The University of Iowa

Lorenzaccio

Mucha art in Theater Building
Building
Medium
lithographic poster
Status
Active
Dimension
33" x 85"
Date
1896
Description

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 city's 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.