A pair of French 'Byzantine Heads" lithographs by Alphonse Mucha. The mastery evident in creating two archetypes of the female form against a decorative background confirms Mucha's artistic maturity. Both women, portrayed in profile, have their heads decorated with beautiful jewelry, the richness and oriental nature of which suggested the name Byzantine Heads for the series. The subtle differences in details between the paintings are worth noticing. This is the first appearance of the perfect form of Mucha's often-used motif, a circle framing each head interrupted by a strand of hair. With this device, it is as if Mucha's unreachable beauties have broken the magic border between themselves and their admirers and suggest the possibility that they might, perhaps, meet.? (Mucha/Art Nouveau, p. 192). In this version, Mucha added corners filigreed with curves to the original circular designs in order to create the standard rectangular shape of decorative panels. This is the rarest of all variants.Pictured in "Alphonse Mucha, The Complete Posters and Panels, by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill," page 167, cat. 40, variant 1.
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