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Oct 24, 2019 7:00 PM

Book Presentation: The Slav Epic of Alphonse Mucha + Q&A with Jan W. Drnek

True-to-life colors of the canvases together with unique printing technology helped produce a one-of-a-kind book. The large-format picture publication “Epopej” in a limited edition offers a view of the smallest details of Mucha’s work and presents the spectacular Slav Epic in a yet unseen form.

October 24, 7PM in the Cinema


Jan William Drnek created a digital copy of Mucha’s entire Slav Epic. Twenty canvases covering a surface of 650 m2 in total, over 20 000 photographs and approximately 30 TB of data. The result of the entire team’s work is not only the digital copy, but also the unique picture publication EPOPEJ. It was released in a limited edition of 200 pieces under the publisher Albatros. 

Printing Technique

The book is printed using a special technique. The printing grid is invisible not only to the naked eye, but even when using a magnifying glass, enlarging the image up to circa 6 times. The book depicts the Slav Epic canvases exactly as they may be viewed close-up in the gallery. This printing technology is almost never used in practice, mainly due to high costs and technological difficulty. “Although you cannot purchase the Slav Epic paintings, this book will allow you to see them better than you often could in a gallery,” says Jan William Drnek.

Size of the book

The size of the book is 62 cm by 42 cm. There is a reason for these exact dimensions, because the size of an open page copies the commonly given size of the largest canvases of the Slav Epic – 610 cm x 810 cm. The book has 336 pages of mostly pictures. In a way, each of the 200 copies is an original, complemented by a jewel designed by Jarmila Mucha Plocková, Alphonse Mucha’s granddaughter, three symbolic stones from places of the Slav Epic’s stories, and a special magnifying glass for viewing. The book is hand-bound and is placed with the other artefacts in a special hand-made case. The whole set weighs 23 kg. 

Author: Jan William Drnek

Large-format photographs of the work and Alphonse Mucha’s legacy

Creating a true-to-life digital copy is a task worthy of not only a rigorous professional, but also an enthusiast with an eye for the smallest detail. On top of that, Jan William Drnek also has much experience with large-format photography and high resolution. “Inspired by projects from abroad, I got a burning desire a few years ago to create a true-to-life reproduction of a majestic work of art. My thoughts and wishes were probably so strong that in a few days, they changed into a real offer to do something of this sort in the Czech environment. The theme wasn’t defined. The Slav Epic was my first idea and after arrangements with the publisher, I gained complete freedom in bringing the whole project to life,” the author says of the creation of the work.

He studied cybernetics and founded a successful company working in the field of sign making and since childhood, he has pursued his main hobby, which is photography. Lately he has been working mostly on complicated HDR techniques and panoramic large-format photography in high resolution. Apart from photography itself, Drnek passes on his experience in photography workshops and publishes specialist texts on color management. He is currently also a lecturer at the Prague College.

Alphonse Mucha

Through his work, Alphonse Mucha contributed in a major way to creating the image of the First Czechoslovak Republic. As a patriot with an interest in politics, he always considered his artwork to be a means of serving his country. However, his life story and work are also inherently connected with the United States and art patron Charles Richard Crane. The Slav Epic, a series of large-format oil paintings summarizing Slavic history, was painted by Mucha at the Zbiroh chateau over the course of eighteen years. The work probably couldn´t have been created without the support of Charles Richard Crane. The American entrepreneur and philanthropist met the painter in New York and decided to financially endorse Mucha’s project. He also agreed to all the completed twenty canvases being left to the city of Prague. As an act of gratitude, Mucha incorporated a portrait of the patron’s daughter, Josephine Crane Bradley, into the design of the first Czechoslovak one-hundred-koruna banknote. 


Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Oct 24, 2019 7:00 PM


Czech Centre

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