Monday, December 7, 2009

Mucha's Epic Vision

I just love this photograph of Alphonse Mucha dwarfed by his gigantic canvases from the Slav Epics.

A link-rich post on Mucha on Lines and Colors

18 comments:

Charley Parker said...

Wow. Great photo! I knew they were huge, but this really gives a sense of scale.

Michael Dooney said...

Mucha doesn't get the credit he deserves for being such a good painter in my book.
Following up on your Rockwell photo topic. Mucha used photography extensively and that was the early 1900's or before. There are couple of books of his photos out there that are really eye opening. It would be easy to think that he just made up those beautiful art nouveau women, but to me at least it is even more impressive to see what he did with pretty mundane looking photo reference.

Steve said...

Quite the building to house the paintings, too. Do you know what building it is?

Mary Bullock said...

I believe they are housed in a castle - Mucha lived and painted in a castle just before the second World War broke out.
I had the opportunity to see an exhibit of his work in Memphis several years ago. It literally took your breath away - I went back as often as I could and did sketches.

Alfred Walter said...

Extraordinary photograph.

Andrew Wales said...

I wonder if he ever felt that it was just too much Mucha?

=shane white= said...

I think he was in his 70s when he finished the Slav epic if I'm not mistaken.

Some of the coolest paintings I've never seen in person.

The Frye Museum here in Seattle had a Mucha show a few years back. It was really grand. His sketchbooks were stunning but really...it was all Tex Avery eyeball-popping art.

=s=

Stari said...

that is awesome! i love the ceiling.
i started somethin' new today if you could check it that would be great
http://mineyourseverbodygoalsof2010.blogspot.com

Ashleigh Mayes said...

Oh wow! I need to look into this artist. My teachers say I need to look at more different artists....what is a good site to see his stuff?

dfrost said...

Silence .... for about ten more minutes ....

I've only seen him in the books I own. I was moderately at peace a few years later. Just trying to absorb his draughtsmanship, his product designs, his paintings,sculpture and graphics! Now, I see the work at the actual scale (knees weak) (slight nausea). What it must have been like in that gallery with so many ... Thank you for posting this!

jeff f said...

Mucha's last years were not very good.
He was pretty much forgotten as a painter and went on painting classical work which by the way he thought was the only pure art.

He spent his last years painting and being involved with politics. He designed currency and other official documents for the new Czec government. When the nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, (he was a Slav and was very nationalistic) they arrested him and he died in prison from pneumonia.

jeff f said...

The rising tide of fascism in the late 1930s led to Mucha's works, as well as his Slavic nationalism, being denounced in the press as 'reactionary'. When German troops marched into Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939, Mucha was among the first people to be arrested by the Gestapo. During the course of the interrogation the aging artist fell ill with pneumonia. Though eventually released, he never recovered from the strain of this event, or seeing his home invaded and overcome. He died in Prague on July 14, 1939 of a lung infection, and was interred there in the VyŇ°ehrad cemetery. [3]

From wikipedia.

Sarah said...

I managed to see these paintings while I was in Moravsky Krumlov. If you'd like, I could send you some detail photos of these paintings. Some of the paintings he left unfinished, but the drawing and color on these are an excellent representation of his skill.

James Gurney said...

Sarah, yes, please, I'd love to see some detail shots. Glad you made the long trip and brought a camera!

Sarah said...

I'll probably be able to get them on my website this weekend. I'll send you a link to download them.

Sarah said...

There's a link that you can click if you go here:

http://webspace.ringling.edu/~sdenis/About.html

I have to apologize though, its a huge file with a ton of images. I tried to scale down the volume, but with the 18 paintings there, its still so many detail images.

James Gurney said...

Thank you, Sarah, it's really nice of you to share those files. They did take a while to download, but they're well worth it.

yaamas said...

The Slav Epic was absolutey the most amazing group of paintings that I have ever seen in person. My wife and I traveled to the small museum in Moravsky Krumlov to see them and it blew my mind. He is one of the great painters of all time (yes, illustrators are painters, too). It was amazing, we were able to view these paintings so closely....we just had to wear big slippers over our shoes to keep the dust down. Also, he used canvases from sails to paint on because they were so big.

Thank you for posting this, James. I love your blog and I love your work. You are truly an inspiration to me.