Václav Boštík / Blue for Jan Palach
The painting Blue for Jan Palach was an immediate reaction to Palach’s self-immolation in protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and in reaction to the torpor and passivity of society that quickly resigned itself to the occupation. Boštík’s work was an artistic reflection on the tragic lyricism of Palach’s clarity of vision and the spiritual dimension and moral invincibility of his heroism. The square painting is filled with a round blue spot with fuzzy edges symbolising hope. The artist used the magic of light at the beginning of his long series of works with a compelling spiritual content whereby he went down in the history of 20th century Czech art. The contemplative level of Boštík’s abstraction is disquieting because of the power of the interpretation of cosmic energy and at the same time reassuring with its faith and hope. The painting is one of the most characteristic representatives of non-pictorial art that is often termed lyrical abstraction. It is typical of the period when the picture was painted that it could only be included in the collection with the title shortened to Blue for political reasons. The original title was restored by the gallery in 1989.