Art in Prague #2: Hynek Martinec’s Voyage to Iceland

By Aleksandra Brzezicka

The Sternberg Palace in Prague is filled with European art as the part of the National Gallery.

People go there for the chance to admire the magnificent Old Masters: Rubens, Goya, van Dyck or Rembrandt, but not me. While rushing through the centuries, I got lost and discovered the genius, Hynek Martinec, one of a kind of modern baroque artist.

Inspired by the fictional story of the cathedral that was meant to be built in Iceland in the 18th century, Martinec takes us on the pleasurably odd voyage to prove that the Old Masters style, full of symbolism, vanitas can exist in the XXI century.

The artist deforms, breaks bones, moves around to add a new level of meaning to static objects. Flame is escaping the candle, a jaw stretches on 20cm from a skull, a man has three eyes and a breast.

Martinec’s art is not scandalous but particular elements put together do shock. It is hard to escape the uneasy feeling of fading and the unimportance of life in the face of the certainty of death. His interpretations of Harvey Weinstein’s affair and the obsession with the Internet terrify and force us to think about the direction that society is going.

Paintings exposed in the dim light, surrounded by a few Rubens’ pieces, create a specific, haunting atmosphere, hard to escape from. The exhibition is especially recommended for lovers of classical art who are bored of magnificent yet similar pieces and are looking for something completely new.

Read Part 1 of Aleksandra’s review of art venues in Prague.

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  1. […] part two of her reviews of art venues in the city, Aleksandra Brzezicka found inspiration from a lesser known artist, among works by the […]

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