The overall series captures the progression of the Slavic people over a period of many centuries, starting back in the 6th century with the first painting titled, Slavs in their Original Homeland and finishing with Apotheosis of the Slavs. These are all huge canvases, measuring many metres in height and width, allowing the artist free reign to incorporate just as much detail as he desires. We see that evidently within After the Battle of Grunwald as Mucha decorates the scene will all manner of differnt figures, in a variety of states. We see the clear contrast of victory and defeat in front of our eyes here, with the latter placed nearest us in order to bring their negative emotions directly to us. There is an overiding tone of purple which helps to provide perspective but also sets a mood of sadness and loss, without quite the feeling of delight in victory that other artists when working on these types of themes will incorporate.
Whilst the scene here is filled with death and destruction, the actual content represents an important moment of victory for the Slavic people. The early 1400s brought about the Battle of Grunwald in which several Eastern European regions were placed under attack by the rampaging German forces who desired to spread their Catholic ideals into neighbouring lands, just as the Slavs had been resisting for several centuries. Mucha's people would agree a pact of protection with other nations under threat, such as the Poles and the Lithuanians, and they would fight together to protect their collective interests. They did so successfully and the results are shown within this painting. The actual location of Grunewald is in Poland, underlining how these forces were shifting around in order to protect each other from German forces who became known as the Tuetonic Knights.
The aftermath of battle is often one of the true horrors of humanity, where the early morning brings light and allows us to truly understand the consequences of the previous day. The smells, sounds and sights become more real once the adrenalin and fervour have passed. Within this work we find Polish king Wladyslaw positioned centrally, perusing his own losses and experiencing the feeling of victory and pain in equal measure. It is rare for an artist to provide such a balancing delivery on the topic of war, with most having been employed to make their employers look as good as possible, regardless of how they wanted to depict these events themselves. This would become a form of propaganda, attempting to give one's own view of history through the use of the world's most talented artists but in this case Mucha takes a more balanced approach.