Full Name:

Jiří Trnka

Occupation / Title:

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Date of birth:


Date of death:



Pilsen, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (Plzeň, Czech Republic)


Jiří Trnka was born in Pilsen (now Plzeň), Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on February 24, 1912. His artistic career began shortly after winning a design competition organized by Josef Skupa, who was a Czech puppeteer, in 1921. He worked with Skupa for 10 years.

From the mid-1930s to mid-1940s, Trnka was working in stage design for the National Theatre in Prague and illustration for children’s books.

In 1945, Trnka began working in animation, and produced Zasadil dĕdek repu (Grandpa Planted a Beet). His first film featuring puppets was the 1947 film Spalíček (The Czech Year). After Spalíček‘s release, his entire feature filmography used puppets as the main vehicles for stop-motion animation.

Trnka died in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1969.

Personal style

Trnka’s puppets had particular traits made more pronounced so that they were more suitable for the camera: the puppets tend to have large heads and eyes, and their movement was far more limited compared to traditional theatre puppets.

Honors and awards

  • Cannes Short Film of the Year – Zvířátka a Petrovští (Animals and Bandits) (1946)


“Jiří Trnka: Czech filmmaker.” Britannica, n.d.

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