6th Sokol Festival (1912)

Under the Hapsburg rule, the Czechs were forbidden to organise politically. As a result, patriotic sentiments had to be disguised and expressed through seemingly safe outlets. The gymnastic association Sokol ('falcon' in Czech) was ostensibly provided athletics training for young people and organised national sporting competitions. Its true purpose, however, was political and worked tirelessly to arouse the nationalist spirit and withstand germanisation. By producing posters for the organisation, Mucha clearly allied himself with the group's patriotic cause.

In this poster, Mucha combines realistic and symbolic elements. The young girl in a red cloak, a Sokol colour, is a personification of Prague; her crown recalls the city walls, her staff bears the emblem of Prague and she holds garlands made from branches of the national tree, the linden tree. In the background a shadowy young woman, representing the spirit of the early Slavs, carries a falcon and a spiked sun circle symbolising hope for the future.