The Science and the Art of Charles Crane Bradley
Mother: Mary Josephine Crane Bradley  
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Slavia
Slavia, 1908 (Portrait of Mary Josephine Crane Bradley)
by Alphonse Mucha

 

The woman in this now-famous painting is Slavia, the personification of the Slavic people of Eastern Europe, much in the way Uncle Sam is to the United States. Mucha’s model for the "typical Slav" is Mary Josephine Crane Bradley, daughter of his friend Charles R. Crane who eventually became his patron and the sponsor of the artist's monumental Slav Epic project. Charles R. Crane was interested in the causes of national self-determination at the turn of the 20th century. He arranged for Mucha to come to America, where the artist began the Slav epic series and used his patron's daughter as a model for this, and other "Slavia" images.

Here Slavia holds a ring in her hand which symbolizes unity . . . and there are two stylized peace doves on the arm-rests of the throne she is sitting on; she also has a sword in her lap, the message being that the Slav is peaceful by nature but will fight when attacked.

This painting hung in the Madison, WI home of Mary Josephine Crane Bradley and her husband Professor Harold Bradley in until he retired and they moved to California. The painting now hangs in the National Gallery in Prague.

 

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This page was created 07-15-06 by M.D. and most recently modified 07-30-06. For comments or corrections please email.