Apotheosis by Jiri David

Apotheosis painting by Jiri David was brought to Prague after it had been exhibited at 56th Venice Bienalle in 2015. The artist reinterpreted the painting of another famous Czech artist Alfons Mucha, who created his Apotheosis of the Slavs as a part of his Slav Epic – a series of 20 large-scale murals depicting the mythology and history of Czechs and other Slavic people. Jiri David reconstructed Mucha’s painting from the point of view of the contemporary artist and added to it some details reflecting current political, social and cultural events.

Apotheosis is exhibited in a way that every visitor can become a part of it. That fact that the painting is black-and-white makes an impression that the visitor standing between it and a mirror is placed in the present, while the painting is in the past. It creates a unique experience and allows everyone to get involved into an interesting game of finding those details that were added by David to the original painting.


As a big Mucha’s fan I closely studied his painting several times. Comparing it now with its interpretation makes me think about the amount of work that an artist puts into creating his masterpiece. Knowing that Mucha put a special sense into colors he used and also noticing his smooth, almost invisible brushstrokes and comparing them with duo-chromatic palette and loose brushstrokes of contemporary version, I thought about how artists nowadays put less effort and consequently (in my opinion) their emotions into their work. Conceptual art movement where idea is more important then its execution asserted a drastic influence even on those artworks that are supposed to be well-executed. Even with those art works that I sincerely consider very impressive, I can’t get rid of the feeling that it could be done better. Do my words make any sense for anyone except me?…


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