Aubrey Beardsley: Dandy of the Grotesque

Aubrey Beardsley: Dandy of the GrotesqueChris Snodgrass

Oxford University Press, 1995
ISBN: 0195090624

Aubrey Beardsley, often cited as the “dominating artistic personality” and “the one ‘genius’” of the 1890s, has long been acknowledged by scholars as “the mentality most representative” of the period known as the Victorian Decadence. Aubrey Beardsley, Dandy of the Grotesque analyzes a wide range of Beardsley’s most characteristic works, establishing the assumptions underlying his world view and clarifying why so many observers have considered Beardsley’s art indispensable to understanding fin-de-siècle Victorian culture. The book examines Aubrey Beardsley’s artistic development and his implicit view of the nature of meaning itself in the context of the fin de siècle. His parodic art, characterized by a variety of grotesque figures and revolutionary designs, captured visually the central contradictions and paradoxes of the “yellow nineties” – a period whose “Religion of Art” sought to establish an authenticating “center” for life, only to discover a world that was not logocentric and comforting, but paradoxical and unsettling.

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