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.