Museo degli Innocenti hosts Alphonse Mucha – The Seduction of Art Nouveau from October 27 to April 7, with more than 170 works by the Czech-born artist allowing visitors to experience the full extent of his unique style that characterized the art nouveau movement, curated by Tomoko Sato with Francesca Villanti.
Immediately recognizable, Mucha’s style has become iconic through its use in numerous brand campaigns, from Nestlé to Moët & Chandon, that have worked to publicize the movement and make Mucha emblematic. The exhibition guides viewers through the Belle Époque, displaying an extensive selection of works that put feminine beauty at the centre, with immersive elements and music enchanting viewers as they move through the works.
Much of the work on show was completed between 1887 and 1910 in Paris, as his style developed alongside the art nouveau movement. Mucha’s encounters with Sarah Bernhardt, the actress considered one of the most famous and beautiful of the era, brought his illustrations significant attention and broad public visibility through theatre posters and advertisements. He returned to Prague in 1910 to produce the work now considered his masterpiece, The Slav Epic. Compiling 20 canvases that recount the most important episodes in Slavic history, the work represents the artist’s potent patriotism. The exhibition marks the first time that Mucha has had a dedicated display in Florence, with the art show completed by a section on Italian art nouveau, represented by Galileo Chini.
His grandson, John Mucha, president of the Mucha Foundation, adds colour to our experience of the works with an anecdote: “My grandfather traveled to Florence in 1885 just before commencing his studies at the Munich Academy of Art. The city made a terrific impression on him, and he wrote in a letter to his patron that ‘the impression of the dome of the cathedral outside and inside can never weaken for me in the future’. I can only imagine how proud he would be to see his work exhibited in a building designed by Brunelleschi, and as his descendants we are thrilled to bring his work back to a place in Italy that was critical to his artistic development”.
Tickets to the exhibition (with access to Museo degli Innocenti included) cost 16 euro, 14 euro reduced.
The museum is open daily from 9.30am-7pm.