What fewer people would know is the art he created for Le Pater, an illustrated interpretation of Pater Noster (The Lord’s Prayer). Le Pater was created at the turning point of Mucha's career, at a time when he was increasingly dissatisfied with the commercial work that made him so well known. To find meaning, fulfilment or spirituality, he conceived to present seven verses of the Christian prayer in visual form in a set of three pages. In Mucha's own words:
First a cover page with symbolist ornament; then the same ornament developed in a kind a variation on each line of the prayer; a page explaining each line in a calligraphic form; and a page rendering the idea of each line in the form of an image.
The result is a piece of work that combines Art Nouveau, Mysticism and Religion. Le Pater has been mentioned in other books but always briefly because there wasn't much information regarding the publication, until now with this book by Thomas Negovan.
Thomas Negovan's book was written after almost two decades of research and collection of historic information and materials. There is plenty of new unpublished material that's sure to excite fans of Alphonse Mucha. The amount of details included is incredible. For example, this book has info regarding the texture and quality of the paper used to print Mucha's Le Pater, and why those paper were chosen for the limited print run of 510 copies.
Negovan's book is available in softcover and hardcover editions. Here's info regarding the two editions from publisher Century Guild:
- New introduction by author Michael Moorcock
- 16 additional pages of previously unpublished material
- 230 pages
- 9 by 12inches
- Limited edition
- US $45 (pre-order price, ships in March)
- Published in ultra-high resolution on fine cotton paper with advanced color correction
- Has deluxe varnishes and elegant gilded edges
- 220 pages
- 12 by 16 inches
- Limited edition
- US $179 (available now)
- The volume is contained in an archival fabric clamshell box designed to dramatically recreate the experience of the original 1899 presentation
- Bound in a special vegan leather cover with gilt lettering and handmade endpapers by artist Renaldo Crepaldi
- Signed and numbered by author Thomas Negovan on a deluxe vellum insert page
- Includes limited edition, archival, high-resolution facsimile of the final Alphonse Mucha artwork titled AMEN
- 224 pages
- 12 by 16 inches
- 200 copy limited edition
- US $650 (available now)
The book is made possible thanks to the successful Kickstarter campaign that ended in 2019. The book I have is the review copy provided by the publisher. This is also the same copy that's available for purchase outside of Kickstarter. By the big thanks to Century Guild for sending this book over so that I can share it with more readers.
This humongous hardcover edition is beautiful. The cover has shiny gilt-lettering, good binding, book ribbon and gold-coloured page edges. The artworks and photographs are reproduced with fantastic colours.
It's extremely satisfying to look at the photographs and artworks printed so large. Looking at the photos of the 1900 Paris Exposition made me feel like I was there. One of the main selling points of this book is definitely its ability to kinda transport you back in time, in a way, to when Mucha started his career.
There's a lot to read about the evolution of spirituality and modern symbolism and their influence on art, what Alphonse Mucha was doing in Paris, the art he created prior to Le Pater, the 1900 Paris Exposition, Le Pater and what happened later.
Since the focus of this book is on Le Pater, almost half the book's used to show the art created for that. Seven verses of Christian prayer are visually represented with a title page and prayer page, both drawn with heavy symbolism, in the usual Alphonse Mucha style.
That's followed by the third and manuscript page with an extremely detailed illustration. Also included are the concept sketches, reproduced in full pages.
The art is exquisite, of course. It's the type of art people stand for minutes in front of in museums. There's also interpretation for the art.
This book is not a biography or the oeuvre of Alphonse Mucha. So while there's mention and art of his well known Art Nouveau posters and the amazing Slav Epic paintings, those are not covered in extensive detail.
This is a terrific book by Thomas Negovan. Highly recommended to fans of Alphonse Mucha.
The hardcover is pricy, but at least the softcover is just US $45 (pre-order price though until March 2022).
That's how big the book is compared to my mechanical pencil.
I had to place the book on my floor for these photos because it's too big for my table.