Having initially started way back in the 6th to 8th century with the first installment, Slavs in their Original Homeland, Mucha would work his way through a collection of significant battles and cultural events in order to explain the key moments in the lives of the Slavic population. He would now discuss a youth organisation known as Omladina who appeared in the 1890s, which was actually about when Mucha first came up with the idea of the Slav Epic project. This organisation would promote nationalist ideas and urged a revival of Czech values but they were later arrested and imprisoned after a short trial. The members of this group are captured within this painting, swearing allegiance to goddess Slavia in a patriotic gesture which allows them to join the group officially.
Slavia herself sits in the top of the composition within a tree which symbolises health and strength. The prospective members of the group carry out their tasks in order to become accepted into the group. The overall atmosphere is one of happiness and celebration, a far cry from the realities of being imprisoned in the years that followed. The strong tree which reaches out across the full width of the artwork will remind many of the symbolic value of the Tree of Life which appears in many different religious scriptures and was also famously the inspiration for a memorable artwork by Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt. There is certainly a joyous atmosphere which is deeply contrasted with other parts of the series, such as battle scenes and depictions of key figures approaching death.
Whilst Mucha used egg tempera throughout this series of paintings he would also often finish off elements of detail with oils. In the case of this painting, however, he did not get the chance to complete some parts of this final stage, and so we can see areas of the tempera work laid bare. The work was progressed across 1926 but ultimately other projects would distract the artist and he was not able to return to complete these final touches. That said, whilst this piece can be considered incomplete, the vast majority of the work on it was finished and so this status does not really retract from our enjoyment of this installment of the iconic series. In another sense, it actually serves as an interesting way in which to study the techniques used by the artist which would be harder to understand once the layers of oil have been added over the top.