Thursday, April 5, 2007
Aubrey Beardsley's Lysistrata (1890's). Even in the last year of his life Beardsley wrote to a friend, "Do you want any erotic drawings?" According to Katherine Lyon Mix in her book A Study in Yellow, "though Beardsley hated evil, he was fascinated by it. A friend declared: 'It was always an enigma to me how and where he acquired all the knowledge of the dark side of life which his work seemed to indicate.'" This is what John Reed has to say about Beardsley's art: "He employed a highly artificial style on subjects that were intensely literary, often of course because they were book illustrations. His designs tease and tantalize, offering no rest for the eye; they often require an illumination of their details before the compositions can be mentally reordered. Living creatures become elements imprisoned within designs that promise no freedom from their empty destinies. Beardsley looked upon the world and found it ugly, but this judgment did not prevent him from converting that ugliness into a painful beauty."--John Reed, The Decadent Style.