In Quest of Beauty – Alphonse Mucha
Back in January, on my first day back at work after the Christmas break was a fabulous first day . I know not many can say that, and some think I’ve just not been here long enough thus I’m not jaded, but seriously, is there anything wrong with enjoying my job? I’m lucky. Although, that day, I didn’t start until after midday I decided to go in and visit the Sainsbury Centre, as they had a current exhibition called ‘Alphonse Mucha, In Quest of Beauty’. I adore Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau and as an artist and a graphic designer he is especially influential to me.
Alphonse Mucha was born in 1860 in Ivančicle. After being expelled from school due to poor academic performance, and subsequently having his application to enrol at Prague Academy of Fine Art declined, he goes to Vienna to work as an apprentice scene painter (1879). In 1887, after progressing in a career as an artist Alphonse Mucha moves to Paris to study at the Académie Julian and a year later the Académie Cola rossi. Over the next decade his life would change and in 1894 he designs his first poster for a play featuring one of the most famous women in Paris at the time, actress Sarah Bernhardt.
It was Alphonse Mucha’s belief that beautiful works of art would inspire people and improve the quality of their lives. He believed that it was his mission as an artist to promote art for ordinary people.
The mission of the artist is to encourage people to love beauty and harmony – Alphonse Mucha
Paris fell in love with Alphonse Mucha’s new style, describing it as ‘le style Mucha,’ which eventually gave way to ‘Art Nouveau’, meaning ‘new art’ in French. Alphonse Mucha’s style is known to most, even if they are unaware of his name. His form was very different to the contemporary designs that were seen around Paris at the time. Instead of bright and bold colours, which were very popular then, Mucha used pastels, and he used a graphic technique not really seen before. In the late nineteenth century Alphonse Mucha could be found everywhere with regards to Parisian advertising, biscuit tins, cigarette promos, alcoholic beverage advertisements…
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