By the end of the nineteenth century, belief in scientific and technological progress had become a constitutional component of a modernist ideal that fostered a new generation of individuals eager to propose revolutionary solutions and improve the spirit of our civilization. Art became a more independent practice aimed at questioning inherited canons and representational patterns rather than a manifestation of a patron’s will.
Although not as radical as some subsequent genres, Art Nouveau appeared to defy what academia had proposed. Although it was articulated theoretically by leading 19th-century intellectuals like French architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) and British art critic John Ruskin, the concept of breaking the difference between fine arts (especially sculpture and painting) and applied arts was perceived as rebellious (1819–1900). It incorporated Arts and Crafts tendencies and the notion of Gesamtkunstwerk, otherwise known as “total work of art,” as an outcome of the unification of various artistic disciplines.
The movement appeared global, with expressions and renowned artists appearing in various contexts. Alphonse Mucha, a well-known Czech painter, graphic artist, and illustrator, who was active in Paris during the Art Nouveau period, was one of them.
Who Exactly is Alphonse Mucha?
Alphonse Mucha is best known for his posters, which he created around 1895 and 1900. Mucha’s style was even dubbed “le style Mucha” at the time because it coincided with the prevalent Art Nouveau style. Decorative panels, otherwise known as panneaux décoratifs at that time, were posters without text that were intended to be used to decorate interior walls. Mucha’s designs were repeatedly used for various editions
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