Philippics Against Misomuses

It’s good manners to suspect the offspring of artists of looking uncritically at their parents – daughters, in turn, of directly “nagging their dads.”

However, it has a small catch, because it also applies “By deeds you will know them” (ie not only the artists).

And there is one general rule:  children of cantors – especially those   “from the age of 3 dragged around the cantors-halls”,  are perfectly immune to pedagogy. Little Rudolph (the future Emperor Rudolph II), educated at the Spanish court, was later again completely immune to any political intrigue (still unappreciated).

And the daughter of a painter (and a poetess), growing up in an environment of painting, insider discussions about art (e.g. with Sudek) and listening sessions of selected music, absorbs at an early age things that many an adept in art history will not get to even decades later. If a daughter continues to paint (and restore) as an adult, that is, to study, do and teach it, then this, along with the aforementioned genetic foundation, is not only the essence of a mastered “craft” but also what the craft itself transcends.

To this we must add the synergy of that genetic and “being” disposition (meaning natural mediality), enabling connection to the creative space of both parents. The “both parents” is essential here, since Stanislava (the painter’s first wife) affects the artist’s creative space permanently, i.e. not only after their formal separation, but even after her death.

Genetics, childhood upbringing, study-practice-pedagogy, mediality – the disposition shaped by all this opens a direct insight into the individual paintings for Andrei Bělotsvětov’s daughter and allows her to decode their content, whether they were created in one or another period of creation. Of course, she does not decode anything in many of the paintings – she just knows. For the paintings she has seen being made, this is not surprising, and for the others – not really.

All this gives Andrea Belotsvetová an orientation in art in general (i.e. not only fine art). With Bělocvětov, however, the matter is somewhat complicated by the fact that to get a deeper insight into his work, one does not just need artistic experience, education, or even the aforementioned insight or connection. Bělotsvětov is specific in that he works with themes over a long period of time, even over the course of decades, transforming or morphing themes, content and individual elements. Themes that seem to be buried can emerge with new force even decades later.

The estimated number of Andrei’s paintings is between 4,000 and 6,000,  photographically documented about 1,500 (drawings are countless).  And more than three quarters of them Andrea must have seen.  Thus we have derived another key prerequisite for understanding this painter – an overview.  Only this, together with the rest of the above, allows us to perceive the complexity, compactness, coherence and internal logic of Bělotsvětov’s work.

Which brings us to the point:

I had repeatedly the opportunity to observe a situation when   the   mentioned daughter was grasping at the head,   how the gallerist,   art historian, or anyone else,   “could be so blind,   that he could not see it”  and there was no power that could explain to her that the person in question not only could not see it, but – !! by the very nature of things – could not see it.

Then from the other side, equally indignant:  “how can she claim”,  “where did she pick it up”,  or –  “how can she know so surely” .  They are a little right – she can’t. In many cases, even a self-educated art historian – without the aforementioned “connections” and insight – cannot see it. This is not a matter of mere “erudition” or education, but of mantics, here moreover mantics reinforced by blood connection on the one hand and insight on the other.

And so we find that the title of the text is actually a bit of irony. We are trying to bring together two incompatible worlds. Worlds so far apart that one side is unable to perceive the possibilities of the other, let alone judge them.

For the die-hard skeptics – the whole “connection and insight” thing – I’ll add the following comment:

In the obituary for the passing of my spiritual teacher – the academic painter V. J. Žižka I wrote: “He unerringly read the hidden or forgotten content of symbols, myths, as well as the hidden messages stored in the paintings of his beloved masters.”  In the 30 years I was able to be near him, I repeatedly witnessed him seeing things that only the author could know. And because of that, I know that many things you won’t see until the author himself “whispers them in your ear.”

Ing. Petr Rastokin

How I came to all this:
I’ve been in contact with Andrei Bělotsvětov’s paintings for more than half a century, and I remember Stanislava, the painter’s first wife, still living in the flat at Újezd.  By 1973, most of the paintings that remained at Újezd had passed through my hands (and even several times) – I didn’t know only those that were then in Sudek’s estate. The top works from the period up to 1962, as well as the later ones, were owned by Sudek and I had the opportunity to get acquainted with them much later – at the exhibition in the Capek Gallery (1986), where the paintings from the NG property were also exhibited.