Portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley as Slavia 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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This painting features Josephine Crane Bradley who was the daughter of Charles Richard Crane. He called on the services of Alphonse Mucha to produce a portrait of her as a celebration of her upcoming marriage.

She would pose as the Slav goddess Slavia, someone who provided inspiration to the artist in several other paintings as well. Mucha himself was strongly connected and proud of his own people and so would have been more than happy to have produced this type of content. The painting would then be installed into the new home of the wedded family, making it a unique and well thought out gift. The item can now be found in the National Gallery of Prague and still featured some of the unusual frame which was used at the time in order to blend it in with the rest of the room in which it was installed. The artist is known to have used tempera and oils to complete the portrait and is likely to have used the former first for layout, before adding layers of the latter in order to produce the precise detail. He worked in a similar way for his Slav Epic series.

The completed artwork is relatively large by the standards of Mucha's single figure portraits, standing at one and a half metres tall, and around 90cm wide. This highly decorative piece features endless patterns of flowers and plants, arranged in different ways across the frame and background. Slavia herself is captured holding a round item in her left hand, whilst a bird can be seen by her feet. The frame used is in gold leaf paint to give the overall project a grand and impressive finish which was becoming of such an important gift as this. Despite the connection to the Crane family who were based elsewhere, it is pleasing to see this piece make its way back to the Czech region where it can be viewed by the general public.

The National Gallery of Prague, or Národní galerie Praha as it is known locally, currently displays this piece and for some time also had elements of the Slav Epic here as well. The latter will likely be moved into a new location at some point but this portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley as Slavia ensures that the artist will still be represented within this important institution. For those who appreciate other artists and movements as well as just Mucha, you may also be interested in other parts of their permanent collection, which includes a number of significant pieces from the realms of European art history. Some of the items to look out for include Feast of the Rosary by Albrecht Durer, Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder and also The Maiden by Gustav Klimt.