"... brother not only of man, but also of the Sun, Earth and water, brother of plants, birds and quadrupeds, a painter listening to the winds blowing from space..." Josefa Sedláčková at the opening of an exhibition of his work in 1972.
Matěj Trojan was born on February 18, 1914 in Žabčice, died on January 26, 1973 in Přísnotice. His father Karel Trojan lived in Žabčice from 1880 to 1915, he died in the First World War. Matěj's mother's name was Marie, her maiden name was Hlavoňová, and she came from Přibice. After the war, Marie remarried, but the economy was not profitable and the family got into debt. The family sold the homestead and moved to Přísnotice to house No. 106, where Matěj Trojan attended elementary school. In the years 1936–1940 he studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Brno. In 1940, he participated in the Biennale of Art in Milan with a tapestry design, for which he won a gold medal. After school, he tried to make a living as a freelance artist, working for example on conservation work during the restoration of frescoes in the church in Jičín. In the years 1945–1948 he lived in Prague with the national artist Jan Zrzavý, who, as Ctimír Linhart writes in the catalog for the exhibition held in 1972 at the Jihlava gallery, chose him as his assistant and even later remembered him as his pupil. Zrzavého's work served as an "unrelenting spiritual stimulus" for Trojan, which gradually loosened his dispositions. In the years 1948–1956, Matěj Trojan was active in public services, says the text on the website of his hometown, although we can imagine anything under the phrase. Only after he settled permanently in Přísnotice (1956), from where he commuted to Brno for work, where he worked in the promotional department of a large company, did the situation stabilize and Trojan could concentrate more on his artistic work. However, he was able to devote himself fully to creation only after 1964, i.e. after his fifties, when he stopped working at the factory due to his health condition.
Matěj Trojan stood somewhat outside the art world, perhaps because of his supposed incommensurability, introversion and originality of inspiration. He participated in only a few of the group exhibitions (Member exhibition of the Umělecká beseda in 1947 in Prague in Slovanský Ostrov, Brno Salon in 1968, in 1970 Member exhibitions of the SČVU and exhibitions dedicated to the disappearing landscape in the Gallery under the Crocodile in Brno). From solo exhibitions, two undated exhibitions can be found (in the Cabinet of Arts in Brno and in the Gallery of the Čapek brothers in Prague), an exhibition from 1972 in the Jihlava gallery and two years later in the Jaroslav Král Gallery in Brno, then in Malina House in Havlíčkův Brod. He is represented in the collections of the OGV in Jihlava and the Moravian Gallery in Brno.
For his artistic direction, the time spent in the studio of Jan Zrzavý was pivotal, who allegedly commented on their mental connection as follows: "You know, many people say that they studied painting with me, that I taught them. But that's not the case. I never had any students except for Matěj Trojan, who was also close to me in his mentality. Too bad he died early, he would have accomplished much more. His strength was not only talent, but also perseverance and diligence. He always went to the root of the matter." The specific lyricism of Zrzavý work became a springboard for Trojan, or "an irresistible spiritual stimulus", as Ctimír Linhart writes. Matěj Trojan began to be fascinated by the world of untouched nature, floodplain forests, moonlight, to which he lends the poetic magic of storytelling. He complements real sections of the landscape with hidden meanings or hints of fantastic forms. Half-dreamy, half-realistic views of villages, records of floodplain forests and water levels present us with Trojan's own imagery. In the drawing, Trojan allows himself significantly more epic and symbolic positions. The Jihlava gallery owns 17 of his works, the vast majority of which are charcoal and pastel drawings, as well as several egg tempera. Most of them have their own fragility of presentation together with the mentioned specific poetics.
December's work of the month, The Lightbearer, is the only figurative work by Trojan in our collections. The figuration lends the work perhaps the most mystical character among Trojan's works: The figure or apparition of the lightbearer takes on a magical form, perhaps inspired by ancient sculptures, perhaps stemming from pure imagination, but certainly clearly archetypal. The outlines of trees, perhaps mountains, reflected in the water surface stand out against the dark background. The light that rests in the Lightbearer's palm refers in its shape to the bouquet placed in the foreground. Let us wish that the Christmas season will be illuminated by the same spiritual light.