If you’re an art lover and looking for your next inspiration you don’t have to look further than our own Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition at the Kelvingrove showcases the Czech born artist Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939). Titled ‘In Quest of Beauty’, the exhibit’s soft lighting cleverly highlights his unique, elegant style and use of muted tones.
Mucha came to fame during 1894 after he entered a print shop and was requested to paint a poster of Sarah Bernhardt (a famous Parisian actress) for one of her latest theatre shows- Bernhardt then contracted Mucha for the following six years. His poster designs were some of the first of their kind and were often re-printed and plastered all over Paris, creating a gallery of images for the everyday lay man. Following this, he created everything from wallpaper to advertisements. It was his belief that every man should have access to what he defined as ‘high art’, and that art should not just be confined to the sphere of the wealthy. The exhibit shows examples of his wonderful beer advertisements posters where he uses his signature stylised, beautiful female figure as with a marketing ploy to feminise drinking. In an industrialised, masculine society, Mucha’s work was popularised as it celebrated femininity and beauty.
Some of his most famous works are on display including ‘Zodiac’. An abundance of his other works are displayed that highlight Mucha’s eye for creating ethereal designs that celebrate the female form. Over time Mucha’s style has become associated with the Art Nouveau style. His works are compared to Scottish artists such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh, bridging the gap between the European and Scottish artwork styles. The exhibit also interestingly links Mucha to modern day artists and tattoo artists such as Aimee Cornwall whose feminine designs with flowing hair take inspiration from Mucha’s intricate, feminine designs (see below). It then looks to later in Mucha’s career when his style shifts to more nationalist works celebrating the history of Czech culture.
The exhibit costs only £3 for students and closes on the 19th of February, so get there quickly. There is also a gift shop full of amazing posters for your room, or even a little something for your mum’s birthday. It’s definitely worth a visit, Mucha’s intricate work is extremely distinctive and is even more beautiful up close!
– Johanna Crighton and Hannah Todd