"Our designs are always based on life studies. Even if the design is abstract, we believe that everything comes from life, and so the proportions are always human." –Jiří Harcuba. Jiří Harcuba specializes in portraiture. A renowned engraver and teacher, he uses sculptural and optical effects to create the facial features of his subjects. This work commemorates the Czech artist Vladimír Kopecký. For Harcuba, Kopecký represents freedom in art and in glass, and he depicts the artist with a mass of energetic cuts.
“By engraving,” Jiří Harcuba said, “we leave traces, traces of ourselves.” A specialist in portraits in glass, Harcuba worked in an abstract style inspired by the pureness and simplicity of prehistoric art. His portraits were of friends and historical people that he admired; he enjoyed discovering individuals through the careful looking that it takes to make a portrait.
In this double portrait, Harcuba portrays Václav Havel (Czech, 1936–2011)—the prominent playwright, poet, and political dissident—with minimal, spare cuts. An inspiring leader, Havel is a symbol of political and personal freedom. After the fall of communism in 1989, he was president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) and then the Czech Republic (1993–2003) during its important first decade of independence. The other personality that Harcuba commemorates is the respected artist Vladimír Kopecký (Czech, b. 1931), whom he depicts with a mass of energetic cuts. An innovator and an accomplished painter and sculptor in glass and mixed media, Kopecký represents freedom in art and in glass.