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Slavic Epic Stolen

[To be filed from South Moravia, someday in 2010] -- The residents of the South-Moravian town Moravský Krumlov woke up to find Alfons Mucha's Slavic Epic gone this morning. The Epic is a series of twenty canvases that each exceed four meters per side and was last worked on in 1928 though never completely finished. It depictes scenes from Slavic mythology and great moments in Slavic cultural history. The paintings were one of the few tourist draws for the small town. Mucha (1860-1939) was born in a neighboring village, but Krumlov has been the home of the epic throughout local memory. It is suspected that a ring of Prague bigwigs and power-brokers airlifted the canvases from the town's unguarded chateau sometime in the morning's wee hours. No sounds were heard, however, and authorities are puzzled as to how the twenty gargantuan canvases could have been smuggled away unbeknownst to local residents.

In one of the most bizarre aspects of this scandal, one small picture (seen at right), barely noticeable on the gallery's mammoth walls, was substituted. Art experts believe it to be a piece pilfered from the Hotel Hubertus in Valtice, last seen sometime in October 2005. The significance of the piece - somewhat collage-like in nature though reminiscent of an oil painting, it consists of a boat, sunlight, a palm tree, and a cottage - is unknown.

If the suspicions of Krumlov's mayor are correct, then this may be the latest coup by the Prague-based EnD Group (Engulf and Devour), which for some time has been attempting to move the paintings to Prague permanently. Krumlov police attempted to obtain a search warrant for a large, matchbox-like warehouse in the Stromovka Park, but were unsuccessful after an injunction from the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic blocked their efforts. A Mr. Kecal, spokesperson for the EnD group, denies any involvement.

Geraldine Mucha, the painter's daughter-in-law and a trustee of the Mucha Foundation, remarked: "There are two Krumlovs in this country: one is Český Krumlov and that is a little gem. And, it has had millions of foreign money poured into it and it is a gem. Now, this is Moravský Krumlov. Well, it's a nice village, but that's all it has: the Slav Epic." Now it has nothing. Off the record she indicated that she was inclined to believe the conspiracy theory but also offered the thought that perhaps a Japanese investor had organized the caper, spurred on by a girlfriend who was among the droves of Japanese art history students, all Mucha specialists, who toured Moravský Krumlov every summer. Ms. Mucha also suggested that the Prague group "want[s] to use those canvases as a lure for foreign tourists into a rather dead end of Prague [Stromovka Park]."

More details are reported by Czech Radio.

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Blogger Karla said . . .

Aw, come on, you didn't really think the museum guards in Moravský Krumlov wouldn't notice when you substituted the runty Valtice hotel painting for all those huge Mucha paintings, did you?

Is your apartment ceiling high enough to accommodate display of the purloined panels?    

7:29 PM, March 22, 2006

Anonymous Jesse said . . .

What guards? They can hardly afford heat in the current chateau, let alone guards. I hate to agree with the trustee's patronizing assessment of Moravsky Krumlov, but she has a point. It is out of the way, though I'm not sure the move to the proposed Prague building will be an improvement.

Fortunately the high ceilings in my apartment exist in imagination only, so I don't suppose the Epic will end up at my place.    

11:04 PM, March 22, 2006

Blogger Karla said . . .

Are you sure you aren't hiding those panels behind the wardrobe curtain or something? It's ok, I won't tell Interpol about the Valtice painting.    

10:00 PM, March 23, 2006

Blogger Bob said . . .

Why panic the public with this nonsense? The Slav Epic was, with the donor's permission and Mucha's own desires,always supposed to be exhibited in Prague. The City of Prague has not fulfilled their 1928 promise to "build an appropriate place" where the Epic was to be permanently enshrined and shown. So, who is stealing from whom?    

2:35 AM, February 18, 2010

Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

To be clear: this post is a parody, meant primarily for humour and light enjoyments, and is not an actual news story.    

5:56 PM, June 06, 2011

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