A man of innovation, style, and creator of labyrinthine masterpieces in all media, Alphonse Mucha is often named the greatest and most influential Czech artists. As one of the fathers of Art Nouveau, Mucha developed a reputation with his posters, architecture, jewelry and sculpture that had never been seen before; a complex weaving of lines and pastel colors featuring voluptuous women and a harmony that can only be described as: Mucha style. His graphic designs and posters often hold the limelight of Mucha’s ability, but the complexity of his imagination and inspiration show another deep dimension behind the man, his visions, and his beliefs in art, as well as the world.
To begin to know the artist, one must start at the artist’s beginning. Mucha was born in 1860 and raised in a Moravian village in Ivančice (Chilvers, 390). His family was at the bottom of respectability due to his father’s position as a court usher. Mucha was familiar with poverty and suffering, and saw it at a daily basis because his family lived in the same building as the local jail. He also saw the loss of three of his siblings to tuberculosis. Mucha was raised in a highly religious household and often found solace in the church; spending hours knelt in front of a crucifixion to absorb the chanting and the atmosphere of the Catholic mass. (Mataev)
The town of Ivančice was strong in its Czech culture, pure patriotism tried to preserve it from the German oppression and authority that was rampant due to the Hapsburg rule. The town tried to keep the Czech language as the prominent dialect, preserve the enchanting folk tales, and the highly botanical adorned cottages from being erased and replaced by the German culture. This patriotism ran in Mucha’s blood, his dedication to his country and heritage is seen throughout his art and much of his later career.
Mucha was drawn to art and its romantic expression of religion and loyalist ideals at an early age. He set out to create his own destiny in Vienna building sets for the plays and remained with the theatre, despite the rollercoaster of hardships and opportunity that proceeded. In 1887, he moved to Paris from the generosity of Count KhuenBalasi, to study and begin his journey in true art. During this time Paris was at the beginning of its state of economic recovery from the Franco-Prussian war, so the nation was flourishing and rebuilding with a vibrant optimistic outlook (Mucha S, 11.) Paris, following the industrial revolution led by Britain, began constructing new inventions, vehicles, and processes. A prolific example is the monumental building of the Eiffel Tower for the World’s Fair.
The world of art was responding to this new boom of wrenches and gears with: Art Nouveau, a highly stylized and decorative art, framing the importance of organic, botanical, and true form of the objects. So while the world focused on exact and complicated features, the artists in Paris were simplifying, making decadence, and flow emerge...