Life/work: Aubrey Beardsley

I’ve talked (incessantly, I know) about my interest in the Victorian era—I just love subversive modes of expression that stand in for frank discussion in that stridently conservative period. And I’m a sucker for a good and weepy three-decker novel. And I’ve talked (perhaps a bit less) about my World War I readings—from Anne Perry’s series, to an autobiography of a woman caught in Europe at the outbreak, to multiple volumes of history on life in the trenches and the world at war, to my complete obsession with Downton Abbey.

I suppose it was inevitable that I’d become interested in the period that bridged the gap, especially after my December read of The Children’s Book, which I highly (highly, highly, highly) recommend.

So in late December, completely caught up in the interweaving lives and artistic modes in Byatt’s book, I bought the Art Nouveau volume of the Visual Encyclopedia of Art series.

Such a beautiful book. There are sections devoted to architecture, and pottery, and jewelry, but my favorite (right now, anyway) are the prints. And so I’m a little obsessed with Aubrey Beardsley’s work right now.

Aubrey Beardsley was born in Brighton in 1872 and died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 in 1898. He was associated (and still is) with the Aesthetic Movement (which I talked about in this post back in October); the basic idea of the Aesthetic Movement is that life itself is the greatest artistic production. Oscar Wilde is the most famous individual connected to the Aesthetic Movement—Aubrey Beardsley was a friend of Wilde’s, and provided illustrations to his play Salome. Continue reading “Life/work: Aubrey Beardsley”