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artwork in Theatre Building

north stairwell
lithographic poster
Click to display larger image of Lorenzaccio
Many Mucha poster images were commissioned for Sarah Bernhardt, the famous actress, to advertise the plays in which she appeared. Bernhardt occasionally performed plays in which she played the principle male role; Lorenzaccio, written by Alfred de Musset, being one of them. The hero of this play is a prince of the city-state, Florence. With the city under the siege of Alexander the Great, Lorenzaccio, played by Bernhardt, searches for a way to save both the city and his honor. The dragon, symbolic of the evil forces, waits to pounce and devour Florence - the cities emblem appears near the dragon’s mouth. The ornate, jeweled sword in the bottom panel represents the possible solution – murdering Alexander the Great.

Born in South Moravia in 1860, Alphonse Maria Mucha was during his lifetime, and now once again, one of the most celebrated artists of Art Nouveau. Yet in 1910, at the height of his career, Mucha left Paris, where he had lived since 1887, to seek recognition as a “serious painter.” Within a few years, he was practically forgotten. He died in Prague in 1939.
west stairwell
serigraph poster
Click to display larger image of Parade
In 1979-80, Hockney was invited to design the stage sets for a triple bill at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, consisting of Erik Satie’s Parade, and two others short operas. The canvas for Parade, on which the artist based his poster, is drawn from these designs. The ballet introduces the audience to the world of circuses and street fairs, a theme common in all three works. Parade is freely drawn in bold colors and simple forms portraying circus images. The poster is evidence of Hockney’s growing enthusiasm for the work of Picasso, who, coincidently, designed the original sets for the ballet in 1917.

David Hockney, an English painter, printmaker, photographer and stage designer, was born in Bradford, England, where he attended the local School of Art from 1953-1957. He is regarded as one of the most popular and versatile artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He taught at the University of Iowa in 1964.