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Venceslav Cerny (January 27, 1865 in Staré Benatky, now part of Benatky nad Jizerou - April 15, 1936 in Mlada Boleslav) was a Czech painter and illustrator


He studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts under Prof. Cermak and Lhota and later from 1885 at the Academy in Vienna under Prof. Gripenkerl. In 1887 he returned to Prague. The next year 1888 became an important milestone in his life: with the painters Boháac, Hettes, Hilšer, Klusacek, Joukl, Kosar, Krajicek, Leps, Rasek, Vavrik etc. he founded the Manes association and also met with thirty-six-year-old Mikolas Ales, then a warm friendship tied to Ales' death.
He alternately lived in Prague, Mlada Boleslav and the Zeleznice spa. Almost exclusively he devoted himself to illustration, both books (especially adventure books) and magazines (Svetozor, Golden Prague). He also dealt with historical, especially battle motifs in the form of drawings and large oil paintings.

He was a favorite illustrator of many Prague publishing houses ( Kvasnicka and Hampl, Alois Hynek, Touzimský and Moravec or Josef R. Vilimek), in whose publications he illustrated mainly books by Lidi Aleksejevna Carska, Frantisek Josef Cecetka, Alois Jirasek, Karel May and Henryk Sienkiewicz. He also decorated the memoirs of the Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova and, from 1893 to 1909, illustrated sixteen books by Jules Verne. In his studio there were countless props needed for study, maces, Hussite clothing, armor. This was again related to his love for history, especially for the Hussite movement.

In the field of illustrative painting, Black did a meritorious work. Although he illustrated 92 books only for Vilímek's publishing house and many others for Hynek, Kvasnicka-Hampl, Beaufort, etc., there is nothing inexpensive, conventional in a wealth of illustrative drawings. He has also won recognition at the international forum by illustrating Henryk Sienkiewicz's novels.

As far as the subject is concerned, Venceslav Cerny preferred the historical themes. His friendship with Alois Jirasek, documented by numerous preserved correspondence between the writer and the painter, certainly contributed to this. Black was a real master of motion. His movement scenes play every shape by dynamically straining the various motive possibilities of human and animal bodies.

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