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Jiří Dostál

Jiří Dostál

(1. 10. 1945)

The academic sculptor Jiří Dostál is an author of a whole range of Czech commemorative coins and medals. Being a versatile artist famous for his technical precision, he is also active in graphic art, painting and industrial design. He has had dozens of exhibitions both in the Czech Republic and abroad. He worked as the headmaster of the Secondary School of Applied Arts and the Higher Technical School in Jablonec nad Nisou for many years. Being a native of Nová Paka, a place dedicated to the motorcycle sport, he is a passionate “biker” even today. He bought his first motorcycle for money which he earned by winning in a competition for a commemorative coin featuring Jan Evangelista Purkyně already in 1967. Maybe it is because of his relationship to motors that he particularly values a medal on which he depicted the World Champion in Formula 1 Mika Häkkinen, who he also met in person. The artist also the author of a gold commemorative medal dedicated to the visit of the president of the USA Barack Obama in Prague. His last works include a medal on the centenary of the birth of Jiří Trnka, a director of animated films (2012, Prague Mint).

Jiří Dostál studied at the Secondary Glass School of Applied Arts in Železný Brod, and then applied to the College of Applied Arts in Prague where he studied in the studio of professor Stanislav Libenský. At present he lives and works in Jablonec nad Nisou.


Could you describe the circumstances surrounding the making of the medal featuring Barack Obama?
It was very fast. I had only several days, maybe not even a week, to prepare the designs. I had about fifteen Obama portraits at my disposal and on their basis I learnt to paint him by heart and achieved a certain synthesis.

How many designs did you make?
I submitted six designs within the given deadline, but for myself I made about forty of them. I did not want to show Obama completely from the profile, but to have him half-turned forward as if he were speaking to the people. In brief, I wanted to have the visionary speaker Obama.

Who influenced you in your youth in the choice of your profession? Do you come from an artistic family?
If we went back in history, we could find a certain connection and inspiration. I come from Nová Paka as well as my great-uncle Josef Tulka who painted those beautiful lunettes in the National Theatre.

Which of your coins or medals do you value most?
For example, the medal featuring the World Champion in Formula 1 Mika Häkkinen is impressed in my memory. It was extremely hard work because people from the McLaren – Mercedes team had their say in the medal. The whole work culminated with an official hand-over of the medal to Häkkinen. We met him in the Barrandov Villa in Prague. In addition, we also gave his wife Erja, by the way a very beautiful woman, a fantastic jewel with a diamond inspired by the McLaren-Mercedes design. This gift from our school was made of white gold and titanium. Work on medals sometimes offers great moments and meetings with interesting people.

Could you mention some of them?
I personally met, for example, Olympic winners and World Champions Jan Železný and Martin Doktor. My visit at president Václav Klaus, with whom I talked for a long time in his study over a cup of coffee, was also interesting.

Another artworks prepared by Jiří Dostál

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