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#31 - Art_ndDesign VIII - Art Nouveau

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Article written by
Rosa Cortázar Meléndez

Writing of the week

After a while without publishing anything, today I'm finally going to tell you about one of my favourite movements, Art Nouveau, and I'll probably do more than one article about it, sorry not sorry.

At the end of the 19th century this movement arose, in a period called the Belle Époque, full of optimism and progress, and was known in each country by a different name (Modernismo in Spain, Liberty in Italy, Sezession in Austria, Modern Style in the United Kingdom, among others), and, as its name indicates, it was intended to be a new and modern art, related to the Arts and Crafts (of which I speak in the 18th publication), as it values craftsmanship and seeks to socialise art, bringing beauty to elements of everyday life (it was beautiful even to a toilet), so this hierarchy between Fine and Decorative Arts disappears.

At that time, a painting by Klimt has the same artistic importance as an advertising poster for a theatre play, giving a union of arts and design that had never been seen before, the best example being Alphonse Mucha with his Gismonda, or Tournée du Chat Noir, of the most famous posters in the History of Art and Design, made by Steinlen, who was a cat lover (it seems that cat fashion comes from long before memes and Youtube), for a Parisian cabaret; not to mention the importance of interior design, as seen with Victor Horta's famous stairs of the Hotel Tassel. But even art takes on a great relationship with fashion, as with the Tiffany lamps, the Gallé Vases or the Lalique Jewels.

And the most common characteristics of the movement, both in Fine Arts and in design, are

  • Inspiration in nature and organic rounded shapes.
  • Curved line and asymmetry.
  • Feminine figures in delicate or sensual attitudes, taking advantage of hair and clothes for decoration, even reaching eroticism.
  • Exotic patterns, inspired for example by Japanese prints.

Here is a rather curious video that relates it to hippies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vuqI2v2IRs

And a page with the European Art Nouveau route, which has many interesting links: http://coupdefouet.eu/en/index.php

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