Discover Alfons Mucha, the Art Nouveau Artist

Discover Alfons Mucha, the Art Nouveau Artist

Visit places where the beauties from Mucha’s posters come alive. An embodiment of Art Nouveau first-hand!

Discover Alfons Mucha, the Art Nouveau Artist
Huge canvases with oil paintings, advertising posters, furniture, jewellery, building decorations and stained glass in a cathedral – all of which represent the artwork by Alfons Mucha. Who was he and where can you see his work?

Who is Alfons Mucha

Alfons Mucha, an artist, graphic designer and illustrator was born in Moravian Ivančice in 1860 and died in Prague in 1939. He allegedly longed to live in the world of art since his early childhood. He left for Vienna in 1879, and later to Paris, the centre of the world for artists. His life and work belong to the era of art nouveau, or belle époque, an era which today can hardly be imagined without his characteristic work… Without beautiful ladies, without floral ornaments and without defined lines. In short, belle époque would never have been so beautiful without him.

Young Alfons in Paris

He scraped by in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, illustrating books and magazines, among the hundreds of artists living and working in the city that breathed art. However, almost overnight he then became a star thanks to his unusual and, at that time, bold advertising posters, particularly the one featuring the famous actress Sarah Bernhard, star of the Gismonda melodrama, at its centre. Mucha determined the belle époque fashion in Paris at the turn of the 20th century and experienced his greatest years of fame – his workshop produced posters, calendars and menus, advertisements and stage designs, furniture and jewellery. When Paris became too small for him, he took off to the USA.

The Slav Epic

The idea of the Slav Epic was born during Mucha’s stay in the USA, where he worked at art schools in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. He brought it to life after he returned to Bohemia in 1910. Between 1912 and 1928 the artist lived in the east wing of Zbiroh Château near Plzeň, where he used the large château hall as a studio for the huge canvases. The artist first introduced the Slav Epic, a series of 20 monumental paintings inspired by Slavic mythology and history to Prague citizens in the Trade Fair Palace in Prague, in the autumn of 1928 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia. Today, you can see the canvases at the château in Moravský Krumlov (until 2021).

Every inch an artist

Alfons Mucha never wasted time. He was active in other areas while he was working on the Slav Epic. In the 1920s he designed stamps and banknotes for the young country – the banknotes were considered to be the most beautiful in the world at that time. He also decorated the Municipal House, an Art Nouveau jewel in Prague, without any royalty, and further worked on the reconstruction and completion of St. Vitus Cathedral. Some of the stained glass in the front part of the cathedral is his work.

Mucha with a modern twist

iMucha is the title of an exhibition you can visit at the Prague Municipal House until February 2023. The exhibition provides a brand new view of the collection of the Czech Art Nouveau artist. Thanks to the professionally prepared digital movement of Mucha’s posters you will come face-to-face with animated models, you will be drawn into the events of the Slav Epic, and Alfons Mucha himself, or at least his digital self, will talk to you. The unique exhibition concept moves Art Nouveau more than a century forward and you, the visitor, more than a century backward. The masterful architectural design will take you through the most important milestones in Mucha’s life and work, completed by the most important information from leading Mucha experts. The exhibition contains almost 240 artefacts beautifully combined with modern technologies to present the best of Alfons Mucha’s artwork.