Friday, 3 July 2009

Jiří Trnka

I had no idea that the Czech puppet animator Jiří Trnka had illustrated children's books, but there are plenty of examples here, here and here.

Trnka is best known for his final animation The Hand (1965), in which an artist is terrorized by and coerced into making sculptures of a giant hand. It's a none-too-subtle allegory of Stalinism, and unsurprisingly it was banned immediately after Trnka's death, although, like artist in the film, he was given a state funeral.


  1. Trnka was a master puppet film maker, and his book illustrations too are enchanting. A few years ago I picked up an excellent and hefty monograph about him in Prague. It's in Czech... which I don't speak... though it's so illustration rich that I'm happy to have it for the images.

    You might be interested in a lovely little book about him by Jaroslav Bocek. Jiri Trnka: artist and puppet maker, published by Artia in a 1965 English edition. I see that there are currently a few German copies on Abebooks. Worth having if you're drawn to Trnka.

  2. That certainly looks worth picking up, thanks for the tip! There are so many Eastern European artists and illustrators who are unjustly neglected in the Anglophone world.

  3. I see from elsewhere on your site that we're both fans. Try this for size:

    and this: