The world of Štěpán Zavřel

 Walking with God

The tribute to Štěpán Zavřel, on the occasion of the thirty-eighth edition of Le immagini della fantasia, is manifested in the desire to exhibit some tables created by the Master to illustrate the Bible. A Bible designed for children that intertwines stories, values, teachings and above all speaks of love.

The exhibition is accompanied by a text by Giuliano Zanchi, a profound connoisseur of the work of Štěpán Zavřel, to whom has already dedicated important writings.

“The pictorial levity with which he portrays plants, skies, animals and partial views achieves an extremely natural rendering of the imaginary gurgling of the beings, expanding as it constantly evolves. The space seems to be exuberantly filled with tinted whipped cream. The imagination of life and the will which creates it is endless. At the same time this rich abundance always generates harmony rather than disorder. This is no frenzied whirlwind of elements. It is a concerto of forms that are carefully balanced”. And again about the illustrations of Eden: “It appears as a soft Italian landscape dominated by an immense calm in which each element finds its space. The human couple is instead immersed in densely interweaving vegetation, where privilege cannot be distinguished from solitude.

Their eyes look towards us, their kin, brimming with an awareness that cannot be shared with the other living creatures. The gift of conscience ignites their gaze and changes reality.

* Giuliano Zanchi, “Walking with God”, in “Le immagini della Fantasia 38”, catalogue of the International Exhibition of Illustration for Children, Tapirulan Editions, 2020.


Illustration by Štěpán Zavřel, from the book In cammino con Dio, published by Arka Edizioni (detail).

Štěpán Zavřel was born in Prague in 1932 and arrived in Italy in 1959, fleeing his homeland.

Versatile and multifaceted artist, with international studies of painting, animation, scenography and theatrical costume, in 1968 he settled in Rugolo di Sarmede, attracting an international network of creatives. In 1983 he created the International Exhibition of Illustration for Children and in 1988 the International School of Illustration. He died in Sarmede in 1999.

The Štěpán Zavřel Foundation was created to continue the path undertaken by the Master in favor of illustration and illustrators.