III. SLOVENSKI VSESOKOLSKI ZLET / V LJUBLJANI. 1914.
107 1/2x47 inches, 273x120 1/2 cm. J. Blasnika, Ljubljana. Condition B+: repaired tears and overpainting in margins; creases and restoration along vertical and horizontal folds. Three-sheets.
The Sokol movement was founded in 1862 (in what is now the Czech Republic) on the principle that physical fitness was an important part of a person's well-being. Sokol members would gather every four years at massive Slets (assemblies) to perform physical drills and gymnastics to which the public was always invited. Aside from exercise, the Sokol movement was also a hotbed for nationalist development; the movement spread across Moravia and Slovenia, where the first Sokol event was held in 1863, and eventually spread across the Austro-Hungarian empire to encompass events in the Croatian and Serbian territories as well. This poster promotes the third Slovenian Sokol Slet, in Ljubljana. As Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated barely two months before this exhibition was supposed to take place, and war declared in July 1914, it is unclear whether or not the event occurred. The wonderfully-colored and archly Art Nouveau image depicts a young athlete in his physical prime, standing in a field full of flowers, surrounded by falcons (which is the literal translation of Sokol), with the Ljubljana Castle in the distance. Note the impressive floral ornamentation and the two Sokol logos in the bottom corners of the design. Rare.