Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Alfons Mucha's The Lord's Prayer: Fin de Siècle Illustrations of Gender and Spirituality

Alfons Mucha’s illustrated and annotated book The Lord’s Prayer (1899) presents a mystical and feminine realization of the “Our Father” that reflects the variety of spiritual traditions present at the fin de siècle while departing from conventional, often negative, depictions of women. Mucha, who practiced both Catholicism and Freemasonry, combined the beliefs of faiths that were frequently at odds with one another in his version of the prayer. The Catholic clergy criticized his French commentary for using feminine mystical titles for God. In response, Mucha created a second Czech version that reaffirmed masculine Christian conventions. While Mucha transformed his commentary, the images that depicted this radical text went unaltered. My examination of these illustrations reveals the close relationship between the spiritual and the feminine that Mucha’s imagery asserts. The absence of standard symbols, like Christ and his crucifixion, and their replacement with feminine figures provided women with increased spiritual visibility.