Jan amos komensky — comenius

*1592 — †1670

Portrait of Jan Amos Comenius by Jurriaen Ovens, (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) Jan Amos Comenius credit: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

European scholar, cleric, philosopher, pioneer of modern education. Born in 1592 and forced to flee the Bohemian Kingdom in 1628. He was active in many different places of Europe tossed by the Thirty Years War, in Poland, England, Sweden, Hungary and Netherlands, where he died and found rest in the city of Naarden.

His extended work of literature is devoted to an idea of common understanding among individuals, groups and state organisms. He saw hope in young people, especially children, to whom he devoted extraordinary attention. His educational methods focused on object teaching, active interest and progress from simple to difficult were a breakthrough in the system of education.

Swedish government asked him to cooperate on an education reform in 1638. Similar invitation came from England in 1641, but the work could not been finished because of a civil war. He was active in Sweden till 1648 when the Thirty Year War came to its end.

His major work is considered to be Didactica Magna (The Great Didactic, 1638). He considered language education to be extremely important. Xylographs in this brochure are taken from his encyclopaedic work conceived as a language textbook, Orbis Pictus (The Visible World in Pictures, 1658). A multi-volume work Consultacio Catholica de Rerum Humanarum Emendatione (General Consultation on the Remedy of Things Human) was supposed to be a completion of his life work, however, its manuscript was found an published for the first time only in this century.

Komensky was led by an effort for understanding also in diplomatic negotiations that he attended as a reformation cleric in a difficult period tossed by hatred resulting in bloody extremes.