Art nouveau Culture

Art nouveau Culture.

The term can also be used for the art of Eastern Orthodox states which were contemporary with the Byzantine Empire and were culturally influenced by it, without actually being part of it (the "Byzantine commonwealth"), such as Bulgaria, Serbia, or Rus; and also for the art of the Republic of Venice and Kingdom of Sicily, which had close ties to the Byzantine Empire despite being in other respects part of western European culture. Art produced by Eastern Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire is often called "post-Byzantine." Certain artistic traditions that originated in the Byzantine Empire, particularly in regard to icon painting and church architecture, are maintained in Greece, Bulgaria, Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries to the present day.Contents [hide]

Just as the Byzantine empire represented the political continuation of the Roman Empire, Byzantine art developed out of the art of the Roman empire, which was itself profoundly influenced by ancient Greek art. Byzantine art never lost sight of this classical heritage. The Byzantine capital, Constantinople, was adorned with a large number of classical sculptures[1], although they eventually became an object of some puzzlement for its inhabitants.[2] And indeed, the art produced during the Byzantine empire, although marked by periodic revivals of a classical aesthetic, was above all marked by the development of a new aesthetic.

The most salient feature of this new aesthetic was its “abstract,” or anti-naturalistic character. If classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that mimicked reality as closely as possible, Byzantine art seems to have abandoned this attempt in favor of a more symbolic approach.


Miniatures of the 6th-century Rabula Gospel display the more abstract and symbolic nature of Byzantine art.


The nature and causes of this transformation, which largely took place during late antiquity, have been a subject of scholarly debate for centuries.[3] Giorgio Vasari attributed it to a decline in artistic skills and standards, which had in turn been revived by his contemporaries in the Italian Renaissance. Although this point of view has been occasionally revived, most notably by Bernard Berenson,[4] modern scholars tend to take a more positive view of the Byzantine aesthetic. Alois Riegl and Josef Strzygowski, writing in the early 20th century, were above all responsible for the revaluation of late antique art.[5] Riegl saw it as a natural development of pre-existing tendencies in Roman art, whereas Strzygowski viewed it as a product of “oriental” influences. Notable recent contributions to the debate include those of Ernst Kitzinger,[6] who traced a “dialectic” between “abstract" and "Hellenistic” tendencies in late antiquity, and John Onians,[7] who saw an “increase in visual response” in late antiquity, through which a viewer “could look at something which was in twentieth-century terms purely abstract and find it representational.”


In any case, the debate is purely modern: it is clear that most Byzantine viewers did not consider their art to be abstract or unnaturalistic. As Cyril Mango has observed, “our own appreciation of Byzantine art stems largely from the fact that this art is not naturalistic; yet the Byzantines themselves, judging by their extant statements, regarded it as being highly naturalistic and as being directly in the tradition of Phidias, Apelles, and Zeuxis.”[8]


Frescoes in Nerezi near Skopje (1164), with their unique blend of high tragedy, gentle humanity, and homespun realism, anticipate the approach of Giotto and other proto-Renaissance Italian artists.


The subject matter of monumental Byzantine art was primarily religious and imperial: the two themes are often combined, as in the portraits of later Byzantine emperors that decorated the interior of the sixth-century church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. These preoccupations are partly a result of the pious and autocratic nature of Byzantine society, and partly a result of its economic structure: the wealth of the empire was concentrated in the hands of the church and the imperial office, which therefore had the greatest opportunity to undertake monumental artistic commissions.


Religious art was not, however, limited to the monumental decoration of church interiors. One of the most important genres of Byzantine art was the icon, an image of Christ, the Virgin, or a saint, used as an object of veneration in Orthodox churches and private homes alike. Icons were more religious than aesthetic in nature: especially after the end of iconoclasm, they were understood to manifest the unique “presence” of the figure depicted by means of a “likeness” to that figure maintained through carefully maintained canons of representation.[9]


The illumination of manuscripts was another major genre of Byzantine art. The most commonly illustrated texts were religious, both scripture itself (particularly the Psalms) and devotional or theological texts (such as the Ladder of Divine Ascent of John Climacus or the homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus). Secular texts were also illuminated: important examples include the Alexander Romance and the history of John Skylitzes.


“Minor” or “luxury” arts (i.e. ivories, steatites, enamels, jewelry, metalwork, ceramics, etc.) were produced in large number throughout the Byzantine era. Many of these were also religious in nature, although a large number of objects with secular or non-representational decoration were produced: for example, ivories representing themes from classical mythology, and ceramics decorated with figures that may derive from the Akritic epics.


Early Byzantine art


Leaf from an ivory diptych of Areobindus, consul in Constantinople, 506. Areobindus is shown above, presiding over the games in the Hippodrome, depicted beneath.


Two events were of fundamental importance to the development of a unique, Byzantine art. First, the Edict of Milan, issued by the emperors Constantine I and Licinius in 313, allowed for public Christian worship, and led to the development of a monumental, Christian art. Second, the dedication of Constantinople in 330 created a great new artistic centre for the eastern half of the Empire, and a specifically Christian one. Other artistic traditions flourished in rival cities such as Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome, but it was not until all of these cities had fallen - the first two to the Arabs and Rome to the Goths - that Constantinople established its supremacy.


Constantine devoted great effort to the decoration of Constantinople, adorning its public spaces with ancient statuary,[10] and building a forum dominated by a porphyry column that carried a statue of himself.[11] Major Constantinopolitan churches built under Constantine and his son, Constantius II, included the original foundations of Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Apostles.[12]


The next major building campaign in Constantinople was sponsored by Theodosius I. The most important surviving monument of this period is the obelisk and base erected by Theodosius in the Hippodrome.[13] The earliest surviving church in Constantinople is the Basilica of St. John at the Stoudios Monastery, built in the fifth century.[14]


Due to subsequent rebuilding and destruction, relatively few Constantinopolitan monuments of this early period survive. However, the development of monumental early Byzantine art can still be traced through surviving structures in other cities. For example, important early churches are found in Rome (including Santa Sabina and Santa Maria Maggiore),[15] and in Thessaloniki (the Rotunda and the Acheiropoietos Basilica).[16]


A number of important illuminated manuscripts, both sacred and secular, survive from this early period. Classical authors, including Virgil (represented by the Vergilius Vaticanus[17] and the Vergilius Romanus[18]) and Homer (represented by the Ambrosian Iliad), were illustrated with narrative paintings. Illuminated biblical manuscripts of this period survive only in fragments: for example, the Quedlinburg Itala fragment is a small portion of what must have been a lavishly illustrated copy of 1 Kings.[19]


Early Byzantine art was also marked by the cultivation of ivory carving.[20] Ivory diptychs, often elaborately decorated, were issued as gifts by newly appointed consuls.[21] Silver plates were another important form of luxury art:[22] among the most lavish from this period is the Missorium of Theodosius I.[23] Sarcophagi continued to be produced in great numbers.

The Age of Justinian


Significant changes in Byzantine art coincided with the reign of Justinian I (527-565). Justinian devoted much of his reign to reconquering Italy, North Africa and Spain. He also laid the foundations of the imperial absolutism of the Byzantine state, codifying its laws and imposing his religious views on all his subjects by law.[24]



Art Nouveau, (French for 'new art') is an international style of art, architecture and design that peaked in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century (1880s - 1910s) and is characterized by highly-stylized, flowing, curvilinear designs often incorporating floral and other plant-inspired motifs. More localized terms for the phenomenon of self-consciously radical, somewhat mannered reformist chic that formed a prelude to 20th-century modernism include Jugendstil in Germany and many other countries or skønvirke in Denmark, named after the avant-garde periodical Jugend ('Youth'), Młoda Polska ('Young Poland' style) in Poland, and Sezessionsstil ('Secessionism') in Vienna, where forward-looking artists and designers seceded from the mainstream salon exhibitions to exhibit on their own work in more congenial surroundings. Further centers were in Belgium (especially Brussels) and Scotland (Glasgow).


In Russia, the movement revolved around the art magazine Mir iskusstva ('World of Art'), which spawned the revolutionary Ballets Russes. In Italy, Stile Liberty was named for the London shop, Liberty & Co, which distributed modern design emanating from the Arts and Crafts movement, a sign both of the Art Nouveau's commercial aspect and the 'imported' character that it always retained in Italy.

In Spain, the movement was centred in Barcelona and was known as modernisme, with the architect Antoni Gaudí as the most noteworthy practitioner. Art Nouveau was also a force in Eastern Europe, with the influence of Alfons Mucha in Prague and Moravia (part of the modern Czech Republic) and Latvian Romanticism (Riga, the capital of Latvia, is home to over 800 Art Nouveau buildings).


The entrances to the Paris Métro designed by Hector Guimard in 1899 and 1900 are famous examples of Art Nouveau. Frontispiece by Fernand Khnopff for Istar (1888), illustrating the erotic nature of Art Nouveau.


The erotic nature of Art Nouveau


The erotic nature of many Art Nouveau works is one of the most prevalent features of the style. Nowhere is it more abundantly seen than in small-scale sculptural or decorative arts objects such as ink-wells, carafes, centrepieces, candelabra, lamps and figurines -- the kind of objects that were disseminated widely and could be brought into any middle-class household. The eroticism of these objects is made all the more complex by their utility and domesticity. They often demand physical engagement: furniture or carafes where the handles are naked women that must be grasped; vessels that metamorphosize into women inviting touch; lamps that provocatively pose women in suggestive positions. These erotically charged objects, unlike most sculpture, demand contact. --by Ghislaine Wood

Noted Art Nouveau practitioners



Émile André (1871―1933)

Gavriil Baranovsky (1860―1920)

Peter Behrens (1868―1940)

Georges Biet (1868―1955)

Paul Charbonnier (1865―1953)

Gino Coppedè (1866―1927)

Raimondo Tommaso D'Aronco (1857―1932)

Mikhail Eisenstein (1867 - 1921)

August Endel (1871―1925)

Max Fabiani (1865―1962)

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926)

Vladislav Gorodetsky (1863-1930))

Hector Guimard (1867-1942)

Gustaw Landau Gutenteger (1862-1924)

Paul Hankar (1859-1901)

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Victor Horta (1861-1947)

Dawid Lande (1868-1928)

Ödön Lechner (1845-1914)

Lev Kekushev (1862-1919)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)

Rafael Masó (1880-1935)

Marian Peretiatkovich (1872-1916)

Jože Plečnik (1872-1957)

Fyodor Schechtel (1859-1926)

Gustave Strauven (1878-1919)

Louis Sullivan (1856-1924)

László Székely (1877-1934)

Eugène Vallin (1856-1922)

Henry Van de Velde (1863-1957)

Otto Wagner (1841-1918)

William Walcot (1874-1943)

Lucien Weissenburger (1860-1929)


Art, drawing, and graphics

Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898)

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876-1942)

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

Jules Cheret (1836-1932)

Gaston Gerard (1878-1969)

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

E. M. Lilien (1874-1925)

Jozef Mehoffer (1869-1946)

Alfons Mucha (1860-1939)

Ze'ev Raban (1890-1970)

Valentin Serov (1865-1911)

Konstantin Somov (1869-1939)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Janos Vaszary (1867-1939)

Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)

Stanisław Wyspiański (1869-1907)




Mural and Mosaic designers

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926)

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Alfons Mucha (1860-1939)

Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)


Furniture designers

Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940)

Eugène Gaillard (1862-1933)

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)

Louis Majorelle (1859-1926)

Jože Plečnik (1872-1957)

Henry van de Velde (1863-1957)


Glassware and Stained Glass designers

Auguste Daum (1853-1909)

Antonin Daum (1864-1930)

Émile Gallé (1846-1904)

Jacques Gruber (1870-1936)

René Lalique (1860-1945)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933)

Stanisław Wyspiański (1869-1907)

Sanchi Ogawa (1867-1928)


Other decorative artists

Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942)

Will H. Bradley (1868-1962)

Jules Brunfaut (1852-1942)

Jan Bukowski (1873-1938)

Auguste Delaherche (1857-1940)

Georges de Feure (1868-1928)

Archibald Knox (1864-1933)

Hermann Obrist (1863-1927)

Jane Spensor (1845-1922)

Artus Van Briggle (1869-1904)

Philippe Wolfers (1858-1929)


 The Swing (ca. 1767) by Fragonard

One of the iconic images of French erotica. Notice the peeping tom lying at her feet trying to glare upskirt




Oddsei - What are the odds of anything.