As an art nouveau, a period of art history is defined, which is mainly around the turn of the century from the 19th to the 20th century and thus can be dated to approximately the years between 1896 and 1920. The Art Nouveau style is under the influence of the Fin de Siècle, an artistic and cultural movement that has been reflected in various styles such as symbolism, art nouveau, impressionism and aestheticism, as well as similar avangardist currents. Further names for the epoch are Art nouveau, Reformstil or Secession style, Modern Style in English, Floreale in Italian, Liberty in Russia, Modern in Modern Catalan. The notion of certain terms in architecture and design is very much in the foreground, with the epoch also being felt in literature and art. The essence is the attempt to depict nature in art through vigorous and floral ornaments.
The term was derived from the magazine Jugend, an art and literature magazine, which appeared in Munich between 1896 and 1940 and was founded by Georg Hirth and Fritz von Ostini. The fact that the term Jugendstil was derived from the title of the magazine shows that this was important for the stylistic development of early modernity in Germany.
The term is later used mainly in the Netherlands, Latvia, the Nordic countries – especially Scandinavia – and in the German-speaking world. For the first time, the word was used in 1897 at the Saxon-Thuringian industrial and trade exhibition, and in particular the Nietzschmann-Wommer exhibition pavilion, which deviated from current developments in architecture and was characterized by a lively design. It was designed by Paul Möbius.
These first impulses are also decisive for the whole epoch. Essential features of the art nouveau are, therefore, elements of a vigorous nature which try to carry nature and the natural into the cities and the modern world. In the foreground are curved forms, tendrils, waves, plant and symbol motifs, which stand opposite to the rapid industrialization.Epochen der Literatur als Zeitstrahl
Overview: Characteristics of Art Nouveau
The epoch was mainly influenced by art, architecture and general elements of design. Rather less specific are the manifestations of the art movement on the literature, whereby it was mostly about bringing together painting and writing. Nevertheless, there are also individual authors and works in the literature which show the essential features of the movement. The following overview thus concentrates on the characteristics of art and shows only the essential characteristics in the literature.
Overview: Characteristics of the Art Nouveau at a glance
Art Nouveau refers to an art movement that focused on Europe. What is important is that there was no uniform program within this movement. The followers of the movement were, at best, rejected by the fact that they were all opposed to historicism, ie, the imitation of traditionally handed down form models, and were opposed to the tendency for industrialized ornamentation to produce overloaded, machine-made and hardly individual mass goods.
The art form was mainly directed against old-fashioned and well-known art, expressing the desire of the artists to find something new and thus their own style. In this case, the focus was not only on individual approaches, but also on artistic arrangements, which created whole buildings and complexes in a completely uniform style, which was also transferred to the interior decoration.
The essential feature of ebendie art is a line, or even a line, which is based on plant as well as geometrical forms, with a tendency to the ornamental. The ornament is a repeating, often abstract or even abstracted pattern. Furthermore, curved lines or even sweeping elements in general and the abandonment of symmetrical sequences – the task of mirror-like equality – are characteristic of Jugendstil.
These forms guided the representatives of the movement above all from nature, which thus became the central element of the stylistic direction and often imitated. This is also reflected in the fact that animals were often used as symbols in the arts, and in most cases they represented diverse qualities or virtues (cf. fables).
The combination of curved forms and nature is thus often concentrated in things which naturally embody this nature, such as waves and moving water in general, plants, waving hair, tendrils, and, of course, the growth of plants, these forms partly abstracting or suggesting were.
Another essential feature of the movement was the demand and the pursuit of functionality. This means that their purpose and function should be reflected, above all, in the external appearance of buildings. As a result, buildings did not have to follow a symmetrical structure, as was previously customary, but could be conceived on the basis of their function – starting from their ground plan.
Woman is a common motif in art. Very often she is depicted with delicate complexion, flowers and growing plants in the hair and with flowing, luminous and color-intensive robes. In addition, the woman in the Jugendstil is often presented seductively, although this of course does not apply to every work of the time.
It is also essential that the artists of the movement strive for a unity of craftsmanship and art, whereby the artistic representation should be experienceable for everyone: the aesthetic of art should be found in everyday life, which is why even simple objects of daily use are functional, but should also be artistic, as a result of which the art of youth can also be found in furniture, objects as well as jewelery and glassware and thus decisively influenced the interior design.
This approach to nature, mysticism and beauty can not only be found in the images and structures of the time, but is also found in other forms of artistic representation, which play with ebendous motifs or popular motifs (swans, lilies, fountains, ). Often, however, there was also a link between literature and art, by arranging both media side by side, which was realized in various (literary) journals. As examples the youth from Munich, the Berlin magazine Pan as well as the island from Leipzig can be called. Often only the cover was artistically designed.
Nevertheless, partial attempts were also made in the literature to take up the external characteristics of the art direction. For example, sometimes lyrical texts were arranged ornamental, or – externally – like a piece of jewelery in which the individual words were placed artistically. Sometimes, however, the ornamentals were also realized by different stylistic means. Thus, in ornaments, repetitive patterns are usually found, which is why the use of parallelism and repetition in the lyrical works of the time is quite typical and can be found in many poets.
Consequently, the artistic movement had an effect on lyric poetry. Mythological, legendary and fairy-tale elements as well as symbolic, ceremonial, unusual or motifs depicting nature, such as flowers and animals, but also very sweeping movements and Dionysian (~ frenzy), are essential. The capture of fabulous, legendary and even mythological content and themes sometimes reminds one of the literary epoch of Romanticism.
Art Nouveau in architecture
In architecture, it was mainly curved lines, ornamental patterns, and the idea that the function of a building should be reflected in its design, although it was not necessary for the symmetry, ie the mirror image, to determine a structure. In addition, the facade should already show how a building looked from the inside.
In the art nouveau, the imprinting materials were iron, steel and glass, whereby sandstone was also used to create buildings. The advantage of this was that he was able to work well on the outside and still proved to be resistant, which gave a great space for the ornamental and sweeping outward ornaments of the time.
The above example building is the exhibition house of the Viennese Secession, the Austrian expression of Jugendstil, and is regarded as the most important building of the Austrian Secession style. On the building, individual elements of the art direction become clear, although not all are realized in the building. But enough to recognize obvious features.
Thus, the curved lines, which are realized by a gold-colored dome, which itself consists of a floral ornament: a leaf of gilded bronze. A mythological element is found in the three Gorgons above the mighty entrance door, which itself is littered with floral decorations. To the left of the entrance door is a choice (Ver Sacrum) which can be translated with the Holy Spring, thus illustrating the hope of a new artistic blossom. (Tip: Information on the Gorgons can be found at fabelwesen.net)
The building is located in the center of Thessaloniki, one of the largest cities in Greece. It does not elucidate any ornamental patterns, but above all it takes up the vigorous design that characterizes the epoch. In addition, the building fulfills the requirement that the artistic work should be accessible to everyone, since it is an ordinary residential house. Furthermore, the function as well as the division of the structure can be seen on the basis of the external design, whereby the whole – as the style is seen throughout – can be evaluated as a total work of art. This endeavor has also had an effect on the interiors in the Jugendstil.
Interior furnishings and furniture
But even if such buildings were seen as a whole, only a few buildings inside and outside were created in the era. In this case, it is mainly representative villas and residential buildings that placed the exterior façade as well as the interior design under the banner of art nouveau, bringing life and art into harmony.
In the design of the interior, or in relation to the furniture, everything revolves around floral ornaments and curved lines, which have always been inspired by nature. Thus, the natural forms of plants are imitated and some animals are incorporated into the furniture. The furniture is mainly made of dark hardwood, which is very heavy and massive, but refined by fine wood carvings, which were based on sweeping repetitions.
Regarding the interior design, predominantly pastel tones, which appear covered, dominate, with curved elements of iron representing ornamental and curved structures and picking up at various points. It is also typical that the natural wood was lacquered and thus shone, making it appear highly polished and giving the dark and dull colors a noble and high-quality finish. Hard edges were rare here.
Art Nouveau in painting
In painting, the same motifs are taken up: in principle, a line that is very curved, colorful, luminous colors and motifs from nature (-shapes) are shown.
Above all in painting, the strong connection between the epoch and nature is characterized. Here too we can refer to the progress of industrialization. People moved to the cities to get work and the social image changed. The artists and, above all, the painters of those days attempted to realize a harmony between nature and the environment with this reflection on nature, so as to artistically process and show the totality of life.
The above three sample paintings are works by the painter Gustav Klimt. They take an example of the essential motifs of the epoch and, on the one hand, show above all natural representations, but waves and sweeping lines are observed to the same extent, either in the natural growth of the plants / trees, or even the suggested wave movements of the water.
Another motif of painting, which is often found in art nouveau painting, is the (seductive) woman, who stands for the youth, often colorful and colorful, combined with ornamental, floral and sweeping elements. Frequently, the vigorous basic line of art nouveau is modeled by the vestments or the natural growth of the hair.
The above pictures are works by Aubrey Beardsley, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Alfons Mucha (from left to right), all of whom show women in connection with nature and pick up floral elements. In the left-hand image of Beardsley and on the right, near Mucha, another feature of the painting of this time is visible: mostly works were created that did not produce spatial illusion, but could rather be interpreted as two-dimensional surface art.
Painter of Art Nouveau
Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa
Josef Maria Auchentaller
William H. Bradley
Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry
Hans Rudolph Hentschel
Julius de Praetere
Karl Schmoll from Eisenwerth
Edith Soterius of Saxonyheim
Franz of Stuck
Josef Rudolf Witzel
Mikhail Alexandrovich Wrubel
Art Nouveau in the literature
The artistic movement can be seen mainly in architecture and fine arts. Nevertheless, the style also influenced works of literature and influenced individual works by the various representatives. Here, either from the outward design of a text from a closeness to movement, or through the grasping of the most important motifs, can be made clear. Of course, both features can be present simultaneously.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that the style of art produced a few literary works, and that there was no major, comprehensive work in these years, which had a direct effect on the motifs of art nouveau. Rather, the epoch influenced lyricism and can hardly be felt in the other genres. Nevertheless, some poets, such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Dehmel, find clear features of the current.
In the first place, it was a question of imitating the beauty of life in literature and of esteeming young life as well as of an individual who strove for beauty and realized himself in the enjoyment of ebony beauty. The totality of life, which was endangered by industrialization, was to rise in art and develop into a harmonious world of life, in which a thing and a man fuse together in a stream. Consequently, interwoven, ornamental and floral elements were frequent means of harmonious design.
This can be felt especially in the literary magazines, such as the youth, which gave the epoch a retrospective and involuntary name. Thus Georg Hirth, the publisher of the periodical, summed up the whole thing under the following sentence: “Youth is joy of being, pleasure, hope and love, faith in men. Youth is life, color is form and light.” quite vividly on the subject of literature in the Jugendstil.
The above pictures are different titles of the magazine Jugend. These point to the clear connection between the written word and the painting. The paintings show all the characteristics of the art of art nouveau, as they take on floral and ornamental motifs and, in addition, a further main motif, the seductive woman. Nevertheless, any poem can not be taken from the magazine, and can then be regarded as a work of the art of youth, as the youth published numerous avant-garde, modern works. It is much more necessary to search for the motifs described in the literature in order to classify a work retrospectively as a work of Jugendstil. An example of Rainer Maria Rilke:
This hardship, by still untried
heavy and as tied,
is like the uncanny course of the swan.
And dying, this no more
the reason on which we stand daily,
his fearful settling down -:
in the waters that gently receive him
and who, like happy and past,
to submerge under it, flood by flood;
while he is infinitely quiet and secure
ever more mature and regal
and more relaxed.
The above example takes up the feeling of the Fin de Siècle: a transitional mood (change from the 19th to the 20th century, change from an agrarian country to a modern industrial state) and the associated future euphoria, but also the future is made clear by the fact that things can not be grasped and that the reason on which one is standing can no longer be grasped.
This general feeling is equated with the course of the swan, which is placed daily in the flowing movements of the water. The swan can be interpreted as a motif of art nouveau, only the external appearance (curved neck) illustrates the ornamental and curving, the movement of the waves and the course of the animal also taking up this movement.
It is interesting to note that the swan appears more royal and more mundane when it passes through the change from the solid ground to the moving, and this intimate (waves) still gently receives it. The poem is therefore not a work of art nouveau due to its external form, but it takes up certain elements of this period: the beauty of nature, the movement of the waves, the break-up mood, and the alternation between two (several) states / situations. Another example of Otto Julius Bierbaum:
The river draws faintly in the last evening,
Soon it will be night and silence.
Now comes the time when I order my happiness,
This black cornfield, this yours and mine.
This is much quieter than the deepest silence
And is much darker than the deepest night;
The tall stalks bow and tilt
Awe-inspiring to her heavy splendor.
Because you are there. In your white dress,
From which a glow blows like stars
And a song of the rustling of your silk,
When soft your foot goes through these ears.
The above example is untypical for Bierbaum, since it seems unfamiliarly melancholic. Nevertheless, it unites some of the epochs. Here, too, a space is opened which shows a transition: the change of day and night, for soon it will be night […] and also here it is not primarily about the actual content, but about the metaphor, nature and sweeping lines. The stalks bow, the pains, the noise, and the motive of the woman walking barefoot through the ears, creating a contrast between white and dark. Stylistically, this movement is modeled by the cross-rhyme (abab) and the parallelism.
Consequently, the artistic movement had an effect on lyric poetry. Mythological, legendary and fairy-tale elements as well as symbolic, ceremonial, unusual or motifs depicting nature, such as flowers and animals, but also sweeping movements and Dionysian. The capture of fabulous, legendary and even mythological content and themes reminds partly of the literary epoch of Romanticism.
It is to be noted, however, that there are hardly any works that take up all the characteristics of the movement as an example, but nevertheless some lyrical productions of the time, which are literally processed by numerous motifs, which are generally used in art and architecture. Other representatives, such as Ernst von Wolzogen, Richard Dehmel, Alfred Mombert, Eduard Stucken, and partly Stefan George, Oscar Wilde, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach and Maurice Maeterlinck, but also Ricarda Huch, or even individual works the rather expressionist writer Georg Heym.
Short overview: The most important part of the epoch at a glance
As an art nouveau, a period of art history is defined, which is mainly around the turn of the century from the 19th to the 20th century and thus can be dated to approximately the years between 1896 and 1920. The Art Nouveau style is under the influence of the Fin de Siècle, an artistic and cultural movement that has been reflected in different styles, such as symbolism, art nouveau, impressionism and aestheticism, as well as similar avangardist currents.
In the foreground, the term is used to refer to certain forms of architecture and design, whereby the epoch can also be felt in literature and art. The essence is the attempt to depict nature in art through vigorous and floral ornaments.
In architecture, therefore, there are always ornamental, sweeping lines which determine the façade of the buildings. It is important to note the fact that the structure and function of a building were to be recognized from the outside and that no superordinate symmetry had to be followed, whereby the principle was also applied to the interior furnishing. This should connect art and everyday life and also attack the typical motifs of the time
Similar motifs are used in painting. It represents the nature and the connection of nature with man. Representatives of this epoch strived to create a harmony between art and life, whereby floral and natural elements were connected with man (often women).
In the literature one can differentiate between the content and the external motifs of the Jugendstil. In part, texts such as small ornamental jewelery were created which, above all, stylistically took up the momentum and harmony of the movement. In addition, there are also numerous works, which mainly play with the symbols and motifs (fountains, nature, animals, transition between the centuries, etc.).