Two figures hide in the bushes as a cavalry or soldiers approaches in the background under a night sky

Slav Epic (20 works)

'The Slav Epic' cycle No.20: The Apotheosis of the Slavs, Slavs for Humanity (1926) (1926)

In the last painting in the series, Mucha sought to bring together all the themes addressed in the other 19 episodes of the Slav Epic and celebrate the independence of the Slav nations.

The painting is composed of four different parts characterised by four different colours. Each represents a successive period in Slav history: the blue in the bottom right of the painting represents the early years of Slav history; the red in the top right corner signifies the blood shed in the Hussite wars during the Middle Ages; the figures cast in shadow below represent the enemy and the repeated attacks inflicted on Slavic tribes; finally a yellow band in the centre lights up the Czech and Slovak soldiers returning from World War I, signaling the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the dawn of a new age for the Slavic people. They are saluted by young boys who wave green branches at them. The bare-chested figure at the centre of the composition is the embodiment of the new, strong and independent republic, guided and protected by a Christ figure behind.