Ludek Pesek Biography
Born April 26, 1919 (Czech Republic)
Died December 4, 1999 (Switzerland)
After being exposed to the works of Lucien Rudaux in his book "Sur Les Autres Mondes" (On The Other Worlds) at an early age, Ludek Pesek developed a highly accurate classical style of painting which enabled him to confidently portray any idea or image that came to his mind. Pesek considered himself to be 50% artist and 50% illustrator and over the years his artworks his artworks fluctuated between technical renderings of cosmic and terrestrial subjects and visionary, poetic surrealistic works. In addition to painting, he also photographed and was the author of a number of science fiction books.
Fascinated by the exploration of space and aware of his contribution as an artist, his late works were full of images of "life" evolving from its home planet Earth to other places in the cosmos.
Ludek Pesek was born in 1919 at Kladno, Czechoslovakia, and grew up in the mining town of Ostrava close to the Beskidy Mountains. His boyhood was marked by the longing for mountains and distant lands, laying the ground for his later interest in geology and astronomy. His potential artistic and literary talents were recognized early and encouraged by his art teacher at grammar school. It was also on that occasion that he first had the opportunity to use an astronomical telescope. At the age of fifteen Ludek acquired a painter's easel and began to practice his hobby earnestly. Later, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
He produced his first art works around the age of 19. His first publications were The Moon and Planets (1963) and Our Planet Earth (1967). His work first reached US readers through the National Geographic Magazine which commissioned him to do a series of works about Mars. Previous to the Mars article he had painted 15 scenes for an article called 'Journey to the Planets' in August 1970. In 1967 Ludek wrote his first science-fiction novel, "Log of a Moon Expedition" which he illustrated in black and white. Another, "The Earth Is Near" won Prize of Honour in Germany in 1971. It was published in the UK and USA in 1974. He illustrated Space Shuttles in 1976. He worked with writer Peter Ryan on several slim books for children: Journey to the Planets (1972), Planet Earth (1972), The Ocean World (1973) and UFOs and Other Worlds, (1975); he later worked with the same author on the large-format Solar System (1978). He also illustrated the excellent "Bildatlas des Sonnensystems" (1974), with German text by Bruno Stanek.
His other publications include a photographic record of Lebanon's historical monuments and natural beauties, and several other novels; one, "Prey der Beute" (Price of a Prey), is about the lives of whalers from old times to the present.
From 1981 to 1985 he produced a series of 35 paintings on 'The Planet Mars' and a series of 50 paintings, 'Virgin Forests in the USA' one of which can be seen on the Earth page.
He has produced several 360-degree panoramas for projection in the domes of the planetariums at Stuttgart, Winnipeg and Lucerne, and has exhibited in Washington, DC, Boston, Nashville, Stuttgart, Berne, Lucerne, Zurich, and other venues. His work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
In 2000 he was awarded the Lucien Rudaux Memorial Award for Space Art from the International Association of Astronomical Artists, USA
Die Planeten des Sonnensystems
Unser Planet Erde
National Geographic Magazine
Bildatlas des Sonnensystems
UFOs and Other Worlds
Flug in die Welt von morgen
Messung des Unermesslichen
Our Universe (National Geographic Soc.)
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, NASA
Illustration in Magazines:
OMNI, STARLOG, ASTRONOMY, FUTURE LIFE,
SCIENCE, OWL-MAGAZINE, PM-MAGAZINE, QUICK,
GEO, SCHWEIZER ILLUSTRIERTE, ASTROLOGIE,
EUROPEO, LEONARDO, DU, KOSMOS,