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The poster for the play "Gismonda" with Sarah Bernhardt

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1894, 216×74.2 cm • Lithography, Paper

Description of the artwork «The poster for the play "Gismonda" with Sarah Bernhardt»

On Christmas eve, 1893 Alphonse Mucha was the only well-established artist, who did not go on vacation. For him, like a straw, and seized the printer named de Brunoff. He called the artist with the words: "My dear Fly, just called me Sarah Bernhardt. She needed a poster for the production. It should be ready by the morning of new year's day. Have you ever done something like that?" "No, - honestly Fly. – But I can try". 27 Dec poster "Gismonda" was ready, and on January 1 she graced the Paris streets.

Creating posters for Sarah Bernhardt was Mucha huge responsibility. She worked for the artist in a rather unusual way: he managed to completely change the approach to the production of posters. The fact that the amount of these posters were dictated solely by the size of the printing stone used to print. Fly also came up to lay beside two narrow segments, which formed a long slender figure. He created Billboard was of a size that allowed to depict figures in full human growth. And given that they were located most often at eye level, walking down the streets of Paris to the public "Gismonda" and other heroines of Bernard seemed almost alive. People are so fond of posters of Flies that they cut them from the walls almost immediately after posting.

And indeed Bernard was delighted with the works of the Flies, starting with "Gismonda". The new format Billboard successfully emphasized her slimness, giving the actress a resemblance to the animated statue that adorns a niche in the wall. A middle-aged Sarah Bernhardt appears as a young virgin, and decorated with rich embroidery robe, a wreath in her hair and a gold mosaic background gives it a resemblance to a deity. Arch backgrounds and symbolic elements at the bottom of the image would later become the hallmark of almost all posters Mucha created for Bernard (1, 2, 3, 4).

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Portrait, Allegorical scene
Style of art and technique: Art Nouveau, Lithography

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