A Fin-de-Siècle Stilophagus: Aubrey Beardsley Between Originality and Originarity


  • Giuseppe Virelli University of Bologna




Symbolism, Neo-Medievalism, Japonisme, Neo-Rococo, Aubrey Beardsley


Aubrey Beardsley’s artistic career spanned little more than five years, yet was characterised by a frenetic exploration of different modes of artistic expression in pursuit of a new and original modern style. Like a skilled perfumer bringing together subtle fragrances, the young English artist sought, selected and sampled a wide range of figurative vocabularies from very different sources and extrapolated their essence, thereby creating an artistic language that was entirely personal yet perfectly attuned to the spirit of his day. From his revival of the Pre-Raphaelite figurative tradition to his reinterpretation of certain stylistic traits belonging to the art of cultures distant from his own in terms of both time and space (ranging from Greek vase painting to Japanese prints and Rococo imagery), he distilled a unique and instantly recognisable language grounded in a ‘synthetic’ approach. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Beardsley effectively opened up British culture to the new Symbolist/Art Nouveau language which was emerging at that time on the European continent.


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How to Cite

A Fin-de-Siècle Stilophagus: Aubrey Beardsley Between Originality and Originarity. (2024). Synergies: A Journal of English Literatures and Cultures, 4. https://doi.org/10.4454/syn.v4.898