Maxmilián Pirner, Fire and Light, 1894

GAVU – Opus magnum

6. 7.–1. 10. 2023

Curated by Marcel Fišer

A pastel study by Maxmilián Pirner (1854–1924) from the GAVU Cheb collections became the impetus for the research that resulted in this small exhibition. Pirner ranked to the National Theater generation; however, his painting announced Symbolism that found its full expression only later in the works of his students at the Prague Academy. He was a founding member of the Wiener Secession. In 1899, the association’s Ver sacrum magazine dedicated a comprehensive medallion to him with numerous reproductions, including the triptych Fire and Light (1894). The pair of side paintings reflected the artist’s favorite principle of opposites of meaning, often in the form of analogies between ancient and Christian myths. In the first, he depicted Heracles liberating the chained Prometheus; in the second, the scene before the Deposition. This painting, based on the study from Cheb, has survived to this day. The works relate to the title of the triptych: the first refers to the fire that Prometheus stole from the gods and brought to humankind, the second to the light, metaphorically to the hope of eternal life, which in turn was given to humanity by Christ.

Maxmilián Pirner, Fire and Light, 1894 -


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