The three black-and-white pictures of the ruins of ancient Olympia were taken by the Czech artist Stanislav Kolíbal in October 1957, when he took part in a trip to Greece organized by the Čedok travel agency for the Czechoslovak Union of Fine Artists.
At that time, his own work still fully concentrated on extending figural motifs to their very limit. However, from the start of the following decade, the artist’s interest turned to geometry and spatial relationships as metaphors for the value dimensions of human life. The first echo of the Greek experience, captured in the published photographs, can be noticed in Kolíbal’s Paper Relief from 1963, where sectors of a circle are layered one over another and our attention is drawn to the breaking outlines and the play of shadows. This work is at the beginning of a long series of later reliefs and drawings. The artist returned fully consciously to his obvious formative experience from the Greek journey in his two large objects from 1999, unequivocally called Olympia I and Olympia II. “This is a picture of the end. I am convinced that a different era is coming, or has already come.” This is how Kolíbal commented on his objects in 2003 on the occasion of a large monographic exhibition at the Egon Schiele Art Centre in Český Krumlov.