Jan Švankmajer (born 1934 in Prague) is famous for his film work, which brought his perception of the world to a very wide audience in the form of more than thirty films of various footage. He was born in Prague in 1934 into a family of shop windows decorater and the seamstresses. At the age of eight, he received a puppet theater from his parents, which helped to deepen and strengthen his relationship with the visual arts. He graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and continued his studies at the DAMU puppetry department in the field of direction and set design. He is one of the leading representatives of late Czech Surrealism. He entered the field of film in the 1960s, during the Czech New Wave, creating his first film The Last Trick of Mr. Schwarcewallde and Mr. Edgar in 1964. Then he focused on short films, combining elements of puppetry, animation and features of film (Rakvičkárna (1966), Historia naturae (1967), Leonard's Diary (1970), etc.) His art work follows some of the film's techniques (Historia naturae, 1967). These are cycles of prints, mystifying, pseudo-scientific illustrations of fantastic fauna and flora, associated under the name Švankmajersbilderlexikon. This phenomenon was best reflected in an exhibition in the Kampa Museum called Naturalia (2014/2015).
Švankamjer's artistic style is difficult to classify, and is mostly classified as surrealism, in which he was influenced in the 1960s by Wrocław Effenbergr. His work has influenced both domestic artists and several foreign artists, such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, the Quay brothers, or Shane Acker.