“Art only exists to create a spiritual message.” This was the philosophy that Czech artist Alphonse Maria Mucha lived by. The style Mucha and many other artists worked in at the time were Art Nouveau. He dabbled in a wide variety of media, such as commercial products like cigarette papers and also large detailed illustrations. Every piece, he created, whether it be small or large always provoked a feeling of spirituality. Mucha was also very important in the socialist movement within art and wanted to bring beauty to an industrial world and back to the people.
He used his iconic illustration style and color techniques to fight against the current climate in Ivančice and bring beautiful and spiritual art to daily life and the common people.
Living in an industrial world, Mucha’s goal was to fight this by celebrating feminine bodies and using organic symbols such as plant life, mainly flowers to frame said beauty. He also focused mainly on women to fight the masculine nature of society at the time.
His other goal fell in line with the idea of socialism. His vision was to work in advertisements and things that people use or buy daily so they could also experience art in their lives, instead of catering to just the upper class. Since he came from humble beginnings of surviving on lentils and beans every night, he understood their struggles and wanted to help.
Mucha has a very delicate and precise style of color. The techniques he used helped push the vision he wanted to create.
One of these methods was using desaturated and warm colors to create a spiritual glow. He sought to make colors bright and luminous. He said, “If we wish to add luminosity of a color, it is placed in a higher key.” This is why he mainly restricted his values to middle and light tones. He also worked with mood lighting, using specific colors to affect the feelings that the person looking at his art felt. For example, if he wanted to catch the essence of a woman that was confident and loving, he would use warm and strong colors such as red hues and yellow hues. Another goal he had when using color was to paint for the model. To do this he would keep the background tones cool and save the warm tones for the figure in the foreground.
His goal for the audience was to feel and take in the raw beauty and organic emotion trapped within the pieces. He wanted to bring beauty back into the seemingly bleak and mechanical world. He also wanted to bring his style into the commercial world, by putting his iconic style onto things such as biscuit packages or furniture design. His art was especially taken by the nonconformists of the time.
There were a few others who specifically influenced Mucha’s art. One of these people was a man named Victor Horta. Horta was an architect who worked with sensual swirls, linear themes, innovative shapes, lines, and organic designs. He specifically influenced the various swirls and swooshes that are involved in the background of Mucha’s pieces, framing the beautiful women in them. Another person that greatly influenced his art was William Morris. Morris more influenced the socialist side of Mucha, being a strong contributor to the movement. Morris also worked with abstract floral patterns that can be seen in Mucha’s pieces as well.
Some things that inspired Mucha’s art specifically were different memories throughout his life since he was a strong believer in fate and spirituality. One specific memory that affected his use of color was from early on in his childhood when he experienced the magic of multicolored Christmas lights. He was also later inspired by a church that held the art of a famous local names Johann Umlauf. The fact that a man could be recognized and profit from their art were very inspiring to him to pursue art as a passion and a career.
While Alphonse Mucha may not be recognized by other great artists at his time, such as Monet, he will forever be important to the Art Nouveau movement. His goals were immensely commendable, always helping out his fellow man and always remembering the humble beginnings that he came from. He is especially inspiring to me to see that as an artist I can push the boundaries of the common mold for things such as graphic design. Instead of going with the same method, many go with I can bring my unique style to the common practice. His fine arts works are also very inspiring to my work because of how he captures the essence of a person in every work of art. Alphonse Mucha was my first inspiration and to this day my most influential inspiration.