The book was published to coincide with an exhibition to mark the centenary of the opening of the Municipal House in Prague in 1912.
The book was published to coincide with an exhibition to mark the centenary of the opening of the Municipal House in Prague in 1912. It creates a mosaic portrait of the year 1912, which was quite literally full of revolutionary events. The book’s essays are therefore understandably written by researchers from various fields, from historians of art and architecture, to philosophers and literary and theatre historians. The book is divided into a series of thematically linked sections that loosely mirror the four seasons. The first, ‘Winter 1911–1912’, generally discusses that point in history and contemplates the very purpose of such reflections on a single year; it also offers readers the special insights of historians of architecture. The section ‘Spring 1912’ focuses on the decoration of the Municipal House and the exhibitions held there by the Group of Fine Artists and Sursum. These two sections are accompanied by a pair of special texts that survey the contemporary work of Bohumil Kubišta and analyse Otto Gutfreund’s sculpture Anxiety. ‘Summer 1912’ contains essays in the field of art history focusing on the wider international context. Finally, ‘Autumn 1912’ is an interdisciplinary section with a survey of contemporary literature – it was the year, for instance, that Franz Kafka wrote his Metamorphosis – and introduces a gender perspective. Each of the sections is separated by a visual calendar drawing on photographic reproductions published in the weekly magazine Český svět [Czech World], an illustrated social magazine that in the years before the First World War was one of the most important illustrated periodicals published in Czech. Top photographers (Brunner-Dvořák, Bufka, Drtikol, Reach) contributed to the magazine, as did a number of amateur photographers, and owing to its broad thematic scope Český svět was literally a visual chronicle of its era, preserving in print to the present day shots that now no longer exist. The interdisciplinary character of the book and its almost four hundred illustrations make this publication an indisputable asset to the field of historical research and a natural inspiration for viewing the events of the early 20th century in the widest possible context.