Painter of human misery

Josef Václav Myslbek, son of the famous sculptor, has been described as a painter of human misery, suffering, abandonment, loneliness and sadness. Karel Myslbek was a sensitive observer of ordinary people, whose harsh living conditions he captured in his work.

He was also interested in the world of circus and theatre, which he considered as a reflection of the hardship of human existence. The names of his paintings reveal their gloomy atmosphere. His best-known works include ‘Slepý’ (The Blind), ‘Neštěstí’ (Accident), ‘Vystěhovalci’ (Emigrants), ‘V nemocnici‘ (In the Hospital), ‘Před pohřbem‘ (Before the Funeral), and the ‘Black Pierrot‘.

Unfortunately, Karel Myslbek died by suicide at the age of forty-one, on the 21st of August 1915. He was at the time a reserve officer in Kraków, on his way to the front. He could no longer bear the horrors and sufferings of the omnipresent war.


Collection of Prints and Drawings

The National Gallery’s Collection Print and Drawings is one of the ten largest and most significant collections of its kind in Europe. With an incredible number of 400,000 graphics, drawings and fragments of illuminated manuscripts ranging from the Middle Ages to the present, it is the largest collection in the National Gallery.


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