Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

Vianoce Josefa Ladu - Pocta géniovi | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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The Scholarship of Radislav Matuštík has been established in 2004.


Vianoce Josefa Ladu - Pocta géniovi

Author: Josef Lada
Mirbach Palace (show Contact)
23. 11. 2018 - 3. 3. 2019

Christmas like from Lada´s picture  


Over 130 years have passed since the birth of Josef Lada, an exceptional figure of Czech painting. It is due to him that his picturesque native village of Hrusice has become the best known Czech village in the world. Lada was born into a family of a respected, yet poor shoemaker. Since the early childhood he had great fondness for drawing. Still, the road to success was long and hard. As a little boy he injured his eye. It was an accident. He felt down on his father´s shoemaker´s knife. For a painter, impaired sight is an enormous handicap; however, Lada coped with it excellently. He even had an ability of accurate and quick sight with a perfect visual memory. Moreover he could paint equally with his right or left hand. Like many other famous autodidacts he was characterised by diligence and tenaciousness. Naturally, it would not do without a fair amount of extraordinary talent assigned to him by the Fates.

     At the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague he stayed only for a short time. He basically left after the first term. And it was not only for the complete lack of money; the main reason was his rejection of academicism taught at the school. Initially he was strongly influenced by Mikoláš Aleš. He polished and simplified his style for many years until he attained a unique originality. He succeeded in developing his own idiosyncratic style.

     Lada drew inspiration mainly from his idealised memories of childhood spent in Hrusice. His most famous paintings show winter subjects, mainly Christmas, the most wonderful feast of the year. They radiate peace and tranquillity. He really liked children for whom he wrote and illustrated thirteen books. The first was the book Moje abeceda (My Alphabet) published in 1912; among the most famous ones are Bubáci a hastrmani (Bogeymen and Water Spirits), Kocour Mikeš (Mikeš The Cat), O bystrej kmotre líške (Sly Godmother Fox) and Ladův veselý přírodopis (Lada´s Cheerful Natural History).

     Readers could have appreciated Lada´s gentle humour in a number of comedy magazines published not only in the Czech Republic but also in Austria and Italy. In the world he became famous mainly for his illustrations to Jaroslav Hašek´s book The Good Soldier Švejk, which was translated into record number of languages.

     Emil Filla, a great Czech painter and theorist, described him as follows: “Lada is the artist standing out among the others. His poetically perceived paintings, which are so necessary to our hearts, please the eyes, evoke the peace of mind and encourage children and in particular the adults to admit the beauty of life and the beauty of a work of art.”

     Even Pablo Picasso was captivated by Lada´s works: “This man works with form just as freely as I do. He is the best Czech painter.” Josef Lada gained recognition for his work during his lifetime. When he died in 1957, just a few days before his seventieth birthday, the entire Czech nation mourned for him.  

     The exhibition presents 85 selected works by Josef Lada from the collections of six Czech galleries and private collectors. We would like to take this opportunity and thank them all. Our special thanks go to the artist´s grandson of the same name, without whom the exhibition wouldn´t have been possible.


Jan Kukal, 2018



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Josef Lada

Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curators: Jana Kapelová a Nina Vidovencová
27. 5. 2021 - 29. 8. 2021
Mirbach Palace / Accompanying action
19. 5. 2021 - 15. 7. 2021
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
1. 5. 2021 - 31. 12. 2021
Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curators: Daniela Čarná, Vladislav Malast
23. 3. 2021 - 11. 7. 2021

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Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
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