František Drtikol (1883–1961)

Tomáš Masaryk, first president of Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1935.

František Drtikol (1883–1961)  is considered one of the most important Czech photographers of the early 20th century, and his work is considered as an example of Art Deco photography. His portrait and nudes were often made in a highly stylized manner, with a focus on the geometric shapes and lines of the body. Drtikol's was also interested in the spiritual and mystical, and his photographs often contain symbolic and allegorical elements. 

Drtikol's portraits and nudes show development from pictorialism and symbolism to modern compositions in which the nude body is juxtaposed with large geometric structures and thrown shadows. These are reminiscent of Cubism, and at the same time his nudes suggest the kind of movement that was characteristic of the Futurist aesthetic.

He began using plywood figures in a period he called "photopurism".  The resulting images resembled silhouettes of the human form. In the final stage of his photographic work Drtikol created compositions of little carved figures, with elongated shapes, symbolically expressing various themes from Buddhism. In 1935 he gave up photography and concentrated on painting, Buddhist religious and philosophical systems.

Ervina Kupferova, dancer at the Czech National Theater and long-time model for Drtikol; from 1919 his wife.

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