When it comes to architecture, I surely am no expert. If I am asked to describe a type of building that I would truly like, I would most likely bring up the multitude of Gothic styled cathedrals that I have gazed upon and visited over the years. I have an inclination to be fascinated by the Medieval times, when these grand and majestic structures were built. I love the vastness of the space, the clear vertical lines, the vaults, the arches, the columns and not to forget the multitude of glass windows that conclude these striking structures. I also love the adornation and sculptures that decorate the facade, including the gargoyles and the multitude of tall spires; all creating a shroud of mystique and enigmatic darkness depicted in Gothic Novels, which are so captivating.
However, in recent years I have started to appreciate the beauty and style of the Art Nouveau.
This begun already when I was a very young teenager, without my realization. I was utterly intrigued and greatly inspired by a great Czech artist, that is considered as the founder of Art Nouveau. Alfons Mucha was born and raised in the former Austrian Empire (in the part that is today Czech republic), but already as a very young man moved to Paris, where he produced magazine and advertising illustrations. As often happens in life, he was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and became a sensation literally over night, when he was commissioned to create a poster of Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris, in 1894.
I love his style that is so romantic and so accomplished in colours and shapes, often depicting women with a serene style and feminine elegance. I also find some sort of recognition in his way of creating a series of pictures; such as the different seasons, the different times of the day or the different stars in the sky, as I too find great fascination in following a change or depicting or capturing a progress. My most favorite series is for sure the ethereal beauties that depict the times of the year. Already when I gazed at his winter, spring, summer and autumn for the first time, I knew this was the style that I was born to paint myself.
On our visit to Prague this June I visited the Mucha museum which shows off some of his lovely originals, although most of them are displayed in the galleries of Paris. However, I got to see one of his absolute masterpieces, that can only be seen in Prague and not in any museum. He is the designer of one of the stained glass widows in the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. Watching it leaves me in a complete awe, as I find the composition, the colours and overall the style incredibly pleasing to the eye.
Particularly as the experience combines my favorite Gothic Style with Art Nouveau.