Oops! Completely forgot to post this entry this morning, but luckily it's still Monday.
You know how Mondays are. I've created this section mostly to perk myself up for the start of the week and to keep you all from suffering from the "same old, same olds". For the first of this series, I'd like to introduce Alphonse Mucha, one of my heroes.
Alphonse Mucha, if you are not familiar with him, is the father of the Art Nouveau movement. He was born on July 24, 1860 in what is the Czech Republic today. He was talented in the arts since a young age--he sang as a boy, designed costumes, jewelry, stained glass and interiors, as well as painted and sculpted gorgeous pieces of art. However, he is most famous for his advertising posters.
Many of Mucha's works survive to today, and they are truly stunning, from his collaborations with Sarah Bernhardt, with whom he worked with for over a decade, to his fanciful nymphs framed with wisps of nature. However, even while his commercial artwork was a huge success, Mucha continuously pushed to improve himself and expand his artistic reach. "He insisted he followed his own sense of the important spiritual purposes of art, deriving his main inspiration from Czech traditions, rather than subscribing to the doctrines of any particular school". (source)
What really caused me to fall in love with Alphonse Mucha, aside from his gorgeous, delicate artwork, is a series of sketches and paintings he drew of his daughter, Jaroslava. You can really see a father's love conveyed with an artist's hand to paper and canvas.
In addition to being an awesome artist, Mucha was also a strong Slavic nationalist at a time when his homeland was under Austria-Hungarian rule, and a strong supporter of Czech culture and art at a time when his own countrymen denounced him as a "sell-out". His coup de grace, Slav Epic, which he created with no commission, is a beautiful reflection of his steadfast pride.
Sadly, it was his pride that brought Mucha to his death. When the Germans stormed Prague, Mucha was arrested as a reactionary. The aging artist contracted pneumonia from the incident, from which he never recovered. He was given a hero's funeral, finally acknowledged as a "great Czech" by his country.
Wikipedia, "Alfons Mucha"
An Introduction to the Work of Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau
To see more of Alphonse Mucha's works, you can find browse through galleries here and here.
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