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Lorenzaccio

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (printed)

  • Date:

    1896 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mucha, Alphonse, born 1860 - died 1939 (artist)
    F. Champenois (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Museum number:

    E.1283-1963

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This poster advertised the play Lorenzaccio, written by Alfred de Musset and performed in Paris in the 1890s. The character of Lorenzaccio was based on Lorenzo the Magnificent, a member of the Medici family who ruled the city-state of Florence in the Renaissance period. The title role was played by the actress Sarah Bernhardt, and it is her figure that is seen in this poster. She is dressed in a sumptuous black period costume, with a dagger hanging from her belt, holding a book. Lorenzaccio is lost in thought, pondering how to save Florence from a power-hungry conqueror. The conqueror is represented by the dragon at the top of the image. The muted colour palette of blue, gold and black, combined with the long lean lines of the image, make this poster a typical example of the period and of Alphonse Mucha's work. Although Mucha resisted being labelled an Art Nouveau artist, this print fits into the Art Nouveau style.

Physical description

Upright rectangular poster on two sheets joined, showing a female figure in dressed in a black tunic, black stockings and a long black cape, holding a book. In the background, a curved niche is decorated with a foliage pattern, with a blueish green dragon climbing from behind it. Writing both on top and bottom of the image, as well as curving around the niche.

Place of Origin

Paris (printed)

Date

1896 (printed)

Artist/maker

Mucha, Alphonse, born 1860 - died 1939 (artist)
F. Champenois (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

'Lorenzaccio piece en V actes et un epilogue D'Alfred de Musset Adaptation de M. Armand D'Artois Sarah Bernhardt Anno Domini MDCCCXCVI Mucha Theatre de la Renaissance IMP. F. Champenois, Paris'
Lettered at the top of page

'Sarah Bernhardt Anno Domini MDCCCXCVI'
Lettered in the border around the central design

'Theatre de la Renaissance MP. / Champenois, Paris' i
Lettered at the bottom of page

'Mucha'
Signed

Dimensions

Height: 205.7 cm overall size of sheet, Width: 74.9 cm overall size of sheet

Descriptive line

Poster (on 2 sheets joined), with an illustration of a woman in Medieval costume, advertising the play 'Lorenzaccio'. Colour lithograph designed by Alphonse Mucha, 1896.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1963 . London: HMSO, 1964.

Labels and date

'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

This poster advertises Lorenzacchio, adapted by Armand d'Artois from Alfred de Musset, first performed at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in 1896, starring Sarah Bernhardt, she had commissioned Alphonse Mucha's first successful poster, Gismonda, to announce her appearance at the Theatre de la Renaissance in 1894, and he subsequently designed posters for almost all of her productions. This for Lorenzacchio is typical, having tall, vertical proportions, and consisting of two halves lithographed separately. The elongated and sinuously curved figure is placed in a niche to give an icon-like effect. [1987-2006]

Techniques

Colour lithograph

Subjects depicted

Daggers (weapons); Books; Scrolling foliage; Theatre; Capes (outerwear); Dragons

Categories

Prints; Advertising; Entertainment & Leisure; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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