Advent Calendar 2015 · Art History

December 16th: Winter by Alfons Mucha

Winter by Alfons Mucha, 1896. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Czech-born artist and designer Alfons (Alphonse) Mucha (1860-1939) was one of the creators of the style we now call Art Nouveau. Even if the name doesn’t sound familiar, you probably recognize his beautiful paintings and illustrations. They primarily feature elegant and ethereal-looking women, often with long hair, wearing flowing gowns, and surrounded by flowers and trees. His colorful, detailed, stained-glass like illustrations have been reproduced in forms such as posters and advertisements from Mucha’s lifetime through the present. This painting, Winter, was part of a series of the four seasons that Mucha painted in 1896. It is very beautiful, but I find myself wondering why this fairy-like woman isn’t more appropriately dressed for the snow around her. She looks cold! On the other hand, I have a feeling that Art Nouveau illustrations aren’t meant to be over-thought.

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