Mucha Museum

Published Categorised as Czech Republic, Travel No Comments on Mucha Museum

This museum is devoted to the work of the eponym­ous Art Nouveau artist (pronounced Mukha not Mutcha, and mean­ing fly in Czech), and his famous fin-de-siècle advert­ising posters. The Mucha Museum is avail­able on a joint tick­et with the Kafka Museum.

I first encountered him in art class at school, where we were required to create a piece in his style. I hadn’t real­ised that as well as being a famous artist, he had been a lead­ing advoc­ate for Czech inde­pend­ence from the Habs­burg Empire, and that as an old man he was tortured by the Gestapo after the Nazi inva­sion of Czechoslov­akia (and died soon after) for both his polit­ic­al activ­ism and his long-running collab­or­a­tions with Jewish theatre star Sarah Bernhardt.

The posters are huge, and the origin­al pencil sketches are also huge, larger than life sized. I guess before the advent of digit­al imaging it was much much harder to change the size of images, so might as well do it the same size it was going to be.

Czech inde­pend­ence move­ment posters, using inspir­a­tion from folk-art styles.

Mucha produced a series of paint­ings show­ing the history of the Czech Lands, and got his friends to pose for a load of refer­ence photos in histor­ic­al costumes.

This was my favour­ite poster in the exhib­i­tion- part of a campaign to increase the number of Czech-language schools under the Habs­burgs. The pure rage of the little girl that she is denied a prop­er educa­tion.

This paint­ing from his histor­ic­al collec­tion was apt- called Winter Night, it shows a Ukrain­i­an peas­ant dying in a famine with wolves at the door. I was at the museum weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Mucha’s self-designed studio chair.

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