Monday, March 2, 2009

Chapter 11: Art Nouveau

Chapter 11: Art Nouveau

This very long chapter talked about the art nouveau movement that took place in the last decade of the 19th century. It began with the Asian influence on Europe and North America, particularly the Asians’ approach to space, color, drawing conventions and subject matter. Ukiyo-e blended realistic narratives with decorative arts; wood prints during this movement were very popular (in the 1600s). From 1890 until about 1910, Japonsime hit Westerners hard as they scrambled for all things Japanese, jump-starting the art nouveau movement. Art nouveau affected all the design arts; organic plantlike lines were the visual characteristic of the time. The movement unified decoration, structure and intended function, and eventually became the first phase of the modern movement.

What I was most inspired by in this chapter were Aubrey Beardsley’s works in English art nouveau, which was more concerned with graphic design and illustration. His illustrations for Morte d’Arthur had dominant black forms (“black spots”) and incredible texture and use of space. I always think that I cannot draw, but his illustrations are inspiring to me because when I do draw, I like to make very linear and line-based drawings with interesting textures to them, so I found his work fun to look at.

The question I have is, why did the art nouveau movement last such a short amount of time when other design influences seem to have lasted so much longer up until this point?

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