Fire - from the Elements Cycle

Mikoláš Aleš

Mikoláš Aleš - Fire - from the Elements Cycle
The “Elements” cycle was produced in 1881, when Mikoláš Aleš was painting his lunettes for the foyer of the National Theatre. However, the evolution of the two series – “The Elements” and “Homeland” – extends back to the first half of the 1870s. Both cycles are also interrelated in terms of form and style. There are numerous studies in which Aleš varied and blended Slavic motifs with Red Indian themes. In the finished version, he combined the individual allegories of the seven paintings with an underlying story that narrates the tragic destiny of the indigenous people. Fire is one of the most dramatic drawings in the cycle. In this image, Aleš borrowed the compositional methods distinctive of Romantic painting. With regard to the composition’s overall treatment, the artist relaxed the temperament characteristic of his pen−and−ink sketches, without depriving the drawing of any of its energetic charge. The brilliant mastery of the charcoal medium also reflects the artist’s experience with working on the full−scale cartoons for the foyer of the National Theatre.
measurements: height 677 mm
width 865 mm
in collections:
material: cardboard
technique: charcoal
inventory number: K 13202
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings