Antonín Slavíček

1870—Praha, 1910—Praha

Antonín Slavíček was born on 16 May 1870 in Prague. In 1887 he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where he began to study landscape painting with Julius Mařák. In the late 1880s he considered pursuing priesthood, which led him to briefly become a monk at the Benedictine monastery in Rajhrad, but returned to the Academy in 1889. In 1892 he became a member of Umělecká beseda, a society of Czech artists, and participated in its activities until 1897. However, in the following year, he was already exhibiting under the auspices of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts. After the death of Julius Mařák, Slavíček spent some time in his mentor’s position, expecting to be appointed professor in his stead, which, much to his chagrin, never happened. He perceived his failure to accomplish this as a lifelong injustice, as did those members of the younger generation who considered Slavíček to be their leader. For a long time, the issue continued to polarise the artistic community while also leading to frequent disputes. In 1900, Slavíček rented a studio in the Old Town and started to produce paintings featuring Prague motifs. In 1903 he began to paint in Kameničky, a location which would become a recurring theme in his work. In 1909, he suffered a stroke while bathing in a river. The right side of his body became paralysed as a result. While he did attempt to paint using his left hand for a short time, he ultimately decided to resolve the hopeless situation for good and committed suicide the very next year.