Mucha's works for World Exhibition 1900 exhibited in Prague

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A new exhibition is underway at Prague's Municipal House, featuring works by the famous Czech Art Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha. Although Mucha has his own museum in Prague, the pictures exhibited in the Municipal House were borrowed from abroad and this is a unique opportunity for Czech art lovers to see them.

The exhibition, entitled 'Alfons Mucha - Paris 1900' focuses on works the artist created for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Paris at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was a Mecca for artists. Mucha settled in Paris in 1887. After his first great success with commissions from the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt, the year of the exhibition, 1900, was one of further triumph for Mucha. He had been working towards it in the preceding years during which he presented his works at several venues, using extensive exhibition space. After more than 100 years, some of these works at least can now be seen in the Municipal House.

The exhibition in Prague has two parts, and one of the curators, Dr. Anna Dvorakova told me more:

The canvases that adorned the inside of the Bosnia and Herzegovina pavilion were Mucha's largest commission for the World Exhibition. This pavilion was part of the Austro-Hungarian presentation, and it was intended to demonstrate both the overall economic and cultural flowering of the Balkan lands and the fact that there had been peace in the region since 1879, when it came under Vienna'' civil and military administration.

At the same time, Dr. Orlikova points out that his work for the Bosnia and Herzegovina pavilion was a turning point in Mucha's artistic career:

The exhibition is accompanied by a series lectures on Mucha and his works and it will be on at the Municipal House till September 29th.

Another exhibition that could attract many visitors has opened in the town of Podivin (which funnily means 'weirdo' in Czech) in Southern Moravia. In the 'V Gallery' Jan Antonin Pacak, a former rocker who now paints, exhibits his pictures and graphic art. Although many people remember him as member of the oldest rock group in the Czech Republic, Olympic, he is also a respected creative artist. Pacak's works have been on display at 60 exhibitions, and he has illustrated more than 50 books. The artist himself says his most frequent subjects are women, and the exhibition in Podivin includes work from all periods of his career. On display are 30 pieces of art - pictures, graphics and also porcelain. Pacak said he painted on it with cobalt and although he took a long break, after 10 years he returned to this technique. Pacak's pictures are to be found in the National Gallery in Prague and in many other galleries throughout Europe. He also presented his art in the United States. As for Pacak's engagement with the rock group Olympic, he played on wind instruments in the group between 1963 and 1971. Now, after so many years, the group is getting together with its old members and plans to give ten concerts in ten Czech towns.

And we'll stay in Southern Moravia - the Baroque chateau in Vranov nad Dyji attracts visitors by the hundreds of lilies that decorate the chateau's interiors and the adjacent chapel. The lilies were brought here to recall the chateau's former owners and their spiritual world in which a white lily had always been a symbol of moral purity. The flower exhibition is entitled "Flower Baroque Theatre" and it will continue till the end of June. This year is the second time that lilies have been brought to Vranov. The exhibition features ten kinds of this flower, and is complemented by artistically arranged gladiolas and chrysanthemums. Before the present chateau was built, a castle stood on a steep headland over the Dyje river dating back to the 11th century. In 1614, the Althann family rebuilt the castle into a Baroque chateau - its builder was the foremost Austrian architect Johann Fisher of Erlach. The chateau's interiors document the lifestyle of noblemen in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the halls ceramics made in the local ceramic workshop are also on display. The chateau is located in the Podyji National Park, and some 80,000 tourists from the Czech Republic and abroad visit it every year.