JAROSLAV CERMAK : Vieillesse de Lomnicky-z-Budce
Signed and dated J. Cermak 1853 Paris
Oil on canvas, 91.4 x 119.4 cm (36 x 47 inches)
Count Eugen Karl Czernin (1796-1868), Vienna, commissioned directly from the
artist in 1851
Count Franz Jaromir Eugen Czernin (1857-1932), Vienna
Count Eugen Czernin (1892-1955), Vienna, inherited from the above in 1933
Private Collection of Fritz and Lilly Shaecter, Budapest, until the late 1940s,
thence brought with them to Queens, New York in 1949
Gifted to Robert and Koka Wollman (the Broadway singer and actress, Julieska
(Juliette) Koka) in 1987
Juliette Koka’s Estate, until May 2011
Private Collection, New Jersey
Paris, Salon, 1853, no. 216 (awarded "mention honorable")
Prague, Zofin Island annual exhibition, 1854
Brussels, Salon, 1854
Vienna, Vom Local-Comite in Wien, 1888, no. 99
Official request from The National Gallery in Prague for a special exhibition
dedicated to the present work at the Sternberg Palace (Permanent Collection of
Old Masters), also to include an accompanying exhibition catalogue
L'Illustration, Journal Universel, Paris, Vol. XXI, No. 538, 18 June 1853, p. 392,
Anton Ritter von Perger, Ősterreichische Blätter für Literatur und Kunst, Vienna,
1853, p. 236
Ferdinand B. Mikovec, Lumir: Jaroslav Cermak, Prague, Vol. IV, issue 42, 19
October 1854, pp. 1001-1002
Victor V. Joly, Les Beaux-Arts en Belgique de 1848 à 1857, Brussels, 1857, p. 163
Catalog der Gemälde-Gallerie Seiner Excellenz des Grafen Jaromir Czernin von
Chudenitz in Wien, Vienna, c. 1869, p. 29, catalogue number 298.
Adolf F. Seubert, Allgemeines Kunstlerlexicon, Stuttgart, 1878, Vol. 1, p. 333
Josef Fric, Světozor: Vzpomínka na Jaroslava Čermáka, Prague, 1886, p. 604,
John D. Champlin and Charles C. Perkins, Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings, Vol.
I, New York and London, 1888, p. 362
Jan Otto, Ottuv Slovnik Naucny, Prague, 1893, Vol. 6, p. 599
Count Antoine Seilern, Wiener Galerien, Vienna, c. 1900, published by V.A. Heck,
illustrated as the seventh plate
Frantisek X. Harlas, Malirstvi, Prague, 1908, p. 35
Wassily J. Knoch, Guide to Count Czernin's Picture Gallery, c. 1910, p. 15, no. 298
Henri Hantic, L'Art tchèque au XIXe siècle, Paris and Prague, 1910, pp. 9-10
Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler,
Leipzig, 1912, Vol. 7/8, p. 242
Frantisek X. Harlas, Jaroslav Cermak, Prague, 1914, illustrated as the second plate
Frantisek Zakavec, Umeni: Po jubilejní výstavě Jaroslava Čermáka (1878-1928),
Prague, 1929, Vol. 2, pp. 152-154, illustrated p. 155
George C. Williamson, Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, London, 1930,
Vol. 1, p. 277
Vratislav Cerny, Frantisek V. Mokry, Vaclav Naprstek, Život a dílo Jaroslava
Čermáka, Prague, 1930, pp. 28-30, illustrated as plate 4
Emmanuel Siblik, Le peintre Jaroslav Cermak 1830-1878, Prague and Paris, 1930, pp.
18, 20
Karl Wilczek, Katalog der Graf Czernin'schen Gemäldegalerie in Wien, Vienna,
1936, p. 28, catalogue number 298
Prokop Toman, Nový slovník československých výtvarných umělců, Prague, 1947, p.
Vojtech Volavka, Ceska kresba XIX stoleti, Prague, 1949, pp. 92, 94
Frantisek V. Mokry, Jaroslav Cermak, Prague, 1953, pp. 10, 11, 27, illustration of the
preparatory charcoal drawing as plate 16
Vojtech Volavka, Ceske Malirstvi a Socharstvi 19. Stoleti, Prague, 1968, p. 128
Frantisek Kozik, Pouta vernosti: Roman o zivote a dile malire Jaroslava Cermaka,
Prague, 1971, p. 60-62, and p. 325 for illustration of the preparatory charcoal drawing
Vera Soukupova, Jaroslav Cermak, Prague, 1981, pp. 24, 81, illustrated p. 15
Eva Reitharova, Adolf Kosarek, Prague, 1984, pp. 6, 10
Pierre Sanchez and Xavier Seydoux, Les Catalogues des Salons, Vol. VI (1852-1857),
Paris, 1999, p. 68
Marie Mzykova, Kridla slavy: Vojtech Hynais, cesti Parizane a Francie, Prague,
2001, Vol. 1, p. 143, illustrated
Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Paris, 2006, vol. 3, p. 664
Petra Kozlova, Osobnost Jaroslava Čermáka a jeho přínos pro zviditelnění Černé
Hory v Čechách, Dissertation, Masaryk University, Brno, 2010, pp. 9-10
Zdenek Hojda, La patrie et la foi: Exil religieux après la Montagne Blanche dans la
tradition du 19e siècle, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (online
Cermak was only twenty years old when he received the prestigious commission from
Count Eugen Karl Czernin (1796-1868) for the present painting which depicts a
patriotic scene from Czech history. It was awarded an honorable mention at the Paris
Salon of 1853 and was one of only four paintings from the exhibition selected to be
illustrated in that year’s article on the Salon in Illustration - Journal Universel (18
June 1853). The painting received further accolades the following year when it was
exhibited in both Prague and Brussels .
This work depicts Simon Lomnicky of Budec (1552-1622), the former Court Poet of
Emperor Rudolf II, begging on the Charles Bridge in Prague. On the losing side in the
religious wars between Catholics and Protestants raging in Bohemia after Rudolf II's
death, Lomnicky was stripped of his title and all possessions after The Battle of White
Mountain (1620) which saw the definitive defeat of the Protestant side. The young
poet Lomnicky is shown seated on the wall looking down on his elder self. Cermak
himself described the subject of the painting in a note in the Paris Salon catalogue as
"Lomnicky, gentilhomme bohémien, poète du roi Rodolphe II, fut dépouillé de tous ses
biens et honneurs pour avoir pris part à la guerre de l'indépendance de la Bohême
contre l'Autriche. Réduit ainsi à la plus extrême misère, il fut contraint, dans sa
vieillesse, à mendier pour vivre, en chantant ses poésies sur le pont de Prague."
Cermak made a fairly complete preparatory charcoal drawing for the Lomnicky
picture shown below (reproduction from FV Mokry's 1953 monograph):
By the early 19th Century the Czernin Collection was widely considered the greatest
private collection of paintings in Austria and the commission of the present work by
Count Czernin firmly established the artist’s reputation (see Seubert 1878,
Williamson 1930 and Mokry 1953).
Born into a prominent Prague family, Jaroslav Cermak began his artistic training in
1848 at the Prague Academy and continued his studies a year later in Belgium under
Louis Gallait (1810-1887). In 1851 Cermak settled in Paris where he lived for the rest
of his life except for prolonged sojourns in Montenegro and Rome. Cermak was also
a leading proponent of the “Czech National Revival” movement which sought the
revival of Czech language, culture and national identity. Cermak became well known
both in his adopted homeland (France) as well as his native land where he was offered
the Directorship of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in 1873 (which he turned down).
Cermak is a seminal figure in Czech art history who led the transformation of his
nation's painting from Romanticism to Realism and was the first prominent Czech
artist to settle in Paris.

JAROSLAV CERMAK : Vieillesse de Lomnicky-z-Budce