Alphonse Mucha’s Monumental, 20-Canvas ‘Slav Epic’ Will Finally Have a Permanent Home

The “Slav Epic” at the National Gallery in Prague on May 10, 2012. MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/GettyImages

Some works of art are modest and intimate, detailing the unique facial features of a lover or focusing on the minute petals of a flower. Others, like Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic, are almost unfathomably ambitious: between 1910 and 1928, Mucha went about painting major events in the entire history of the Slavic people, and the result took the form of 20 huge canvases. The canvases have not been displayed together for many years due to their number and the nature of their size, but now, according to a new report from the Art NewspaperSlav Epic  has finally found a home. It will be displayed in a to-be-constructed development designed by Thomas Heatherwick located in Prague, and the facility will open in 2026.

Like Hilma af Klint, who envisioned that her monumental “Paintings for the Future” would one day be arranged and displayed in a monumental four-story building with a spiral staircase, it took a long time for Mucha’s Slav Epic to find the home the series deserved. Ever since the paintings were finished, they have been moved around the Czech Republic without a home, finally coming to rest in Prague in 2010. Crestyl Group, the developer behind the building that’s to be constructed for the paintings, is also planning to include additional materials that contributed to Mucha’s creation of the paintings. “This would result in the establishment of a unique museum of international importance comparable, from a conceptual point of view, perhaps only with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam,” John Mucha, the chairman of the Mucha Foundation, told the Art Newspaper. “The Slav Epic would, thus, be exhibited as a whole.”

Plus, the content of the Slav Epic is obviously just as magnificent and convoluted as the journey it’s taken. Over the years, Mucha created several extraordinary scenes: The Introduction of the Slavonic Liturgy in Great Moravia (1912), The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia (1914), and After the Battle of Grunewald (1924) just to name a few. The mood that courses through them is as charged with complicated love for one’s homeland as a great novel. Alphonse Mucha’s Monumental, 20-Canvas ‘Slav Epic’ Will Finally Have a Permanent Home