Art Nouveau

One of my favorite movements (both art and architecturally speaking) is the Art Nouveau movement. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau or “new art” took a very naturalistic form. Maybe the reason I love it the most is because of the decoration and expression given. And the details… I love details! I could go on and on about why I love Art Nouveau. But it was a significant time for both Architects and Artists. This was the time when people started to really consider building with steel. Steel allowed for more structure and less space. But not only that, it also allowed the building to be seen as a piece of art. Showing off the structural beams but with an artistic flair. The tendrils of plants being used not only as ornaments but as a connection piece. The Tassel House built by Victor Horta in Brussels, Belgium is on my Bucket list. When I think of Art Nouveau architecture, my brain goes to an image of that house. From floor to ceiling, especially the staircases, are decorated by naturalistic elements. Most of it only accomplished through the use of steel. Horta may have been the very first, but he wasn’t the last. People like Hector Guimard, Antoni Gaudi and Charles Machintosh made it famous in other places around the world.

To me, Alphonse Mucha is the Art Nouveau master of the art world. His beautiful artwork has inspired me in many ways. Mucha has such a personal style that I can’t help but be enamored. The women he featured in his artwork had flowing tendrils of hair. He would then frame that beautiful lady with elaborate ornamentation. The frame was just as intricate and beautiful. Again, I love details. So looking at an illustration from Mucha, I am never bored. The reason Art Nouveau lost its luster was because people started to say that all that detail was too costly and not practical. To me, that is fine for the world of Architecture. It is not like steel is practical in every part of the world or realistic; however, I want art to keep me in a trance. When I see a blank canvas, I see the image lying underneath but it is not a simple one. There is layer upon layer that needs to come out. And all those details need to be appreciated by the person looking for them. To each person, they could notice different details. You could only see the female from a Mucha illustration who is trying to sell you that cigarette. Someone else might notice the smoke and how it zigzags across the page and into the border. Art Nouveau wasn’t meant to just make you go cross-eyed but to take you from one level to the next. Just like a building would…

And then there was modernism

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One response to “Art Nouveau

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