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Culture & People
 
 
 

General

Slovakia has a very rich, old and diverse folk culture (songs, fairy tales, dances), literature, music and art. The art of Slovakia can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when some of the greatest masterpieces of the country's history were created. Significant figures from this period included the many masters, among them the Master Paul of Levoa and Master MS. More contemporary art can be seen in the shadows of Koloman Sokol, Albín Brunovský, Martin Benka, Mikuláš Galanda and udovít Fulla. The most important Slovak composers have been Eugen Sucho, Ján Cikker and Alexander Moyzes, in the 21st century Vladimir Godar and Peter Machajdik.

The most famous Slovak names can indubitably be attributed to invention and technology. Such people include Jozef Murgaš, the inventor of wireless telegraphy; Ján Bahý, the inventor of the motor-driven helicopter; Jozef Maximilián Petzval, inventor of the camera zoom and lens (although he considered himself an ethnic Hungarian); Jozef Karol Hell (although German by heritage), inventor of the industrial water pump; Štefan Bani, inventor of the modern parachute; Aurel Stodola, inventor of the bionic arm and pioneer in thermodynamics; and, more recently, John Dopyera, father of modern acoustic string instruments. Štefan Anián Jedlík Slovakia is also known for its polyhistors, of whom include Pavol Jozef Šafárik, Matej Bel, Ján Kollár, and its political revolutionaries, such Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Alexander Dubek.

There were two leading persons who codified the Slovak language. The first one was Anton Bernolák whose concept was based on the dialect of western Slovakia (1787). It was the enactment of the first national literary language of Slovaks ever. The second notable man was udovít Štúr. His formation of the Slovak language had principles in the dialect of central Slovakia (1843).

The best known Slovak hero was Juraj Jánošík (the Slovak equivalent of Robin Hood). Prominent explorer Móric Benyovszky had Slovak ancestors.

In terms of sports, the Slovaks are probably best known (in North America) for their hockey personalities, especially Stan Mikita, Peter Šastný, Peter Bondra, Žigmund Pálffy and Marián Hossa. For a list see List of Slovaks.

Art & Architecture

Slovakia's modern art is influenced both by European art and Slovakian folklore, and is today represented by a number of artistic associations. The contemporary trends in Slovakian sculpture are influenced by such older generation artists as Kompanok and Rudavskym, who are representatives of the Classical school and use traditional materials, and the younger generation sculptors, who utilise more original materials and are inspired by psychological approaches.

Architecture and sculpture saw significant development in the 19th and 20th centuries, influenced by Western European styles. The most distinguished artists of the period included J.B. Klemens and Peter Michal Bohn. In the late 19th century, the works of landscape and figure artists Dominik Skutek and Ladislav Medansk received nation-wide recognition. Influential artists of the early 20th century included the Surrealist artist Weiner-Krl and Cubist artist Ester Simerov-Martincekov. Other distinguished artists of the same era included Ludovt Fulla, Martin Benka, Mikulaj Galanda and Mikulaj Bazorsk, as well as the architect Duajan Jurkovic. Among the famous pieces of Slovakian art is the Venus of Monoravy, dating from the Paleolithic Age. Pieces from the Stone and Bronze Ages also make up Slovakia's heritage, as well as religious architecture from the Great Moravian Empire.

Literature

The first monuments of literature in present-day Slovakia are from the time of Great Moravia (from 863 to the early 10th century). Authors from this period are Saint Cyril, Saint Methodius and Clement of Ohrid. Works from this period, mostly written on Christian topics include: poem Proglas as a foreword to the four Gospels, partial translations of the Bible into Old Church Slavonic, Zakon sudnyj ljudem, etc.

The medieval period covers the span from the 11th to the 15th century. Literature in this period was written in Latin, Czech and slovakised Czech languages. Lyric (prayers, songs and formulas) was still controlled by the Church, while epic was concentrated on legends. Authors from this period include Johannes de Thurocz, author of the Chronica Hungarorum and Maurus. The worldly literature also emerged and chronicles were written in this period.

The character of a national literature first emerged in the 16th century, much later than in other national literatures. Latin dominates as the writing language in the 16th century. Besides the Church topics, antique topics, related to the ancient Greece and Rome.


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