Age of Reason Alphonse Mucha Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The artist put together a series of three artworks which would sit adjoined as part of a triptych. The project was never completed, sadly, but we have enough work that was finished that we can understand what the finished items would have looked like.

Mucha worked within the Art Nouveau movement which appeared across Europe over a period of several decades. It was he specifically who added poster art into its inventory, although a number of other European artists would later take inspiration from his work and continue this approach to advertise a number of aspirational brands. The item that we see in front of us here, Age of Reason, illustrates an artist who was now able to work entirely in the themes and styles that he wanted to, from an artistic perspective. Mucha has by now achieved financial freedom through his hard work in the commercial sector and this afforded him a certain level of freedom in the latter years of his career. His Slav Epic series was one example of that, as even though it was funded privately, the original idea was entirely his own.

Triptychs have been common within European art but must more so in previous centuries, particularly within the Renaissance and Baroque eras. For Mucha to do so in the late 19th, early 20th century was very unusual but there was a symbolic reason for doing so. He wanted the three themes to sit together and so produced items for love and reason, with wisdom sitting in the middle, suggesting that success for humanity would require the use of wisdom in order to find the right balance between us using our minds and our emotions. Whilst the overall designs were never fully completed, we have plenty enough to enjoy and learn from what he was doing, including a whole series of sketches that laid out the designs for each piece and also help us to see how the artworks developed over time, before he even started the paintings themselves.

Alphonse Mucha would leave behind several hundred artworks by the end of his career, including a variety of watercolours, oil paintings, drawings and lithograph prints. His work was most famous for his depictions of young women in classical clothing and an atmosphere of purity. There was some similarity between the content that he used within his posters and illustrative drawings and the work of a number of English artists in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, such as John William Waterhouse, William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones. This type of portraiture has been particularly popular in recent years, harping back to a time when life was simpler and perhaps better.