Saturday 13 December 2014

Saturday 13th December - Christmas in America

Busy weekend ahead, my friends.  In about an hour's time, the Walker family is off to London to see the exhibitions at Leighton House and the National Portrait Gallery, details of which I'll post up in addition to Blogvent.  Also, as the weekend before Christmas week (if you know what I mean) it's the weekend we put up our tree.  I need to plunge the cake into further alcoholism and wrap the last of the pressies that need to be posted.  Oh well, keeps me out of mischief.  On to today's picture...

Christmas in America (1906-1919) Alphonse Mucha
When you think of Mucha this is not necessarily the stuff you think of.  If you said Mucha and Winter to me, I'd probably think of something like this...

Winter (1896)
This is the Art Nouveau-tastic Mucha we all know and love, but this was not all there was to him.  Alongside the swirly-lady-curls-and-circles posters are a series of more traditional images, beautifully realised, like this Christmas spirit. 

Mucha visited America regularly from 1904.Whilst the second 'phase' of his life seems to have been dominated with the 'Slav Epic' cycle, great canvases and designs of national pride and beauty, he still was able to find time to make Nouveau beauties out of the actress Maude Adams and other illustrative pieces for posters and magazines.  This image, entitled Christmas in America seems to show a Northern European goddess, a spirit of Christmas bounty.  Around her head she wears a mistletoe crown, as worn by the goddess Diana, symbolising fertility.  In her hand she holds fruit, nuts and light, sustenance against the cold and the makings of a feast and celebration.  It could be that Mucha's picture is a comment on the traditions of Czech immigrants in America, how they felt they had reached a land of plenty, or that even though they were far from home, their way of life survived.

You may have heard the important Mucha news this week - From April next year, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery will be hosting the first major Mucha exhibition in Britain for a generation.  There is obviously much excitement about this subject and I am very much looking forward to hearing more and seeing it. To read more, look here and get excited too.

My pressie suggestion today is linked to Mucha.  I own the most fabulous bag by a company called Baba Studio, based in Prague and selling through Etsy.  Their bags are beautiful and well-made, and mine is much admired.  I really need a smaller one and so am considering this one...

Hello lovely bag!  Their bags are reasonably priced and are sturdy enough to cope with the random assortment of books, pens, chocolate, gloves and all manner of other things I lump around.  To buy from Baba Studio, visit their online shop on Etsy here.  Gorgeous stuff!


Right, I've now just got back from London and so I better get cracking on my exhibition reviews...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx