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Winter, crafted by Alphonse Mucha in 1896 serves as one-quarter of his series of pieces "Seasons", The series being his debut into the decorative panels - or pânneaux décoratif - of Parisian art nouveau (of which he became such a key figure).
Seasons was the first of three sets Mucha produced for Ferdinand Champenois, his most noted printer. The format and medium of both this panel and all pieces within Seasons are commensurate with Mucha's proclaimed desire to make art affordable and available to the masses by being cheap and not overly-grandiose in size or material. In regards to the art itself, the poster-style in particular can be seen as a nod to the influence of Japanese woodcuts, whilst the painting keeps form with its three sister paintings by featuring a beautiful woman before a seasonal background who's temperament brilliantly personifies the season she represents.
It is, in fact, a common theme of Mucha's work (see: Morning, Evening, Daytime and Night) to personify certain concepts with human figures on relevant backgrounds. In Winter, the frosty figure is withdrawn and looking suspiciously to one side, the painting seems to reflect an interest in the nymphs and Goddesses of classical art with her flowing dress and round visage. Beyond this, the oriental style cannot be ignored with what could be a cherry blossom tree in both the back and foreground, draped in snow as one may see if in Japan on a Winter's day.
The closer tree houses three small birds that look upon the dark-haired woman in her flowing pale green cloak who is holding, perhaps warming, a fourth small bird. Together Seasons represent the natural cycle of life in a stark and symbolic manner; characteristic of Mucha's works.