100 Days of Art History Jinjins



I've been a big fan of Alphonse Mucha since I was a teenager, so I had to include one of his works for this project. I've always wanted to be as elegant and charming as one of his art nouveau figures, and this way I could be. Plus, a master copy is a chance to dissect and study the secrets of the greats, so I couldn't pass the chance up.

Mucha is super popular--his work is usually what we think of when we say "art nouveau" and "belle epoque Paris". He was killer at figure drawing. A lot of his best-known works are also actually advertisements. This particular piece is a decorative panel for his publishing house Champenois. When I think about how today the vast majority of images we see in daily life are also advertisements, his appeal to modern viewers ike us makes sense. His ads are almost exclusively pictures of beautiful women in fancy places...a familiar trope used to sell all kinds of things. In short, his work is like the pictures we're most used to seeing in daily life, but elevated.

Of course, the man could also draw the hell out of his subject matter. His use of line is gorgeous (especially how he varies thin and thick), and he designed really beautiful haloes and frames for his ladies to stand in. There's a simple sensory pleasure in looking at his work.

Ironically, he never thought much of his own art nouveau work. He always thought of himself as a history painter, and his last works were a painting cycle called the Slav epic. But it's all the advertisements that he's best known for today.

Reference image is from WikiArt.

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