Slovakian culture is influenced by its rich folk traditions and the border trends of European culture. Slovaks were subject to cultural repression by foreign governments, which is evident in much of the Slovakian literature, art and music. The emergence of a national culture and literature for Slovakia came late. Despite this, the country has a rich literary heritage and a diverse and original folklore, as well as a varied tradition in music. Slovak museums house rich displays of cultural artifacts dating from different historical periods in the development of the country.
Elements of the spoken Slovakian language appeared before the 18th Century. However, the first to create a literary language was Anton Bernolk in the 18th Century, used also by two Slovak writers Jozef Bajza, the author of the first Slovak novel, and the classical poet Jn Holl, who wrote epic poems in Alexandrine verse, proving that the Slovak language can be compared to the complex forms of ancient poetry. The main representatives of Slovakian Classicism in literature include the 18th-century poet Jn Kollr and historian Pavel Afrik, who continued to write in the Czech language but whose works belong to the Slovakian literary heritage. Both writers became the two most significant promoters of Pan-Slavism, from the philosophical concepts of Johann Gottfried Herder, who taught a glorious future for Slavs. Kollr, Holl and Afrik greatly assisted the formation and awakening of a national conscience, and demonstrated the ways to create a national literature.
The most recognised personality of the 19th Century was the nationalist Ludovt Star, who was a scholar, writer and deputy in the Hungarian Diet. Star was the leading figure of the creation of a modern Slovak literary language, based on a dialect from central Slovakia and later adopted by the whole nation. Star was inspired by Helegian philosophy and developed the concepts of Slovakian Romanticism, which was linked to popular traditions and the preeminence of patriotism. The Slovakian Modernists included a 20th-century literary group led by Ivan Krasko. The style of Krasko is similar to Western Symbolists, yet exemplified worries for the fate of his people.
Slovakia has a long and popular tradition in folk arts and crafts, which include wood carving, glass painting and fabric weaving. Folk architecture is seen throughout Slovakia, especially in the Ukrainian communities of Eastern Slovakia. The abundant archaeological excavations in Slovakia trace the development of folk arts and crafts, which include artifacts and tools that are a part of folk art today in the country. These traditions in Slovakia were handed down from generation to generation and later supported by ULUV, the Slovak Centre for Folk Art Production. Since 1954, the exhibitions of ULUV have been displayed in more than 28 countries.
Slovakia’s impressive folk music heritage began to develop in the 19th Century as well. Modern Slovak music are based on both Folk and Classical styles. Significant works of the 20th Century include the operas of Jan Cikker and compositions of Alexander Moyzes. The traditional music of Slovakia includes the most original European and Slavic folklore. The oldest forms of folk music in the country are liturgical compositions in Slavon, dating from the time of Great Moravia. The national music of Slovakia was greatly influenced by chamber and liturgical music. Today, some of the most recognised orchestras in Slovakia include the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bratislava and Kosice and the Symphonic Orchestra of Bratislava Broadcast.
Slovakia’s Modern Art is influenced both by European art and Slovakian folklore, and is today represented by a number of artistic associations. The contemporary trends in Slovakian sculpture are influenced by such older generation artists as Kompanok and Rudavskym, who are representatives of the Classical school and use traditional materials, and the younger generation sculptors, who utilise more original materials and are inspired by psychological approaches.
Architecture and sculpture saw significant development in the 19th and 20th Centuries, influenced by Western European styles. The most distinguished artists of the period included J.B. Klemens and Peter Michal Bohn. In the late 19th Century, the works of landscape and figure artists Dominik Skutek and Ladislav Medansk received nation-wide recognition. Influential artists of the early 20thCentury included the Surrealist artist Weiner-Krl and Cubist artist Ester Simerov-Martincekov. Other distinguished artists of the same era included Ludovt Fulla, Martin Benka, Mikulaj Galanda and Mikulaj Bazorsk, as well as the architect Duajan Jurkovic. Among the famous pieces of Slovakian art is the Venus of Monoravy, dating from the Paleolithic Age. Pieces from the Stone and Bronze Ages also make up Slovakia’s heritage, as well as religious architecture from the Great Moravian Empire.
Slovakia boasts more than 50 museums. The most famous Slovak National Museum, in Bratislava, was founded in 1893 and houses exhibits dedicated to the history, musicology and archaeology of the country. Other museums include the Slovak National Uprising Museum, the Slovak National Gallery and the Museum of Eastern Slovakia.