• cz
  • en

Frantisek Zenisek (May 25, 1849 in Prague - November 15, 1916 in Prague) painter
Already at a very young, childhood, he took private lessons to the painter Karel Javurek. He studied in Prague at a real grammar school. Between 1863 and 1865 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, then from 1865 to 1866 at the Academy in Vienna. He returned back in 1866 and then until 1874 he continued his studies at the Prague Academy with prof. Trenkwald and Jan Sweerts.
In 1875 Zenisek went through Vienna to Belgium where, together with Bohumir Roubalik according to Sweerts' designs, he created wall paintings in Courtray in the town hall hall and inspired by the work of old masters. From 1875 to 1877 he performed cartons for the windows of the Votive Church in Vienna with Josef Tulka and Max Pirner, according to Trenkwald's sketches. In 1877, he created the order of the Viennese gallerist Miethke's cycle of drawings Animal and Petrovsky. In 1877 he arranged his own studio in Prague, which he shared with Antonin Chittussi. In 1878 he visited the world exhibition in Paris and a year later he traveled with Mikolas Ales to Italy, in 1884 he stayed in the Netherlands, accompanied by his friend and main customer Josef Sebestian Daubek. On these trips he copied the old masters.
From 1877 to 1883 he was one of the main authors of the decoration of the National Theater in Prague. He was one of the leading members of the so-called National Theater Generation. He beautified the ceiling of the National Theater auditorium. He painted eight allegorical female figures, framed on the auditorium ceiling, in a circle around the main chandelier, representing various arts: Architecture, Sculpture, Dance, Mimic, Epic, Lyric, Music and Painting. In addition to the auditorium, he also decorated the foyer and won the competition for the design of the main curtain, which was destroyed in a fire in 1881.
He also worked on the design of stained-glass windows for the churches of Sv. Cyril and Methodius in Karlin and Sv. Ludmila at Peace Square in Prague. Among other things, he also made cardboard cartons for wall paintings in Gregrov and Smetana Hall of the Municipal House. Zenisek is also the author of lunettes in the National Museum and Sgraffito for the Old Town Waterworks. An interesting pearl in Zenisek's work is the decoration of the ceiling of the railway dining car, which was made to order by the Viennese court of Franz Joseph I.
From 1885 to 1896 he worked as a professor at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, then in 1896 he moved to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he taught until 1915. He was an active member of the Umelecka beseda and co-founder of the Union of Fine Artists in 1898. He became a member of the Czech Academy.
Zenisek's beginnings were greatly influenced by his studies in Vienna, but also by the historical painting of the Belgian school, which he recognized during his work on murals at Courtray. According to Tyrs, his work in the style of the classical ideal of Raffael's painting and his followers in the 19th century was also inspired by the Manes tradition in our art. The importance of the classically beautiful academically precisely conceived female nude for his painting was already noticed by his contemporaries. He has painted a number of prominent personalities - Cardinal Schwarzenberg, Emperor Franz Joseph I, Anna Princess of Lobkowicz and others.
In his time he was a highly respected and valued painter, because he dealt mainly with strongly patriotic themes, which helped to elevate the Czech national identity. His work reflected the feelings and opinions of his generation, but his drawings, compositions and artistic performances are undoubtedly timeless and perfectly reflect the atmosphere of his time and the importance of European academism and historicism of the last third of the 19th century.
He is represented in the National Gallery in Prague, the Prague Castle Picture Gallery and many other state and private collections in the Czech Republic and abroad.