set aside for talks with customers; printed in winter; in warmer weather, washed cloth in brooks ... a horse walked around in a circle, setting in motion cogwheels to work the mangle ... "indigo printers joined in the Socialist upbuilding of their native land" (or else they got the horse's job!) ... chemicals used in dying and their use discussed in detail: pap, indigo (indigoferra tinctoria), green stone, lime ... fermentation ... methods used to add color or vary intensity of color ... sulfuric acid, glossing, potato starch ... polishing of cloth with a smooth, small stone ... earliest records of indigo in Slovak peasant costume: lithographs of Petr Bohun, 1883, later in postcards of Pavel Sochan and Jan Koula, 1888-1890 ... widely used, popular ...examples given of how and where indigo prints were used in Slovakia, on aprons, jackets, kerchiefs, feather bed covers etc. ... production highly ritualized, trade had many proverbs, even opening and closing of flax season was ritualized, e.g. it was obligatory to spin and weave cloth by Easter.

 

Vydra, Josef, and Ludvik Kunz. 195? Painting on Folk Ceramics. London: Spring Books.

Overview:

I don't much like Czechoslovak folk pottery; I flipped through the illustrations of this book joylessly. After reading the text, I wanted to look at every illustration again, and carefully. Brief but erudite introduction to paintings on folk ceramics in Moravia and Slovakia, focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A discussion, grounded in received folklore scholarship, of history, influences, and aesthetic evaluation. One hundred fifty-six photos, majority black and white, some tinted.

Main Points:

Folk ceramics in Slovakia were a true folk art, created by and for rural people ... compared to folk dance ... production limited to relatively wealthy wine producing lowlands ... placed on shelves in peasant dwellings ... is now dying out ... folk's value of ceramics demonstrated by their saving some examples from the seventeenth century ... folk ceramics provide details of peasant life, details which cannot be found in written records ... introduced by Haban Anabaptists from Italy and Switzerland ... used Italian Renaissance, Dutch naturalism and Swiss Wintherthur ornamental patterns; each described ... society organized around production of ceramics ... produced for the wealthy ... some peasants had it ... designs were also borrowed from Bohemian glass and pewter decoration ... the evolution from Haban to folk pottery ... some friction arose between strict Anabaptists and the locals for whom they produced; e.g. locals wanted jocular drinking vessels in the shape of shoes, etc., and Anabaptists found such things, which would encourage gluttony and drunkenness, obscene ... "excessive" painting and birds, unsuitable for Anabaptists, were to be avoided ... these laws had to be relaxed so the potters could make a living ... eventually, folk aesthetics took over ... folk aesthetics also influenced size and design of pottery ... time and geography influenced pottery; for example, in Moravia jugs were wide for beer consumption; in Slovakia, narrower, for wine ... development of trade emblems ... book arranges thematic material thus: 1.) flora and fauna; 2.) agri and vini culture; 3.) trade emblems and workshop scenes; 4.) religious themes; 5.) genre scenes; 6.) drinking, hunting, and military ... baroque, rococo, and classicism had their effect; as seen in representations of St. John of Nepomuk over time ... study of brushwork ... two kinds: draughtman's, in which line is most important, and painter's in which color is most important ... eight different kinds of brushes illustrated ... examples of each given from among the ceramics in the book ... ten different techniques, including streaking, running, marbling, feathering, veining, mottling, etc. ... pressures faced by potters, including change of colors in firing ... special recipes might be handed down from father to son ... for example, one recipe book contained eighteen different recipes for manganese brown ... brushes made by painters themselves from ox neck or ear hair, dog neck hair, beaver hair, or hair from a cat's tail ... for contouring, stiff hair from the eyelashes of an old ox ... bespoke pieces were commissioned ... jugs for pilgrimages to miracle working waters ... handles are diagnostic as to artist and workshop ... from 15th to 17th c., an eating and drinking cult arose among the aristocracy ... required many drinking vessels varied according to beverage being consumed ... personalized messages on vessels ... in 1786 a decree ordered that the guilds' vessels be auctioned off, as they encouraged excessive behavior ... silver vessels melted down to finance war ... remaining ceramic vessels provide important data as to tools and activities of guilds ... ceramics provide examples of antique dress ... Janosik as theme on one jug, twelve years after his execution ... peasants and herds in the Kosolna style ... evolution of peasants as theme ... these can be used as illustrations of peasant life and techniques in bygone days; for example, the use of a single leading rein ... depiction of swingletree reveals artist's ignorance of perspective ... great impact of baroque on pottery described; shapes and motifs changed ... In Moravia, complete break with Haban; in Slovakia, first big break was rococo ... rococo changes ... introduction of red in 1750 ... more and more genre scenes of couples, dancing, sport ... distinctive potters described ... outlandish architecture as motif; Slovaks called it "gypsy shanties" ... asymmetrical, rare in folk art ... an innovation; pottery wall pictures ... competition from factory made faience ... end of majolica as folk art at end of 19th c.; merely competes with factory ware ... a few potters continued to serve the intelligentsia who patronized folk art ... discussion of blue in ceramics ... more dominant than any other color ... how made ... four different blue periods described ... folk potters' "of the suburbs" artistic faux pas in the post-factory era; they don't understand! It's not real folk art! Real folk art is "spiritual" ... suburban folk art distinguished by use of perspective ... "a straining after reality" ... much of the national output was exported, and couldn't be studied for this project (they wrote at a time when overseas travel was difficult for citizens of the Soviet empire) ... much is in foreign museums under names like "Hungarian National Industry" ... worthy collections to be found in Czechoslovakia.

 

Whitworth Art Gallery. 1979. Historic Hungarian Costume. Manchester: Whitworth Art Gallery and University of Manchester.

Overview:

Catalogue of a show of historic Hungarian costume at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Items date from the 16th century, illustrating evolution of costume and many of the early inspirations for elements that would later flower in folk costume. Sixty-four pages with illustrations on almost every page, including color and black and white photographs of costumes being worn and in isolation, and archival photos. One spectacular full page, color photograph of an elaborately embroidered and perfectly preserved sheep skin mantle.

Main Points:

Brief history of Hungarian clothing from 896 A.D. ... court and city costumes in the 18th to 20th centuries ... the Turks ... their ouster ... role of costume in nationalism ... the rococo ... the spring of nations ... folk art and Art Nouveau ... folk costume ... peasants made up a big percentage of the population ... end of 18th century, 90% were serfs or cottagers ... in 1930, 51% agrarian ... clothing of peasants and urban bourgeoisie cross fertilized ... the szur was a symbol of nationalism ... decorative height of folk costume was the 19th century ... a quote of a travel writer describing Hungarian peasants (they're colorful and smelly; what else is new?) ... Peter Apor, an aristocrat, complaining about peasant extravagance in costume in the early 18th century ... upper clothing of homespun linen became under clothing ... peasants stopped imitating nobility, and developed their own distinctive style.

 

Wolynetz, Lubow. 1988. "Rushnyky in Ukrainian Folk Art and Tradition" Forum 74:14-17.

Overview:

Brief but detailed introduction to rushnyky, Ukrainian ritual cloths.

Main Points:

Ukrainian proverb: "A house without a ritual cloth is not a home" ... a young girl might own a dozen ... had magic apotropaic powers ... various regions of Ukraine preferred various colors; colors had symbolic significance ... had various roles; might be worn, might decorate home ... bird, sun, goddess, tree of life motifs ... hop, periwinkle, rue, holy plants, other favorite motifs ... two headed eagle motif ... the meander ... hung above icons ... might be used to facilitate a difficult birth ... served as binding contracts ... would be tied to cross on a grave.

 

Zivnustkova, Alena. 1995. "Renovation Fights for Funds" The Prague Post June 21.

Overview:

The Ethnographic Museum of Prague struggles for funding and a home.

Main Points:

Letohradek Kinskych, summer villa of the Kinsky family, had been site of ethnographic exhibitions, but it is in bad shape and now its ownership is questioned ... officially given to the National Museum by the communists ... no money for renovation ... Director of the Ethnographic Museum, Jirina Langhammerova, has hope: "We have to make people aware of their national roots and make them appreciate where they came from, which this generation seems to be forgetting."

 

Copyright 2004, Danusha V. Goska

Email: calamitygene [at] hotmail [dot] com

 Links to off-site webs will open in a new window.  Please disable your pop-up stopper. 

Last Update: 27 April 2013                                                    Copyright 2003-2013, Bill Tarkulich