A book with beautifully designed text and illustrations in Expressionistic lines was designed in 1921 by a Slovenian academic artist France Kralj. The text in verses, wrapper around twisting lines, tells a love story of a King Matjaž (Mathias) and his wife Alenčica.
Slovenian artist France Kralj (1895-1960) was studying art in Klagenfurt, Vienna and Prague, after which he settled in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
In the 1920s he was active in modern art and political movements, where he was creating drawing, prints, sculptures and ceramics. Kralj was also known for his quality book illustrations before and after WWII.
King Matjaž was a fearless popular Carinthian king of Slavic origins. After the wedding night with his beautiful wife Alenčicahe was called to fight the Turks. During the battles Alenčica is abducted by the Turkish Sultan. King Matjaž disguises himself in Ottoman costume, drinks with the Turks and eventually dances with his wife who recognises him by his ring. They escape on his faithful horse with human mind over a river, who recognises their love and splits to make way for their escape and closes again to stop the Turks chasing them.
Different legends of a good King Matjaž, were based on the persona of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490), and were spread in most of the East European countries.
The rotating lines of the verses correspond the juxtaposed expressionistic illustrations, creating a active tensed atmosphere of the story.
References: Kralj, France (1895–1960), Slovenska biografija. Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU, 2013. http://www.slovenska-biografija.si/oseba/sbi300245/#slovenski-biografski-leksikon, Slovenski biografski leksikon: 4. zv. Kocen – Lužar. Franc Ksaver Lukman et al. Ljubljana, Zadružna gospodarska banka, 1932.