Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic goes on display in Japan
Alphonse Mucha’s cycle of paintings the Slav Epic has gone on display in the Japanese capital Tokyo. It is the first time ever that the whole collection is being shown abroad. The exhibition is part of a Year of Czech Culture in Japan and is expected to attract several hundred thousand visitors.
“Mucha is very well-known in Japan. A lot of people know his posters and the work that he did for actress Sarah Bernhardt. Some will be familiar with the Slav Epic, having seen it either at Moravský Krumlov before, where the cycle used to be housed, or to Prague when it was at the National Gallery. It’s a little more complicated in the sense that a lot of the Japanese public thinks that Mucha, whose name they pronounce as Musha, was French. Many may be surprised to find out he was Czech.”
“The Japanese love decorative elements, which are present in Japanese art but also present in Mucha’s posters and commercial work. In that sense, the Slav Epic will be a little bit of an eye-opener for some. It is a later work in his career and the paintings are scarier to a degree, so that will be something of a surprise.”
“I think that the estimated number of visitors [of around 250,000 people] is entirely realistic. Not least when you consider that Tokyo alone has more inhabitants than the entire Czech Republic! Similar shows here have proven very, very popular. The opening night was very grand and there were more than 1,000 people.”
The show lasts until June 5. Find more information at www.nact.jp