Prague, June 6 (CTK) – A total of 661,901 people saw the Slav Epic series of paintings by Czech Art-Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) at the exhibition in Tokyo that ended on Monday, Prague councillor Jan Wolf (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told CTK today.

Te daily attendance did not drop under 12,000 during the last six days of the exhibition in Tokyo held from March 8 to June 5, 2017.

All paintings are to return home by June 21. It is not sure whether they will also be displayed in other cities abroad.

“The high number of people who have seen the Slav Epic in Japan has exceeded the most optimistic expectations that estimated the attendance at some 300,000 people,” Wolf said.

On the last day, 13,682 people saw it, while the record high daily attendance of 16,995 people was on June 2.

The display of the paintings in the National Gallery in Prague last year was seen by 119,675 people with the daily average of 385 people. However, the exhibition had the character of a permanent display and it was opened for almost five years.

Experts will examine the condition of the paintings after their return to Prague. On the basis of the results, the Prague authority will decide whether the cycle will be loaned to some other cities. South Korea and China have expressed interest in the paintings in the past.

“According to reports from Japan, the Slav Epic is in a great shape without any changes. After its return, experts will scrutinise the paintings and compare them with their state before the departure. On the basis of their findings, we will decide what to do next,” Wolf said.

Since 2010, the Slav Epic has been listed among cultural heritage.

Some experts criticised the transport of the paintings to Japan. They warned that the artifacts could be damaged. The Slav Epic was to be sent to China as well originally, but it will not be displayed there.

Mucha was working on the whole cycle of 20 large paintings from Slav mythology and history from 1910 for 18 years.

He bequeathed the paintings to Prague on condition that the city build an independent exhibition pavilion for them. It has not happened yet. However, the Prague City Hall declares that it will build suitable premises to display the paintings permanently.

hol/dr/rtj