Jakub Špaňhel


The iconography of gothic and baroque church interiors so rare in the Czech setting served as the subject for Jakub Špaňhel’s cycle with which he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. The paintings from this cycle have come to represent an archetype of the artist’s work. Špaňhel’s truly authentic style is presented in two-metre canvases with expressive simplification in a monochromatic range of blacks, grays and gold through which he brilliantly manages to express the mysterious transcendental atmosphere of sacral buildings. Even though he had graduated from Milan Knížák’s and Jiří David’s studio of conceptual art, Jakub Špaňhel feels high esteem for the painting tradition: the works of William Turner, Rembrandt or Václav Hollar as well as strictly painterly qualities and traditional genres.  Among these, favoured flower and butterfly portraits can be found as well as unoccupied interiors, chandeliers, female nudes, cities at night and landscapes with petrol stations, cemeteries and crematoria. Špaňhel depicts simple things that surround him so that he can partially veil them with some baroque mysticism and dynamic which hallmarks them as something unique and rare. He treats his subject matter with humility similar to Bohuslav Reynek’s when he lent soul to his materials and which inspired Špaňhel’s rural cycle. 


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