#FridayPainting: Aubrey Beardsley “Arthur and the Strange Mantle”

“People hate to see their vices depicted, but vice is terrible and it should be depicted.” Aubrey Beardsley

The year was 1893. The Studio, a new illustrated magazine of fine and applied art, published its first issue featuring a daring illustration for Oscar Wilde’s scandalous play, Salome. The Irish playwright inspired a young English artist, Aubrey Beardsley, to create a stunning femme fatale in black ink and graphite on paper. Provocative! Beardsley made a name for himself that day. Some say that this was the first work of Art Nouveau.

Aubrey Beardsley was a gifted artist and musician. He did not have an easy life; he endured significant health issues, beginning at age 9 with an attack of tuberculosis. He persevered, despite all odds. In grammar school, he drew caricatures of his teachers and illustrated the school’s journal, Past to Present. Sir Edward Burne-Jones, artist, designer and an associate of William Morris, mentored Aubrey Beardsley, encouraging him to take evening classes at the Westminster School of Art. (Evening classes do pay off!) His work was noticed. Soon Aubrey Beardsley was illustrating Sir Thomas Malory’s, Le Morte d’Arthur. And not just one or two illustrations – but over three hundred!! For more on this story, check out this post link, Aubrey Beardsley.