THE INSPIRATION GALLERY

THE JEWELS

By 1900, Alphonse Mucha had created several series portraying various subjects as pretty women. There was The Seasons (1896), The Arts (1898) and The Flowers (1898), all of which were done in four panels. The formula was a success- ful one for the artist and carried into 1900 with The Jewels, also known as Precious Stones. This series differed from the others in the respect that it personified each stone as a woman but split the image in half to include a flower of similar colouring to the gem. The studies of The Jewels depicted the women bare breasted, how- ever, Mucha's publisher requested that the artist cover them, which he did for the final images. ©1900 Alphonse Mucha

AMETHYST   Amethyst is shown as an alluring woman with passion flowers in her hair and iris at her feet. Mucha was partial to the iris and it was considered the symbolic flower of the Art Nouveau movement. He often used lush floral arrangements in his work but usually they were for bordering or framing a figure.

RUBY  Mucha depicted the gem as a woman of passion, staring boldly at the viewer in an almost challenging manner. The stone's colour is seen in the poinsettia at her feet, with the sharp points of it's petals accenting the general mood. Behind Ruby's head is a mosaic containing the pattern of the flower.

TOPAZ   The dreamy eyed Topaz sits casually in her chair, her thoughts far away from the viewer. At her feet is a money plant which Mucha associated with the gem. Every two years, the circular leaves of the plant turn a cloudy opaque, mirroring the feeling from the expression the woman wears.

EMERALD   Although the gem is often used to symbolize jealousy, Mucha considered it a gem representing mystery. The snake coiled in the woman's hair is startling and mirrored in small circles within the mosaic behind her. It is not meant as a frightening creature but rather one of an otherworldly nature.

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