Jan Knap (1949) is an exotic phenomenon among contemporary artists. His paintings, created to the very last detail using the techniques of the Old Masters, work with classical compositions while depicting a subject of central importance to their creator. That subject is the childhood of Jesus, but you would be mistaken if you thought Knap’s idyllic scenes from gardens and interiors full of angelic song and violins were an attempt at hyperbole. Knap's idyll is not just a never-ending harmony. As we watch the Holy Household, where the Virgin is ironing, angels help out, and children are playing, we are forced to ask: What is Joseph doing there, outside the window? The calm is only seeming, the drama of salvation latently present. The multilayered nature of Knap’s paintings, the symbols that live their own life, the radiant colors – all of it reminds us of the Pre-Raphaelites’ notion that of the death of painting as represented by Raphael, and that it was necessary to return to the period before his emergence, i.e., the 15th century, when artists were still interested in faith and not artistry.
(Source: Klatovy/Klenová Gallery)