Let yourself be taken away into periods which entered into the cultural knowledge of the Czech Republic in a way like no other.
Take a peek under the mask of mystery, which beholds the waving art nouveau! A ground-breaking period of discoveries, amazing technological progress and a newly existing society opens before you. An interesting phenomenon awaits the Czech Republic this year. Some galleries and museums will actually offer top-class exhibitions, which have one theme in common – art nouveau. As an overstatement, 2013 should be labelled as the year of art nouveau for art lovers.
Alfons Mucha (1860 – 1939) is undoubtedly the most famous Czech art nouveau artist. He not only worked on the grounds of present day Czech Republic, but also in Vienna, Paris and the USA. Famous posters, portraying Sarah Bernhardt, an unearthly beautiful French actress, got him world-wide recognition. Copies of his drawings, pictures and decorations are an inseparable part of Czech households still today. Following the end of his professional carrier, Ivan Lendl, a famous Czech tennis player and admirer of Alfons Mucha, decided that with the help of Mucha’s son, George, he would create a complete collection of the most famous posters. For the first time in history, this collection can be seen at the Prague Municipal House from now until the end of July. It is said that during his lifetime, Mucha created a total of 154 posters. At the exhibition, you will be able to see 151 originals. Therefore, if you want to see the geniality of Mucha’s creations with your own eyes, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity.
European and Czech Art Nouveau
If you do not have a chance to visit Prague by the end of July, don’t despair. The Prague Municipal House – a jewel in the late art nouveau architecture – will open its exhibition area once more on November 1st. A long-time exhibition of European and Czech art nouveau, which is organised by the Art Industrial Museum, is a part of the cycle of the summary of exhibitions collected over time. The theme will be the creation of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily its useful art. The entire exhibition is defined by the years from 1890 up to 1914, into which the construction of the Prague Municipal House alone also falls into. You will therefore not only be able to admire the beauty of the exhibited items, but also the perfectly preserved interior of the period. The axis of the exposition is the development of society and lifestyle with an overlap into the field of philosophy, sociology and natural science. During the three years the exhibition will be open, the exhibit will be renewed. Therefore, do not hesitate to visit the exhibition more than once.
For nearly 15 years of his life, Alfons Mucha devoted his time to the painting of twenty large format canvasses, with the title Slav Epic, into which he summarised the history of the Czechs and other Slavic nations. The entire masterpiece is simply monumental. The majority of the paintings are 6x4 metres, and therefore, it was very difficult to find a place in Prague where all the paintings could be exhibited at once. As of 2012, these paintings can finally be seen in the hall of the Prague Veletrzni Palace, which belongs to the Prague National Gallery.
Art Nouveau in Plain Air
Even Prague alone is full of constructions, which are classified among top-class art nouveau architecture. Therefore, if you prefer fresh air, certainly do not miss the Prague Municipal House, houses in Pařížská Street, Bílkova Villa or the Grand Hotel Evropa on Wenceslas Square. Would you like to take a little bit of art nouveau home with you? No problem! The Carlsbad Moser Glass Factory, with more than a 150-year tradition, still manufactures some products today, which have not changed in their art nouveau design since the time when Mucha produced his paintings.