The Barque of Dante (1822) by Eugène Delacroix.
More infernal visions. Depictions of Hell aren’t exactly recent but the 19th century saw an increase in Dantean themes, helped, no doubt, by the Romantic taste for violent drama. There are many more such paintings, especially of the doomed lovers Paolo and Francesca whose plight is almost an artistic sub-genre. I’ve avoided the popular depictions by William Blake and Gustave Doré although the latter is represented below by a painting you don’t often see.
Dante and Virgil in Hell (1850) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
Dante and Virgil at the Entrance to Hell (1857) by Edgar Degas.
Continue reading “Inferni”
I said yesterday that poppies are a common feature of the fin de siècle magazines for the convenient way they combine long-stemmed flowers—ideal for all those Art Nouveau flourishes—with narcotic connotations that signal Decadence. The spiralling fleuron above is one example that readers of Savoy books may recognise, an occasional company logo which has been in use since the mid-1980s. David Britton chose the design from one of the Dover Pictorial Archive books, Carol Belanger Grafton’s Treasury of Art Nouveau Design and Ornament, and I later made a digital version from this page scan.
One of the earliest Savoy uses, a label design for Heroes (1986) by PJ Proby.
Having spent a great deal of time in recent years trawling through Art Nouveau magazines I was sure I was going to run into the original printing of the fleuron eventually. Some of the page decorations in Jugend are very similar but it wasn’t there or in Pan, Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration or The Studio. I don’t have a copy of the Grafton book, and Dave says his copy is lost, so I’ve no idea whether there’s a credit for the source of the designs; not all Dover books credit their source material in any detail. Earlier this week I decided to look in Art et Décoration, a magazine that was the French equivalent of The Studio, since the header at the top of the scanned page implied that the other designs might be from the same magazine. Aside from a couple of copies at the Internet Archive this means looking through the poor-quality scans at Gallica; by a fluke—because they don’t seem to have a complete run of the early issues—the January 1898 edition contained the page below showing the Savoy fleuron, an endpiece for an article devoted to another French art magazine, L’Image.
Continue reading “The case of the fin de siècle fleuron”