Mucha’s Slav Epic Back in Prague—May Have Found a New Home

Is there a more fitting place for an Art Nouveau master than Prague’s grandest Art Nouveau temple?

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 13.07.2017 10:46:38 (updated on 13.07.2017) Reading time: 1 minute

Czech artist Alphonse Mucha’sThe Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej) has returned to Prague following a lengthy touring exhibition in Japan last year which saw a record 600,000-plus visitors.

Now representatives from the City Gallery have announced that the highly debated work—which has been in headlines for years due to ownership and relocation disputes—may be getting a new home.

Mucha’s masterpiece, a cycle of twenty large panels, painted from 1910-1926 and featuring scenes from Czech and Slavic mythology, could next go on display in Prague’s Municipal House (Obecní dům) as early as next year.

Mucha at work on The Slav Epic / Photo: Wiki Commons
Mucha at work on The Slav Epic / Photo: Wiki Commons

The work had been housed on the ground floor of the National Gallery’s Veletržní Palace from 2012 until December 31, 2016, when it began its Japanese tour. Prior to that it was located in a chateau in Moravian Krumlov.

In 2016, Prague city leaders announced plans to build a museum for the monumental painting in the city’s Těšnov district, including a proposal for a building shaped like a “Golden Donut” by architect Peter Malinský—so far, however, no concrete steps have been taken toward its construction.

Despite interest from museums in the U.S. and China, the painting will remain in Prague where it was returned, intact, according to the gallery, in late June.

Mucha murals at Municipal House / Photo: Wiki Commons
Mucha murals at Municipal House / Photo: Wiki Commons

Built in 1912, but with a history dating back to the 14th century, the national heritage Municipal House, already boasts a number of Mucha artworks including stained glass on its facade and a series of grand murals in the Lord Mayor’s Hall.

It is currently exhibiting a restrospective of Czech painter, graphic artist, and illustrator Miloslav Troup which features a portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy.

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