When you think of Art Nouveau,
you probably picture the entrances to the Paris Metro
with delicate swirling leaves and elegant glass canopy.
Perhaps you envision Mucha’s posters
with dream-like women covered with flowers and jewelry.
But what about this:
a rock concert poster from 1967 featuring The Doors?
As surprising as it may seem,
the style – sometimes referred to as
“Art Nouveau on Acid” –
has profoundly marked the aesthetics of
the era of free love and flower power.
In today’s video, we’ll learn about
this pure product of the Belle Époque
and why it has never quite gone away.
文学 电影与戏剧 历史 建筑与设计 时尚 艺术
Art Nouveau was a highly decorative art movement
started by the new middle-class,
which established itself in cities throughout
Europe and the United States at the turn of the century.
It was a genuinely cosmopolitan project of modernity
that existed in all sorts of media, forms, scales, and geographies.
有各种各样的媒介 形式 尺寸 也出现在各种地方
Everything from architecture, interior design, decorative arts,
从建筑 室内设计 装饰艺术 时尚
fashion and graphic design was influenced by this new art.
It was literally new since the term Art Nouveau
“新”是字面意思 因为术语Art Nouveau
is a French word for “new art.”
So what was so new about it?
Well, the Art Nouveau movement was a very self-conscious
and deliberate attempt by a group of artists,
including Les Vingt, who wished to create a “total work of art”
that would unify arts and crafts into a single aesthetic universe.
Inspired by the teachings of French architect
British designer William Morris, and the Art Craft movement,
these revolutionary artists wanted to
tear down the hierarchy between fine arts
and the so-called lesser decorative arts
once and for all.
They were tired of the academic art
and historicism of 19th-century art
and dreamed of creating a new form
that would be more appropriate to the age of
electricity, cinema and automobiles.
Still, they didn’t like everything that the Industrial Revolution brought,
primarily growing mass production.
They saw it as dehumanizing and were concerned that
it would bring uniformity and unimaginativeness into the realm of art.
Therefore, Les Vingt and fellow artists
suggested a return to crafts and nature
to create objects that would blend
去创造 融合了美术 手工工艺
fine arts, artisanal craftsmanship, beauty and function.
Ironically, the Art Nouveau movement
would not have reached its global scale
had it not been for mass production.
This technology also gave artists access to modern materials,
such as iron and later concrete,
allowing them to realize their extraordinary designs
from buildings to decorative items.
The most recognizable feature of the Art Nouveau style
is undoubtedly the delicate use of curves and natural forms.
In nature, the artists found sinuous curves of plant life and insects
to inspire a lightness and sensuality of form
and a sense of movement in their work.
The style’s trademark whiplash curves and organic shapes
can be found everywhere,
from architecture and interior décor to illustrations.
The new art also found great inspiration from
medieval art, folk art, Rococo style, and Japanese art.
Japanese influences are especially noticeable
in graphic design, furniture, ceramics, and jewelry.
But perhaps the most intriguing feature of Art Nouveau
is its obsession with the representation of the female form.
If you watched the 2016 movie Klimt
starring John Malkovich as a famous artist,
you know what we mean.
Art Nouveau artists draw inspiration
from the natural curves and beauty of the female body
to create a distinctly sensual and feminine appeal in their works.
Let’s not forget that only the bourgeoisie had the means to
fill their homes with lavish Art Nouveau items.
Therefore, this luxurious and overtly feminine look
was deliberately designed and marketed
for the middle-class female consumers
with fashionable aspirations and significant incomes.
Female celebrities like Sarah Bernhardt and Loïe Fuller,
seen as personifications of the new, liberated woman,
were muses for many artists.
The daring new woman exemplified in the art of Klimt and Mucha
was depicted with idealized body features, dressed in elegant costumes
and endowed with a subtle erotic quality.
One could say they are reminiscent of Pre-Raphaelite representations of women
and they wouldn’t be wrong.
The most iconic representation of this new, femme fatale
is by all means Klimt’s Judith I.
The Old Testament heroine
is shown daringly nude and sensual,
holding the head of the Holofernes like a trophy.
She’s a powerful, self-conscious woman
who proudly claims control over her body and sexuality,
depriving men of their dominant role in society.
Art Nouveau had many names
and reached many places at an amazing speed
thanks to advances in printing and publishing.
France is a country the new art is most associated with.
There it was called by many names besides Art Nouveau.
那里 除了“新艺术派” 它还有众多的名字
The most amusing are Style Jules Verne, Style Mucha and Style Métro.
There are a few moments that marked the spread of the new art in France.
First, it was the appearance of an advertising poster
produced by Alphonse Mucha for the play Gismonda
starring Sarah Bernhard in Paris in 1895.
The poster was an overnight sensation.
Parisians fell in love with it so much
that they tore it down and carried it home to decorate the walls.
Later that year, an art dealer Siegfried Bing
同年晚些时候 艺术品经销商Siegfried Bing
opened a gallery in Paris to sell
art and design objects in the new style.
He named his gallery “Maison de l’Art Nouveau.”
By the time The 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris took place,
Art Nouveau was met with great acclaim.
The famous event served as a big spreader of the style.
Despite its great popularity,
Art Nouveau only lasted until the eve of the First World War.
The decline of social classes, which led to the Great War,
revealed that the style
was based on utopian ideals
and, as such, a short-lived phenomenon of the Belle Époque.
After giving way to the Art Déco style in the 1920s,
Art Nouveau was forgotten for many decades.
In the 1960s,
the style was the object of unexpected revival.
Its feminine designs with organic forms
inspired the graphics of the psychedelic movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
Despite its quiet death 100 years ago,
the style still has a fond place in many hearts
and continues to live on!
The current decade is witnessing
the re-emergence of Style Mucha and retro 1970s design
in fields as varied as street art, graphic art,
fashion, and interior design,
proving that the wealth and beauty of its forms
are worth rediscovering once again.
Hey muses, so what do you think about Art Nouveau?
Do you enjoy this style?
Let us know in the comments
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When you think of Art Nouveau,