Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is currently home to Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty, an exhibition that explores the work and legacy of the Czech painter and decorative artist.
Among his most popular works are his series of decorative panels: The Seasons, The Flowers, The Arts and The Times of the Day.
The Seasons (1896):
Mucha’s first series of four panels depicts female personifications of the four seasons of the year. The illustrations were so popular and successful that it led to two further series with the same formula; only a year later Mucha went on to repeat it and did so again in 1900. The final panel, which represents Winter, draws inspiration from traditional Japanese woodcuts.
Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
The Flowers (1898):
Inspired by The Language of Flowers, this series of decorative panels depicts young women with roses, irises, carnations and lilies. Each illustration consists of muted, pastel colours based on the traditional colouring of the respective flower featured. Two of the original paintings were shown in a solo exhibition in 1897 but the full set was unavailable until the following year.
Rose, Iris, Carnation, and Lily.
The Arts (1898):
Mucha uses the female form to illustrate painting, poetry, music and dance in perhaps his most popular set of lithographs. The series shows each of the Arts paired with a motif from nature, i.e. birdsong accompanies Music while the evening star shines in the sky alongside Poetry.
Painting, Poetry, Music, and Dance.
The Times of the Day (1899):
Framed by an arc of floral motifs, four young women represent the times of the day; morning, afternoon, evening and night. Produced in the same year that Mucha received several commissions for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle, this was the series that made the artist wonder if he could keep up with the demand for his work. After its completion he produced two additional matching sets of lithographs due to popular demand.
Morning Awakening, Brightness of Day, Evening Contemplation, and Night’s Rest.