Art Nouveau advertising poster. Gismonda, the four-act comedy by Victorien Sardou, was presented for the first time in the autumn of 1894 at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris. Sarah Bernhardt was both director and actor. This poster by Mucha it was produced to promote the new production which opened on January 4, 1895.
Mucha portrayed Bernardt as an exotic Byzantine noblewoman wearing a splendid dress and an orchid headdress with a palm branch in her hand. This costume was worn in the last act, the climax of the comedy, in which she joined the Easter procession. By placing her life-size figure on an arched platform, Mucha rendered the beauty and dignity of her personality on stage rather than representing her realistic characteristics or story.
Delighted with Mucha's design, Bernhardt continued to use this poster for his American tour in 1896.