This rather dyspeptic looking young woman, dressed in all her Art Nouveau finery, is the princess/prophetess Libuše, mythic mother of the Czech nation and founder of Prague.

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that Czech nationalism really got going. One of its prime movers was Bedřich Smetana; his opera Libuše and the six tone poems that comprise Má vlast (My country) both culminate in joyous affirmation and celebration of Czech nationhood.

Here is that final scene of the opera with the princess predicting a glorious future for the Czech people (you may recognise the Hussite hymn, Ktož jsú boží bojovníci (You who are God’s Warriors) since it also features large in Tábor and Blaník the last two of Má vlast‘s tone poems):

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