By this point The Slav Epic had passed through around seven centuries of narrative and we were know approaching the 15th century. Here we examine the life of Master Jan Hus and consider his own personal contributions to the development of the Slavic people. This artwork was completed in 1916 and is amongst the biggest in the series, being eight metres in width and six metres in height. The upper half of the canvas is entirely devoted to some beautiful architectural touches by Mucha who concentrates on a complex roof design. This art genre is a unique challenge which he mastered brilliantly, even though it does not appear frequently in other parts of his oeuvre, thus reminding us again of his impressive technical ability and versatility.
Here we enter the Czech Reformation, of which Jan Hus would become a major figure. He worked hard to clean religion of its excesses and get back to basics, with a purer voice as originally intended within the Bible. Sadly, for his confrontational approach he was burned at the stake, though this action led to a rebellion in his name. Ultimately this would become known as the Hussite Wars which Mucha appears to be painting as a battle for good. The painting itself captures Jan Hus whilst preaching, long before his untimely and disastrous demise. As is typical of Mucha, he carefully uses light in order to help us locate the key figures within this painting, which is entirely necessary when considering the large number of figures found here, and that they are all at ground level.
This huge mural was produced using egg tempera, which was a technique seldom used during the 20th century, having been seen much more frequently during the early part of the Italian Renaissance. In tackling historical content, Mucha's decision to use more traditional methods seemed entirely appropriate, and it was as if he was producing something for the Slavic people akin to the extraordinary ceiling of the Sistine Chapel many centuries earlier. Thankfully, Mucha chose to produce his work on canvases that could be relocated fairly easily, rather than the original wall paintings created by Michelangelo all those years ago. Whilst not achieving the international fame of the great Italian master, Mucha is rightly regarded as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and left behind an important legacy for the race that he represented so admirably.