The Thurn-Taxis Family Ice-Skating

Karel Purkyně

Karel Purkyně - The Thurn-Taxis Family Ice-Skating
Rudolph duke Thurn-Taxis (1833-1904), lawyer and politician, was a representative of the radical democratic opposition and a close associate of Josef Václav Frič. In the 1860s he had to leave the country and went into exile in Bulgaria. At the same time he was forced to renouncehis title. Purkyně marked his return from Paris by exhibiting at the annual exhibition in 1858 this small genre, showing the prince's family and their servants skating during their winter stay in Prague. The picture was probably painted soon after Rudolf's marriage to Jenny Städler,a girl of middle-class origin. The picture was certainly not commissioned, as it remained in the painter's family and was never owned by the Thurn-Taxis. The very sober, almost formal behaviour of the lords and ladies in the centre of the scene contrasts sharply with the almost caricatured group of servants. The low horizon in the background probably ends with Negrelli's viaduct with a puffing train and a high wintery sky above. Purkyně's motif of skating as a social event, somewhere half-way between genre and Realism, coped simulaneously with several issues: from problems of art forms to those of motif and social relations. A few years later Viktor Barvitius (Out skating) and Antonín Waldhauser (Skating ring below Vyšehrad) tackled the same motif.
measurements: height 23,7 cm
width 27 cm
material: canvas
technique: oil
inventory number: O 4657
gallery collection: Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism