Alphonse Mucha, The Slav Epic No.2: The Celebration of Svantovít, 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 second in the cycle and the title refers to the temple of Svantovít, dedicated to the Slav god Svantovít, on the island of Rujana (modern-day Rügen, Germany). In the lower half of the painting we see the Slavs celebrating at the temple, but the upper half reveals what is to come: in 1168 the Danes attacked and destroyed the temple. They come into the painting on the upper left with vicious dogs. Some of the Slav gods in the upper central portion are bound, while others look distressed or hang their heads in sadness.

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