Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The dark side of Belle Epoque





I am a sucker for most things weird and art is no exception.

A recent article at the BBC (see link at the end of this post) made me aware of just how surreal and bizarre the art of the late 19th Century could be. Quite like the article's introduction, I typically associate the period's art with the paintings of Monet, Cezanne, and Renoir. I associate these works with a certain brightness and bouyance (Thomas Kinkade my ass. Monet was the "painter of light.") 

But it was also the time of Munch's "The Scream" and the erotic and Dionysian illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley, an illustrator who did work for writer Oscar Wilde. The article also introduced me to James Ensor, whose "The Intrigue" is above. The masked grotesques symbolize the malicious intents disguised in human social gatherings.

Naturally I love the depiction,

The dark and turbulent art was a response as all art is a response. The writer of the article argues said response was more toward internal rather than external anxieties. Which in an odd way heartened me. As we head into dark times (dark-er perhaps), I am at least eager to see what art comes from it. It promises to be every bit as weird and surreal while full of expressionist themes of pain, unease, and displacement, wandering masses bereft of any emoluments.

Particularly over the next four years.

Read much more at the article: 

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20161207-the-dark-side-of-the-belle-epoque



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