CZECH  ENGLISH Česká Händelova společnost / The Czech Handel Society

The Sculptor Petr Novák from Jaroměř

Petr Novák working on the tombstone for the Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek (1922-2000), a multiple Olympic winner.

The essence of the modern creative trend, which for a few years has now been the focal point of art reviewers, is the consistent attempt at originality. Therefore many artists are relentlessly trying on their own to break the colossal continuous cycle of art history with such creations that could never resemble anything that has ever been created. This is an extremely difficult exercise in futility, and the efforts undertaken by such artists are wasted for the most part (the cycle continues, keeping slowly its pace). Hence, the majority of them are directing their ambition towards the mediocre public whom they are trying to shock.

Petr Novák attempts to do nothing of the kind. As an expert in art history he realizes that, on the contrary, the development of art relies on the continuous interdependence between the present and the passed. He knows well that perhaps every great sculptor in history was influenced and stimulated by older artistic models without losing his own originality of creation. Therefore he is not discarding tradition either - just the opposite, one can say that it actually becomes his main source of inspiration.

Petr Novák was born and still lives in Jaroměř. This is the region of such famous artists as Mathias Bernhard Braun (1684-1738), Josef Šíma (1891-1971), Otakar Španiel (1881-1955), or Josef Wagner (1901-1957). Of Novák's most admired artistic models one cannot exclude Jan Štursa (1880-1925). Even though there is a gap of several generations, he reveres him as his direct mentor.

Along with the Czech Gothic and Baroque periods, his second source of inspiration is the art of the Mediterranean region - from the works of the ancient Greek and Roman masters all the way to the great Italian Renaissance and Baroque sculptors.

Petr Novák with the model for the monument to Jan Černčický of Kácov (+ 1529?). A bronze cast of the monument was erected, in 2001, in the town square of Nové Město nad Metují, East Bohemia.

But for Petr Novák the art tradition is not the only source of inspiration. In his work one can clearly detect other sources, nonetheless just as traditional since they historically follow the development of sculpture. It is primarily on intimate relationship with nature and classic sculpting materials such as wood and stone.

Stone he understands best - he listens to it and in the course of his work, following this inner dialogue, he keeps correcting and perfecting his original idea. Therefore, most often, he is leaning towards the method of 'taille directe' which means chiselling directly into the material without having an exact model, using only a sketch or a study for orientation. Thanks to this intuition, allowed by the virtuosity of his creative craftsmanship, the sculptor can gradually free himself from the rigid schooling of academic practices which would sometimes lead him towards an articulate, but less dynamically descriptive level. We can observe with pleasure that Novák's realism is constantly gaining in visceral expression - be it at the lyrical Štursa-like ('Amfora'/'Amphora'), earthly-monumental ('Česká madona'/'Czech Madonna'), or even Bourdelle-like ('Bouře'/'Tempest') levels.

Petr Novák was born in Jaroměř on 4 May, 1957. He studied at the Secondary School for Stone-Cutting at Hořice v Podkrkonoší and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in the studio of Professor Stanislav Hanzík. Among others, he participated in the marble symposia at Králíky in Bohemia (1991) and at Adnet near Salzburg, Austria (1992). In 1996 he was the winner in a competition for the life-size statue of a trotting horse which is situated in a private garden in Prague. Since then horses have become a favourite source of his inspiration.


Sculptor Petr Novák
Klouzkov 306
CZ-55101  Jaroměř
Czech Republic
Phone: +420-491813468