Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mucha at the Vittoriano

Are the 60's coming back? Fascinating to see new interest in Toulouse-Lautrec and Mucha.
Yesterday, John and I visited a retrospective of the career of Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) at the Complesso del Vittoriano gallery in the Piazza Venezia near the Forum.
Here I am entering the building.Turn left for Barbie, turn right for Mucha. Sorry Barbie fans -- I turned right.
The exhibition started with a romantic photograph of Alphonse in his youth
but the short introductory film nearby featured Mucha working diligently throughout his maturity. His style seemed to catch the imagination of the turn-of-the-century and he was kept busy throughout his career.
Certainly his draughtmanship was impeccable.
The show of over 200 works includes this preparatory drawing and final poster for Sarah Bernhardt's production of Hamlet
and posters advertising various commercial products.
As always with shows at the Complesso, the works are artfully presented.
Here's John recording some wonderful examples of Mucha's commercial packaging-
A tin box for champagne biscuits (c. 1901)
and a  box for vanilla gaufrettes (c. 1900).
A textile design for upholstery.
One of a series of decorative lithographs - TĂȘte Byzantine: Blonde, 1897.
The Seasons, 1896 - another set of colour lithographs. Interestingly, the artist was such a forerunner in this look that apparently it was called The Mucha Style before it became known as Art Nouveau.
During his sojourn in New York City Mr Mucha did lovely drawings of American actresses like this one of Ethel Barrymore, 1909.
When Czechoslovakia won its independence in 1918 Mucha became the designer for medals, stamps and posters celebrating his homeland and the Slavic Heritage.
The retrospective demonstrated his use of staged photographs as preporatory material for his patriotic artwork.
The show ends with some of the final colour designs for his stained glass windows for St Vitus Cathedral in Prague (1931)
The over 200 works on display certainly reminded us of the energy, versatility and seemingly endless creativity of one of the early 20th century's most influential artists
We left the show stepping back into the drab streets of Rome.

3 comments:

  1. You mean the sixties are over?

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  2. That city scape photograph has the look (and light) of a Canaletto painting!

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  3. The 1960's are still very much part of my mind, Potch -- but then I'm just entering my 70s age-wise. How nice that you liken my cityscape to Canaletto; it must be this fab Italian light.
    Bill

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