From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- See also List of Slovaks
The art of Slovakia can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when some of the greatest masterpieces of the country's history were created. Significant figures from this period included the many Masters, among them the Master Paul of Levoča and Master MS. More contemporary art can be seen in the shadows of Koloman Sokol, Albín Brunovský, Martin Benka, Mikuláš Galanda, and Ľudovít Fulla. The most important Slovak composers have been Eugen Suchoň, Ján Cikker, and Alexander Moyzes, in the 21st century Vladimir Godar and Peter Machajdik.
Slovakia is also known for its polyhistors, of whom include Pavol Jozef Šafárik, Matej Bel, Ján Kollár, and its political revolutionaries and reformists, such Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Alexander Dubček.
There were two leading persons who codified the Slovak language. The first was Anton Bernolák whose concept was based on the western Slovak dialect in 1787. It was the codification of the first ever literary language of Slovaks. The second was Ľudovít Štúr, whose formation of the Slovak language took principles from the central Slovak dialect in 1843.
In terms of sport, the Slovaks are probably best known (in North America) for their hockey stars, especially Stan Mikita, Peter Šťastný, Peter Bondra, Žigmund Pálffy and Marián Hossa. For a list see List of Slovaks. [[File:Hurban cropped.jpg|thumb|left|Jozef Miloslav Hurban]]
For a list of notable Slovak writers and poets, see List of Slovak authors.
Medieval literature, in the period from the 11th to the 15th centuries, was written in Latin, Czech and Slovakized Czech. Lyric (prayers, songs and formulas) was still controlled by the Church, while epic was concentrated on legends. Authors from this period include Johannes de Thurocz, author of the Chronica Hungarorum and Maurus, both of them Hungarians. The worldly literature also emerged and chronicles were written in this period.
Pork, beef and poultry are the main meats consumed in Slovakia, with pork being substantially the most popular. Chicken is the most widely eaten poultry, followed by duck, goose, and turkey. A blood sausage called jaternice, made from any and all parts of a butchered pig, also has a following. Game, especially boar, rabbit, and venison, are generally available throughout the year. Lamb and goat is eaten, but is not widely popular.
Wine is enjoyed throughout Slovakia. Slovak wine comes predominantly from the southern areas along the Danube and its tributaries; the northern half of the country is too cold and mountainous to grow grapevines. Traditionally, white wine was more popular than red or rosé (except in some regions), and sweet wine more popular than dry, but in recent years tastes seem to be changing. Beer (mainly of the pilsener style, though dark lagers are also consumed) is also popular throughout the country.
Popular music began to replace folk music beginning in the 1950s, when Slovakia was still part of Czechoslovakia; American jazz, R&B, and rock and roll were popular, alongside waltzes, polkas, and czardas, among other folk forms. By the end of the '50s, radios were common household items, though only state stations were legal. Slovak popular music began as a mix of bossa nova, cool jazz, and rock, with propagandistic lyrics. Dissenters listened to ORF (Austrian Radio), Radio Luxembourg, or Slobodna Europa (Radio Free Europe), which played more rock. Due to Czechoslovak isolation, the domestic market was active and many original bands evolved. Slovakia had a very strong pop culture during 70's and 80's. This movement brought many original bands with their own unique interpretations of modern music. The quality of socialist music was very high. Stars such as Karel Gott, Olympic, Pražský výběr (from Czechia) or Elán, Modus, Tublatanka, Team (from Slovakia) and many others were highly acclaimed and many recorded their LP's in foreign languages.
After the Velvet Revolution and the declaration of the Slovak state, domestic music dramatically diversified as free enterprise encouraged the formation of new bands and the development of new genres of music. Soon, however, major labels brought pop music to Slovakia and drove many of the small companies out of business. The 1990s, American grunge and alternative rock, and Britpop have a wide following, as well as a new found enthusiasm for musicals.