The Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen

The Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen (Czech Republic)
Pražská 13
301 00 Pilsen

JOSEF TETÍNEK (1903 Soběslav – 1978 Pilsen):
Landscape with the Trojan Horse, 1963
Tempera, Plywood, 64 x 73 cm
O 1530


By Courtesy of The Gallery of West Bohemia/Pilsen

Click to enlarge!

Josef Tetínek is unjustly still very little known in the Czech lands. He came to Pilsen from Prague in 1931. Here he quickly became involved in the local art scene and became one of the most original and high-quality artists of both the interwar and the post-war period in Pilsen. He was active here as a scenographer as well. Tetínek’s decidedly introverted works include imaginative and social civilist topics treated in a lyrical mode. The artist used a technique that was demanding from the technological point of view (combination of tempera and encaustics) and his paintings are characterized by a idiosyncratic, intellectually elaborated imagination.

The classical theme of the Trojan Horse from Homer’s Iliad was contemplated for a long time by Tetínek and in the early sixties he treated it in a series of several paintings among which was also the work that we present here. The painting exemplifies Tetínek’s specific, almost psychoanalytical approach to the classical topic: the wooden horse – the stash of Achaean conquerors – is paradoxically transformed into a gentle toy, composed simply of wooden chocks. In the background, the Trojan castle is towering on a rocky island and a red cloud behind it has the menacing shape of a flying lance. Epical Homeric theme is recast into an ambivalent form in which inner dream and historical myth, lyrical poetics and epical drama are interwoven into one another.

Text by Petr Jindra, Deputy Director