Alphonse Mucha in Front of His Work by Pavel Sokov

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Pavel Sokov

Alphonse Mucha in Front of His Work


45.72 x 35.56 cm | 18 x 14 in

Oil on linen

  • ARC Purchase Awards ($6,800)

This work is in the Collection of the Art Renewal Center.

In 2017 I happened to be in Tokyo, which was an incredible stroke of luck, as Mucha's Slav Epic left Prague for the first time to show abroad in Japan. I rushed to the show and was absolutely blown away by these incredible monuments to human artistic accomplishment. The complexity of the compositions, the narratives, and the sheer size of the paintings really did justice to their designation as epics. Each piece was an accomplishment that would make an artist's entire life well spent, but Mucha completed 20 of them. Standing before each one, I felt dwarfed by the skills Mucha brought down on us, both technically and narratively speaking. I remember standing before the last epic No. 20: Apotheosis: Slavs for Humanity. Four Stages of Slav History in Four Colours and being overcome by the sort of goosebumps you get when you are watching peak human performance. In one painting, he illustrated the history of the Slav people while also delivering a figure that represented his pride and belief in the future of the Slav people. Although I personally had no real emotions or pride in being a Slav, it was inspiring that he could carry through the feelings he had so clearly to us that day, in Tokyo. I also felt some tinge of sadness as I pondered that us modern painters aren't able to spend a lifetime working towards one project of such a scale, as we seek faster rewards for less effort. Times have changed and I wondered if the world will be capable of producing artists like what we had during that golden period.

Having experienced his life's work and being so blown away, I wanted to paint a tribute to this legendary artist, and that is how this painting came to be.