Alphonse Mucha was born on 24 July 1860 in the small town of Ivančice in southern Moravia, then a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, (currently a region of the Czech Republic). His family had a very modest income; his father was a court usher, and his mother was a miller's daughter. He showed an early talent for drawing; a local merchant impressed by his work provided him with paper for free, though it was considered a luxury. In 1871, Mucha became a chorister at the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, Brno, where he received his secondary school education. He became devoutly religious, and wrote later, "For me, the notions of painting, going to church, and music are so closely knit that often I cannot decide whether I like church for its music, or music for its place in the mystery which it accompanies. " He grew up in an environment of intense Czech nationalism in all the arts, from music to literature and painting. He designed flyers and posters for patriotic rallies.