Here we find again the contrast of figures on the ground and also floating in mid-air as Alphonse Mucha delivers symbolism within his Slavic narrative. It took over a decade before his original idea for this series of paintings could commence, and this item comes from the year 1912, which is when he set off on this journey of artistic discovery. It would take him nearly two decades in total to complete the full array of paintings and today this overall body of work is considered not only a masterpiece, but also his own highlight from an illustrious and inspiring career. This set of artworks continue to hold great significance in the cultural history of the Slavic people and this has led to efforts to store these items within the city of Prague, in order to allow as many people as possible to see and understand them in person.
The initial series began in the 6th century and Introduction of the Slavonic Liturgy in Great Moravia discusses events from around the end of the 8th century. The topic here relates to the protection of the original language used by the Slavic people which was under threat from Germany, though the Bible was allowed to be published in the old language in order to help preserve a key part of the historical culture of these people. Those who played a major role in gaining approval for its publication would then be highly regarded in later centuries, with many becoming aware of the important role that they played in continuing a culture that was becoming under threat. Once these pressures were lifted, the language was able to flourish even further and take advantage of the protection afforded it by the actions of Methodius and Cyril who themselves had worked hard to achieve backing from Rome.
This piece follows on from Slavs in their Original Homeland as the third piece in the series, within The Bulgarian Tsar Simeon then appearing next within the cycle of 20 artworks in total, that together make up the iconic Slav Epic. There has been much discussion over where the series should now be displayed, with attempts afoot to move it all to a new venue somewhere within the city of Prague, which would enable many more people to enjoy this feat of artistic genius in person. It has been at Moravský Krumlov for around half a century, and as appropriate as this venue was, the location would not allow as many people to see these items as it would if within the supremely popular city of Prague, where millions of tourists flock each and every year.