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Matěj Kopecký (February 24, 1775, probably in Libčany - July 3, 1847 in Koloděje nad Lužnicí) was a Czech puppeteer. For six generations his descendants followed the art of puppeteering.

Kopecký's father was poor travelling puppeteer (histrio vagus). Matěj Kopecký married in 1795 and moved into town Mirotice. Since 1789 to almost 1809 was forced to serve in the army, within infantry regiment from Písek. Later, he worked as watchmaker, travelling salesman or road worker. In 1818 he obtained licence for a puppet theatre and reached certain success in this activity. The parish record about his death, though, labels him as "a histrion from Mirotice, widower and beggar". Kopecký had at least fifteen children of which six had survived into adulthood. Most of them worked as puppeteers and the tradition was kept for six generations.

At his time the puppet theatre was, for many in Czech lands, the only contact with theatrical culture, with ideas of enlightement and of Czech National Revival. While Kopecký was not the only Czech puppeteer, he became most known during second half of 19th century when his son Václav Kopecký published his plays in print and due to fictional painting of Kopecký by Mikoláš Aleš.

In 1905 small memorial to Kopecký was erected in Týn nad Vltavou and in 1947 another one in castle park in Koloděje nad Lužnicí. City museum in Týn nad Vltavou [1] hosts a permanent puppet exposition dedicated to Kopecký.


Kopecký had used marionettes, with height up to 60 cm.

In 1862 collection of 61 plays was published by Josef Richard Vilímek under title "Comedies and plays by Matěj Kopecký as collected by his son Václav Kopecký" (Komedie a hry Matěje Kopeckého dle sepsání syna Václava). Several people, among them Václav Thám, are listed as authors of the plays. Being intended for uneducated public, the plays had been full of emotions and naive humour. For most of the time Kopecký used Czech language, on occasions when had acted for high nobility German language.

External links

All texts are in Czech language.



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