SOKOL MOVEMENT. XI Slet Vsesokolsky v Praze 1948. Design by Vilém Ambrosi. Various photographers. Vydavatel. Ministerstva informací "Svet v obrazech" , Praha, 1948. 32 pp. Thin quarto (20 1/2 x 29 1/2 cm). No. 4 in the series Aktuality v obrazech (News in Pictures). Photo-illustrated wrappers. Saddle-stitched. Gravure reproductions by Printed by V. Neubert & Sons.
A photo souvenir of the Sokol festivities of 1948, with gymnasts performing in groups numbering over 10,000. The Sokol movement began as a universal fitness movement with distinct moral overtones in the nineteenth century. It was aimed at all classes and, notably for the time, included women and came to play a central role in Czech nationalism. From 1882, the Sokols periodically held mass festivals called Slets, or huge group gymnastic displays. These were a shifting blend of Olympic style pageant, feel-good nationalist cheer leading, and scary group-think. Their conflation of bodily discipline and mass spectacle--up to 250,000 participants in the 1938 event--over time came to take on unmistakable authoritarian overtones. In this small 1948 document, the visual language looks backward to we Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" and Forward to Kim Il-sung's North Korea.
Printed by V. Neubert & Sons--without question one of the most eminent gravure printers of the period--in art as well as advertising. Very rare, OCLC locates two copies only, one at the National Library of the Czech Republic.
Fine-; light edge wear; very crisp.