The work and legacy of Alfons Mucha

The work of many painters only gets attention after their death. Alfons Mucha received recognition and fame in his lifetime. Even worldwide, and he was a true patriot. In Vienna, he was knighted for his work in the Order of Franz Joseph I, and in Paris he became a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

About his work

Mucha became a pioneer of Art Nouveau. It was not just about paintings. He designed unusual advertising posters. The sensation was triggered by the one for made the acting star Sarah Bernhardt in 1894. Mucha hit the ideal of beauty at the time and – most importantly – gave a new approach to advertising that is still used today: products are promoted by world's models!

He created an incredible number of design designs for interiors, utilitarian objects, furniture and jewellery. He has also set a high aesthetic standard for casual prints – why shouldn't a program that attracts the market be beautiful... He developed his own aesthetic ideals and original style, which we still call "Mucha style".

The Four Seasons

And because it was not a painting but a print, it allowed even people who had deep pockets to get a tasteful piece of design for their own interior. I'm sure you're familiar with his series of posters of the four seasons.

Only few people know that Alfons Mucha was also a life-long photography enthusiast. He can be considered the founder of the Czech school of classical photographic nudes. Nevertheless, his life's work remains the cycle of large-format canvases Slav Epic, on which he worked for 18 years. It is not only about the high artistic quality of the work. Mucha studied all the literature of the time and consulted the content of the paintings with historians and field studies.

"As early as in 1900 I decided to devote the second half of my life to work which would help to build up and strengthen the feeling of national consciousness among us."

In 1928 it was finished. And he presented 20 giant canvases to Prague on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the republic as a gift to the Czech nation. Come and see the Slav Epic not only here in our gallery – you can see the original at the Moravian Chateau in Moravský Krumlov.