Alphonse Mucha's Le Pater: Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us (Illuminated manuscript), 1899


Stone lithograph illuminated manuscript plate of Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us from Alphonse Mucha’s masterpiece of mysticism, Le Pater.

Printed by F. Champenois, published by Henri Piazza in Paris in an edition of 510, 1899. Sheet measures 11 3/4 x 15 5/8 inches.

“Le Pater is the perfect convergence of three important movements at the close of the 19th century: Art Nouveau, Mysticism, and Religion. Art Nouveau, through its respect and honor of Nature, promotes the idea of a spirit of energy coursing through all things–a tenet of Mysticism–that finds foundation in the traditions of Mucha's personal relationship with the imagery of Religion. Le Pater gave Mucha a venue to communicate his beliefs specifically through his unique approach to Art and the coded language he had been learning through his devotion to Masonic teachings. He combined the aesthetics of Medieval manuscripts with Moorish arabesques, Byzantine mandalas, and Classical Renaissance melodrama to create a body of work that guided viewers across the gap between the ancient and the modern.

The published plates for Le Pater were struck by Champenois on December 20, 1899 in an edition of 510 copies with the express agreement that they never be reprinted. As much of Mucha's work had been commercialized by Champenois due to numerous printings across multiple mediums, by this point he felt he had earned the right to insist on this deeply personal work existing only in the original release he had envisioned.

The title page, prayer plates, and illuminated manuscript pages were printed using stone lithography, a laborious and resource-intensive process. The Studio magazine mentioned seven stones as being excessive for creating a lithographic poster (Toulouse-Lautrec would commonly use as few as four); Mucha used as many as twelve stones to create the variations in shading and gilding in Le Pater. Adding another level of luxury and dimension, the cover and title page incorporate a letterpress technique, and the allegorical scenes were printed using a highly sophisticated and detailed engraving process which appears to have photomechanical origins.”

  • Quoted from Thomas Negovan’s Le Pater: Alphonse Mucha's Symbolist Masterpiece and the Lineage of Mysticism (2019)

This piece arrives accompanied by a dossier containing extensive academic information about the artist and this artwork.

Notable museum collections include: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (478)
Notable museum collections featuring works by Alphonse Mucha include: Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Louvre Museum Graphic Art Database, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mucha Museum, Prague, Czech Republic; and more.

To purchase our deluxe expanded hardcover book "Le Pater: Alphonse Mucha's Symbolist Masterpiece", please visit this page (new window):