Twentysecond episode of the program “Pralines. Deliciousness from the world of art” by Ly thi Thanh Thao and Sergio Mandelli dedicated to Jan Knap.
Jan Knap is born in 1949, in Chrudim in the Czech Republic.
In 1970 he attends the Academy of Fine arts in Dusseldorf, where he comes to know Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter and other protagonists of the art domain of that period.
But this experience doesn’t last long.
He flies to New York, where he can totally dedicate himself to painting.
At that time his reference point is Paul Cézanne, from whom he learns to give a solid structure to his artworks then characterized by action painting.
Afterwards he feels attracted to the world of fables.
Back to Europe, he decides to execute paintings that have the power to offer to viewers the emotions conceptualism is unable to furnish.
Jan Knap encounters Peter Angermann and Milan Kunc, with whom, in1979, he founds the Normal Group.
Alongside with this aesthetic pursuit, he carries out a kind of spiritual research.
He is illuminated by the positive behavior of Christianity in front of real life. So he decides to attend the theology courses in Rome.
He discovers the Renaissance, falls in love with Antonello da Messina, whose art can be considered as the union of Italian and Flemish art worlds.
Through this kind of painting Jan Knap rediscovers the concreteness, the solidity, the sensuality he has yearned for since his academic years.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, he has been elaborating a subject that still distinguishes him nowadays: it deals with the childhood of Jesus, comforted by his Mother, cheered up by the presence of cherubim, in a bucolic landscape.
This genre of painting, so rare in the contemporary artistic landscape, highlights pure feelings such as tenderness and family affection, and finally leads us to a possible world of enchantment and of beauty.
Jan Knap’s masterwork is graciously set in the iconographic tradition of the Renaissance.
It’s the unique case in the artistic panorama of the second half of the twentieth century. Jan Knap therefore deserves a place in the art history of the world.