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"JULIUS MARAK AND HIS PUPILS"
1999-10-20 until 2000-01-30
National Gallery, Prague
Prague, , CZ Czech Republic

The autumn of 1999 sees the hundredth anniversary of the death of one of the most important Czech landscape artists of the previous century, Julius Edvard Marak (29.3.1832-8.10.1899). He chose as his themes the interior of woods and the life he found there, he looked into its colourful nooks, he admired forest clearings, wooded paths, marshes and pools.

Mak's enclosed world of unspoiled woodland is distinctive for the effective tonality of the greenery and the play of light where sun rays poured down through the branches of the trees and illuminated the natural stage; at other times he would use shadows to depict the falling dusk. The forest was Marak's second home, in it he sought confined, solitary places, he studied the character and growth of trees, branches, thickets and also the aspect of stone hillsides, little streams and pools hidden in the moss and bracken; together with poet Josef Vaclav Sladek he observed and celebrated the wells where birds and hinds go to drink. His colours well captured the darkness in the depths of the forest and the light on its edges, he interpreted the freshness of the morning and the melancholy of the evening. Paintings of wooded interiors were his domain and it was in this choice of depiction that he became a master of sensitive colour composition. He subdued expressive tones but, in a remarkable way, developed the richness of greys, silvers, greens and browns with which he was able to convey and vividly intensify the multiformity and varying character of the wood interior as a thematic natural type. Using the principle of expressing light through colour, Marak gradually acquired his own style of intimate and poetic luminism. For him, light had always been and remained to the end a means to express mood.


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