What Is Art Nouveau?

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Art nouveau is a genre of art that took place during the turn of the 19th century into the 20th century, and it consisted of organic decorative forms that broke away from the academic tradition. Discover the traits of art nouveau with information from an art historian, critic and curator in this free video on art.

Part of the Video Series: Art History Genres
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Video Transcript

Hi, Dr. Betty Brown, here. The topic is art nouveau. Well, art nouveau means new art, and it was a term applied to turn of the century art, specifically in Vienna, and the rest of Western Europe, when a group of young artists decided that they would create a different look, rebelling from the academic tradition, that had become rather stifling, and disconnected from life, as they were experiencing it. They sought to infuse art with a beautiful, decorative organic flow, that is characterized by tendrils, and flowing rounded lines. My favorite art nouveau artist is Gustav Klimt. You might know about him, because there have actually been a few Hollywood films, that have had him as a character. Klimt was a notorious womanizer, and an astonishingly gifted painter. He created images of a kiss, a man and a woman embracing, and behind them, this mosaic like decorative pattern of gold, and shimmering color, that is sumptuous, and quite visually appealing. Art nouveau, the new art at the turn of the century, from the 19th to the 20th, dominated a lot of Western Europe.

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