(b Mirotice, nr Písek, Nov 18, 1852; d Prague, July 10, 1913).
Czech painter, illustrator and designer. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague under Josef Mathias von Trenkwald (1824–97) and Jan Swerts (1820–79), and he rarely travelled, except to Vienna in 1873 and Italy in 1877. He was one of the leading Bohemian artists of the so-called Generation of the National Theatre. The décor of this theatre, opened in 1881 and again after a fire in 1883, marked a national artistic rebirth. Aleš, together with František Ženíšek, had won the competition in 1877 to decorate the walls, lunettes and ceilings of the theatre foyer. Aleš’s cycle My Country, designed for the lunettes, is one of the most famous Czech works of art.
In the late 1870s Aleš emerged as a draughtsman and painter with a rich imagination. He outlined many cycles to be finished later and he studied heraldry, which contributed to the development of his original ornamental style. He applied this style for the first time on painted furniture, as in ...