Alphonse Mucha, Slavs in Their Original Homeland, 1912

Mucha searched for many years and finally found a patron to sponsor him in the most ambitious project he ever attempted: a 20 monumental painting cycle (the largest measures over 6x8m) called The Slav Epic, illustrating the history and mythology of the Slavic peoples. The entire cycle took Mucha 18 years to paint. After its completion, the city of Prague promised the construction of a pavilion to house the works, which they controversially have still not done.
This painting is the first in the cycle and starts with the earliest known history; between the years of 300-500AD Germanic tribes sometimes intruded onto Slavic lands, pillaging as they went. Here we see two scared Slavs looking right at us while hiding from the pillagers outside their burning village. A pagan priest floats in the top right; he is flanked by the personifications of War and Peace, who symbolize the stability the Slavs will later gain through war.

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