“…Kvetouci strom lhal lásky žel, svou lásku slavik růži pěl…”
The line above is from the lyrical, epic poem “Máj” (May) by Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha (1810 – 1836). The English translation found online is “…blossoming tree lied love, his love rose nightingale sang.” “Máj” was published at the poet’s expense in 1836, and not well received by critics and contemporaries, who judged it to be too confusing and chaotic. Mácha died at the age of 25, having contracted pneumonia after over-exerting himself in helping to put out a fire. Recognition of his literary contributions did not come until later: In the 1850s he was glorified by other writers; in the late 1930’s his body was exhumed and given a state burial; a statue honors him in Petřín Park, Prague; he’s been commemorated on several postage stamps; a lake was named after him in 1961; and the work “Máj” is now considered a classic of Czech Romanticism.
The artist, M. Aleš
Mikoláš Aleš (1852 – 1913) is regarded as one of the Czech Republic’s greatest artists, and unlike the poet recognized on this postcard, Aleš did enjoy fame during his lifetime, at least for his architectural paintings; after his death his paintings and drawings became more widely acclaimed. It’s estimated that he had over 5,000 works published, appearing in a wide variety of media, including magazines, textbooks and even playing cards.
This postcard is estimated to be from the 1910s – 1921 due to the publisher information found at the ever-helpful Metropostcard.com site. The publishing company Minerva (1890 – 1921) was founded by Bohemian poet, Eliska Krasnohorska. By at least 1912, they were publishing Art reproductions.
Divided back, unused, artist-signed, Czech postcard. Publisher: Minerva. Circa 1910s – 1921.
Sources: Máj. Karel Hynek Mácha. English translation. [https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=cs&u=http://www.lupomesky.cz/maj/&prev=search] Web accessed September 17, 2015.
Karel Hynek Mácha. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Hynek_M%C3%A1cha. (accessed September 17, 2015).
Minerva (1890-1921) M-Publishers, p. 2. [http://www.metropostcard.com/publishersm2.html] Web accessed September 17, 2015.