Even though he worked abroad on many occasions, Mucha was immensely proud of his slavic heritage and would feature elements of its culture within many different paintings across his career. In the example of this piece we find a flurry of figures with an elaborate background which includes in the bottom half a large building which presumably would have been where some of the gymnasts were taught. Central and Eastern Europe has an impressive record within this art form and would count on it for success within the modern Olympics more so than any other sport. The techniques of it would also be ideally suited to Mucha's use of portraiture, with slim figures stretching and rotating in all manner of inventive positions, sometimes in conjunction with other people. The colours used in this piece are typical of his Art Nouveau approach with flowers also being a popular choice for adding interest across the background.
Alphonse Mucha would go on to produce his Slav Epic series which helped us all to learn more about the history of his people, featuring a selection of scenes from historic events dating back many centuries. He would work on that project for a long period and it is now considered his single most important contribution to the art world, though there is also plenty more to enjoy from a whole plethora of different mediums and disciplines, including oil painting, watercolours, designs for menus and postcards as well as even stained glass windows. His impressive talents as a draughtsman lay behind most of these creations and he would sometimes require the aid of specialists in order to complete some of these different projects. In all in, his oeuvre was considerable in size, quality and also variety and many continue to find new items within it, even having studied his career before.
Illustration was the foundation to this artist's success and it was his poster designs which became perhaps the most popular and well known, becoming closely tied to the overall Art Nouveau ideal. These feminine styles prove popular today, perhaps even more so than when the artist was releasing these items a good century ago and this has helped his reputation to remain strong ever since. We have added an article about famous Czech artists, but in truth there is no-one else from this region who can really come close to the impact that was made by Alphonse Mucha, and perhaps there never will be. As illustrated by this piece which celebrates the 8th Sokol Festival, he would never lose touch with his roots.