Liška Bystrouška by Stanislav Lolek

Stanislav Lolek was a Czech painter, graphic artist and illustrator, known for drawing the text comic 'Liška Bystrouška' ('Vixen Sharp-ears') in the Prague newspaper Lidové Noviny from 7 April to 23 June 1920. The story about a gamekeeper and a vixen was written by Czech author Rudolf Těsnohlídek, who later expanded the rural tale into a novel, with illustrations by Lolek. What is remarkable about the picture story is that it inspired Czech composer Leoš Janáček for his opera 'The Cunning Little Vixen' ('Příhody Lišky Bystroušky') in 1923. It premiered on 6 November 1924 in the National Theatre of Brno, and has been regularly staged since then, not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the UK and the USA. It was adapted into a movie by Austrian theater and opera director Walter Felsenstein in 1956.

Illustrator Lolek always had a fascination for the woods. In fact, he studied at the Pisek School of Forestry, and worked as a forester on a large estate in Lnáře before turning to the arts in the 1890s. His first artistic effort was drawing maps and supplementing them with illustrations. He enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1895, where he studied under Czech landscape painter Julius Marak (1832-1899). Lolek spent most of his early artistic years painting countrysides and animals in southern Bohemia. His moody landscape painting in an Art Nouveau-inspired style evolved into a style more influenced by Impressionism after 1905. As an illustrator, he also made the drawings for a Czech edition of Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book' in 1909.

The artist, who was born in Palonín (a village near Mohelnice) in 1873, passed away in Uherske Hradiste on 9 May 1936 at the age of 62.

Liška Bystrouška

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