A unique book with unpublished illustrations by Jiří Trnka created in Pilsen

Cooperation Students University

A unique book containing so far unpublished illustrations by visual artist, illustrator and puppet animator Jiří Trnka has been created at the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen.

Two Legends of the Grail consists of two ancient mythical texts retold by renowned poet Radek Malý, multiple laureate of the Magnesia Litera award. Two Legends of the Grail (or Dvě legendy o grálu as it is actually called in Czech) was presented on the occasion of the second International Illustration and Animation Symposium, which took place at the end of October. Representatives of the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty prepared the book in cooperation with Jiří Trnka’s family, the sensitive and compelling design of the cover was created by Vojtěch Liebl, a student of the Faculty. A total of 100 numbered copies were printed. 

“Leaving aside the fine visual style of my father’s illustrations and the impressive simplicity of the book’s graphic design, I would like to pay a compliment to the author of the text and emphasise that it is not a translation, but a very good rendering of ancient legends in a highly readable and lively contemporary language. I am convinced that the lucky readers who will get a hold of this book will enjoy it both in terms of aesthetics and literature,” says Jiří Trnka’s son Jan.

The two ancient stories, originally rendered by the existential author Gerhard Hauptmann, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, are retold by Radek Malý, Czech poet, translator and university teacher. The modern bibliophilic design of the book was created by the Prague-based studio Indigoprint. 

“Working on the book was a pleasure and a great honour at the same time – it doesn’t happen so often in the Czech Republic that unknown illustrations by Jiří Trnka appear just like that. The book design really touched my heart and convinced me that Two Legends of the Grail couldn’t have wished for a better presentation,” adds Radek Malý.

This year’s edition of the Jiří Trnka International Symposium was historically the first one at which the Jiří Trnka Awards were presented. The awards – in the form of a silver winged horse created by jewellery designer Petr Vogel and placed in a case by Petra Soukupová – were handed out to Japanese visual artist Iku Dekune for her contribution to the field of illustration, to the Portuguese illustrator and publisher André Letrio and to the organisers of the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

“The Symposium that bears, with the permission of the artist’s family, the name of Jiří Trnka commemorates the legacy of this significant Pilsen native who left an indelible mark on the field of illustration and animation and whose innovative approach keeps inspiring new followers until today. This year Jiří Trnka would have celebrated his 110th birthday,” explains illustrator and author Renáta Fučíková, artistic director of the Jiří Trnka International Symposium and teacher at the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art.

Two Legends of the Grail is currently not available for purchase as only a limited number of copies of this unique bibliophilic edition have been printed. Representatives of the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art are working on a possibility to print the book for the public.


Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art


19. 12. 2022