Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Aubrey Beardsley

Yesterday you read about illustrator and stained-glass artist, Harry Clarke. Today’s post is about the illustrator Clarke was most often compared to, Aubrey Beardsley.

A note to parents: This post is completely kid-friendly but be aware that other articles you’ll find about Beardsley probably will not be.

Aubrey Beardsley was born in England in 1872. His artistic talent was obvious even when he was a young boy. He was mostly self-taught, though he did study art at the Westminster School of Art.

In 1892, Beardsley illustrated his first book, Morte D’arthur by Thomas Malory. This included 300 illustrations and decorations such as the ones shown below.
The next year an article was published about Beardsley in the journal, The Studio. The article included some of his illustrations and because of this he was hired to illustrate Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Beardsley became friends with Wilde and the two were linked in people’s minds from then on.
Beardsley became the art editor of a periodical, The Yellow Book. It was very successful but did not share the values and beliefs of society in 1890s England. When Oscar Wilde was arrested and sent to jail, Beardsley was fired from The Yellow Book and it was forever changed.
Beardsley briefly worked for another, smaller publication before illustrating more books including Theophile Gautier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.

In 1898, at only 25 years old, Beardsley died of tuberculosis. He had always been sick and weak and his body had finally had enough.

As I mentioned earlier, many compare Harry Clarke to Beardsley but I think they are very different. Clarke’s illustrations are creepy. Beardsley’s are certainly strange, but I wouldn’t call them creepy. I think the pictures have different feelings. What do you think?

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