So, the meaning behind my tattoo is a bit complex. Someone at the Mucha foundation was nice enough to send me an email explaining what they supposed it might mean, as Mucha never did leave any notes behind. Although there are two figures, my tattoo artist actually wondered if perhaps they are supposed to be the same woman, one in death, the other reincarnated! I got this one because I wanted to get something that is not like all the other Mucha tats out there (and there are many!). Plus I’ve been mulling it over for about 2 years now. I think I’ve succeeded in getting something different. I just hope the finished product will do it justice. I am still unsure what to do about colour, though I’m leaning towards black and grey only, or perhaps just a tiny bit of colour highlighting.
“The cover was designed in 1896 for the special Christmas number of the magazine. As in many examples of Mucha’s designs for magazine covers, this composition is rich with symbolism. Although we don’t have Mucha’s own writing about the interpretation of this particular design, we can read the idea behind this cover. as follows.
As indicated by the title of this number ‘1896-Noel-1897’, the magazine marks the turn of the year - the passing of the old year and its renewal. The pale figure of the dead (or dying) woman in the foreground seems to symbolise the passing year, while the winged figure is wrapping her body in a shroud. The silhouetted flower held by the passing woman is thistle, which often symbolises Sin and earthly suffering. However, the hope for renewal and redemption is indicated by the image of the silhouetted church building in the background (considering the occasion, probably the Church of Nativity) as well as the band of decorative motifs on the left, consisting of three pairs of hands and snowed branches of Christmas tree. In the Christian context, pairs of hands often allude to spiritual power or the conduits to convey spiritual energy, while Christmas trees represent vitality or life force. Whist these motifs were inspired by the Christian tradition, the idea of ‘meahnical’ hands with cogs is totally unique. By this, probably Mucha expressed the power of the mysterious God who governs time and the harmonious working of Nature.”