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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rotrekl on the U2 album

In 1995, one of the world´s most popular rock band U2 released an experimental album called Original Soundtracks 1. Brian Eno, producer of three previous U2 albums, contributed as a full partner. For this reason and due to the record's highly experimental nature, the band chose to release it under the name "Passengers" to distinguish it from U2's conventional albums.

For the cover of the album they used a cut-out from Teodor Rotrekl´s interior illustration for a book Šest dnů na Luně 1 (1963) - see below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neznayka in the City of Sun

Soviet writer Nikolay Nosov (1908 - 1976) frote several books of adventures of the little boy Neznayka (Neználek) and his friends. The second, Neznayka in the City of Sun (Neználek ve Slunečním městě, 1958 in Russian, Czech translation 1961) is set in the utopian City of Sun in many ways resembling the future communist society. For Czech children, ignorant about the political content, it had been one of the most popular books in the 1960´s and 1970´s. It had been illustrated by Jaromír Zápal (1923 - 1984) in a way that probably exceeds the original Soviet illustrations.

Zápal´s illustrations (above) had influenced the childhood of the future generation of Czech artists. No wonder some of them expressed the need for creative remix of the dominant artworks of their youth. The love/hate relationship to the Zápal´s pictures is evident in their ironical remakes by Pavel Karous (b. 1979) from 2002. See below.

Andromeda Nebula

Milan Kopřiva´s artwork for the Czech Edition of Ivan Yefremov´s Mlhovina v Andromedě (The Andromeda Nebula) from 1968.

Pre-WW II book covers

Zdeněk Burian had been active as an illustrator sice the end of 1920´s. In the decades of 1930´s and 1940´s he created several great cover artworks.

Big Question Marks

Illustrations for Ludvík Souček´s popular book Velké otazníky (Big Question Marks, 1967) about great mysteries of our history belong among the best Burian´s book artworks.

Laser blasters, space pistols

Popular toys in the 1960´s had been various "space pistols". They made sounds and lights.

The two exemplars above are Czech Astronautical pistol Mars from 1966 (made by Ites). The yellow piese is also Czech, Mechanical Pistol MP, made by Strojsmalt in the 1960´s. The item below right is of unknown origin.

Magazine covers (VTM)

Czech magazine Věda a technika mládeži (Science and Technology for the Youth) had been founded in 1947 (formerly as Mladý technik - Young Engineer). It served as a main source of futuristic journalism and imagery in the 1950´s and 1960´s. Most of the futuristic covers are drawn by František Škoda. The magazine had been stopped by the publisher in 2009, now it exists only as a web page, without any original artwork.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Planet Eden

Stanislaw Lem´s sf novel Planeta Eden (Planet Eden) had been first published in Czech translation in the magazine Technický magazín in 1959. Cover artwork by Teodor Rotrekl.

Czech artist Kamil Lhoták drew the same scene for the first Czech book edition of the novel in 1960.

Cosmic safety matches

This series of cosmic safety matches had been made probably at the occasion of the Prague exhibition Man and the Space Flights in 1963.

Lunokhod 1 Piko

Lunokhod 1 made by East German factory Piko.

Home-made spaceships

The space program was exotic and geographicaly distant. But the children found their own way - "astronaut play" became a natural part of their world as well as its media image. Cover for the Ohníček magazine (1962) by Adolf Born.

Soviet postcard for the International women´s day.

Illustration by Miloš Nesvadba for the Czech edition of Edith Anderson´s book Děti, psi a raktey (Hunde, Kinder und Raketen, 1959).

Illustration by Neprakta for a book of short stories Pohádky strýčka Jedličky (1963) by Antonín Jedlička.

10-minute animated short Krava na Mjesecu (Cow on the Moon, 1959) made by Yugoslavian artist and director Dusan Vukotic. It is a cult vintage piece for generations of Czech children since a copy of the movie had been in possession of the the Stefanikova observatory in Prague and it had been played to every school group visit. Vukotic later made a Czech-Yugoslavian feature film Monstrum z galaxie Arkana (The Monster from the Arkana Galaxy, 1981).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Into the space

Space flight is the subject of various children´s games. This one called Do vesmíru (Into the Space) had been made in 1964 by Czech cooperative society Směr.

Mechanical friend

Zdeněk Burian´s cover for a children´s magazine Ohníček from 1960 demonstrates his old-fashioned view of the modern technology.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gagarin, Son of Russia

The pictures above come from a fascinating book Syn Rossii (Son of Russia) devoted to the memory of Yuri Gagarin and published in Moscow in 1981. The book contains a long poem (not very good) by Albert Likhanov and 28 color paintings by a group of artists Kalerya and Boris Kukulyev and Oleg An. The artists come from the village Palekh in the Ivanovo region, known for a tradition of icon painting. The pictures had been made in the traditional lacquered style. Stylish attempt to include the first Soviet astronaut into the context of Russian mythology.

Dave Lawrence, living in Ukraine with his Ukrainian wife, found the pictures from the book as a set of postcards printed in 1987. See his blog entry.