japonisme: the galliano epic

17 May 2009

the galliano epic

while jean paul gaultier took inspiration from mucha in the past, it was the showy, the theatrical side of his work. in his fall, 2009, RTW collection, john galliano explores mucha's slavic roots.

mucha's slavic roots are being explored in a synchronistic manner around the world just now. there's galliano in paris, the first major mucha exhibition being held in vienna, and a fair amount of interest around the blogosphere.

the golden age of comic book stories blog presents mucha's slavic epic from the 1900 universal exhibition in paris. this is the same installation that is appearing in vienna. it fascinates me to watch poetry being translated into poetry.

olga's abc gallery offers a stunning selection of mucha's work, and susanna's sketchbook is filled with wonder upon wonder.

[Mucha} spent many years working on what he considered his fine art master- piece, The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of twenty huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic peoples in general, bestowed to the city of Prague in 1928.

He had dreamt of completing a series such as this, a cele- bration of Slavic history, since he was young. Since 1963 the series has been on display in the chateau at Moravský Krumlov. 1

though mucha died of a nazi interro- gation, john galliano keeps him flourishing, as does the mucha museum in prague, and its related foundation, and the comprehensive compendium on the slav epic which is here.

the press may have labeled galliano's collection 'slav chic,' and perhaps that's all it is. but culture moves in mysterious ways... someone goes to mucha, his stories... and the journey of truth marches on.

what do they say to you?

and how do you re- spond?

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Blogger belvedere beads said...

mucho mucha (sorry)
zeitgeist is so weird.

18 May, 2009 12:25  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

heh heh heh

and... indeed

18 May, 2009 12:33  
Blogger John Hopper said...

I thought it was interesting and a little sad when I first found out that Mucha thought that 'The Slav Epic' was his finest piece.

Interesting, because it implies that the rest of his work was commercial pap (as he would habe seen it), and sad because no one else has ever thought the epic that interesting. The Czech government were underwhelmed to say the least, when they were presented with the gargantuan Slavfest, I believe that at some point they tried to politely refuse it.

I think that by the time that they were presented with it, it seemed a little dated and largely irrelevant, as most European Slavs had already gained their independence and Mucha had started the Epic at a period when there was still a struggle to be won. I think they were a little embarrased by the sentiment in an era, the 1920s, when sentiment seemed misplaced and backward.

Mucha definitely had his heyday in a small period of time, and outside that era, life was particularly cruel to him.

19 May, 2009 06:09  
Blogger Yoli said...

Visually compelling, he will inspire for centuries new artists.

19 May, 2009 10:56  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

interesting, john-- thanks for that. i must admit--his paintings, but for a special few, are not my favorites of his work.

19 May, 2009 16:12  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, yoli. well said!

i'm planning a post for you coming up soon ;^)

19 May, 2009 16:14  
Blogger Thomas said...

The moving images of this show are incredible. It is amazing to see visual ideas decades old reinvigorated and brought into 3 dimensions with....lights and music. And fake snow!


19 May, 2009 18:14  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

how cool! thank you! i'll have to go check it out.

19 May, 2009 18:39  

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