Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art and Design

First Advisor

Maria Gindhart

Second Advisor

John Decker

Third Advisor

Glen Gunhouse

Abstract

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Alphonse Mucha is primarily known for his early career producing Parisian Art Nouveau posters. However in 1910, Mucha left Paris to return to his home in the Czech lands where he concentrated on creating works for his country. Unfortunately, the later part of his career receives little to no attention in most art history books. His collection, The Slav Epic, represents ideas of Pan-Slavism, patriotism, and national identity. A leading scholar of national identity was Johann Gottfried Herder, a Czech sympathizer who influenced writers such as Jan Kollár and the historian František Palacký. Mucha’s works provided a visual representation of national identity and collective history specifically called for by these scholars. This thesis seeks to shed light on the late works of this artist, tracing the ever-present Slavonic influences, and also to place them in context within Czech Nationalism and Pan-Slavism in order to establish their historical significance.

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