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ART: Jozef Božetech Klemens (1817 – 1883) Issue number
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1.20 €
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1.20 €

A painter, sculptor, photographer, natural scientist and inventor – Jozef Božetech Klemens (1817, Liptovský Mikuláš –1883, Wien) – was a versatile personality who was interested in a wide range of areas. Thanks to the support he was given by the Liptov bookseller and propagator of Slovak and Czech culture, Gašpar Fejérpataky – Belopotocký (1794 – 1874), he was able to leave for Prague in 1837 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. At first, he was accepted for a probationary period and from 1838 to 1843, he attended the Academy as a full time student. He began painting in a studio which belonged to a representative of the Nazarene movement, František Tadlík and then continued painting at Christian Ruben's atelier from 1840. In Prague, Jozef Božetech Klemens kept company with Czech patriots concentrated around Dr. Karel Slavoj Amerling and he also worked at Amerling's educational institute in Budeč. He painted portraits and was one of the first pioneers of daguerreotype. In 1842, he opened the first daguerreotype studio in Czechoslovakia, which was soon closed due to financial issues. Klemens and Amerling named the studio “světloobrazárna” (a gallery of pictures made with light), where they used the so-called Petzval lenses. As of 1843, he was active in Orava and Šariš and in 1846 he came back to Prague where he continued his studies and in 1846 he passed teaching exams in natural sciences, Czech and German for grammar schools. He also passed teaching exams for higher education institutions in 1855 and 1856. He became active within the Tatrín association. From the mid-1840s, Klemens was also carrying out revivalist activities in Slovakia. Like Peter Michal Bohúň, he was making portraits of various nationalists. After 1850 (except for a short period), he was working in Belgrade and subsequently, he conducted pedagogical activities in Žilina from 1856 and then in Banská Bystrica from 1863. Klemens had become a popular portrait painter and already made his first works while he was studying in Prague. He also portrayed several representatives of the Slovak National Movement as well as representatives of the Hungarian nobility and burghers. He used the Biedermeier style, which he gradually transformed into a realistic form. Later, he quite often used daguerreotype as a template to make portraits of his clients. When working in Žilina and Banská Bystrica, he devoted himself to painting altar pictures and he followed the Nazarene tradition, which he had learnt about while studying at the Academy in Prague. The postage stamp is inspired by Klemensʼ piece of art known as “Portrét pani Juppovej” (1845) (Portrait of Mrs. Juppová) and overprint on FDC is “Vykorenený strom” (1860 – 1870) (The Uprooted Tree), both of these pieces come from the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava.

                                                                                                                                                                                       Katarína Beňová

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