Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ooh, look at the pretty pictures!

4 out of 5 stars

A lovely coffee table book full of dreamy and fantastical fairy art. The book profiles the artists and influences of the fairy art heyday, otherwise known as the Romantic era which sprang up in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, but reached its zenith during the mid 19th century. The Romantic era bloomed out of a growing interest in all things mystical and natural, even the horrific and grotesque, partly in revolt against the Industrial Revolution and partly in revolt against the scientific principles introduced during the Age of Enlightenment which removed man from nature. Romanticism harkened back to the medieval and pagan spirit, using themes from both to inspire art, music, and philosophy. The connection to nature, in its purest form, was the ideal.

The first half of the book is devoted to profiling six of the more prominent artists of the era: Richard Dadd, Sir Joseph Noel Paton, John Anster Fitzgerald, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Richard Doyle, and Arthur Rackham. Each man has several pages devoted to him, containing a brief biography as well as half a dozen or so of his paintings, each with a detailed description of when the work was created and its context within the artist's canon. The last half of the book contains brief biographies and one or two paintings for the many other artists working during the era such as George Cruikshank, Sir John Everett Millais, and John William Waterhouse, as well as modern artists who are continuing the movement such as Edmund Dulac and Brian Froud. These artists are divided into sections corresponding to the influences of the art featured within this tome, such as the works of Shakespeare, Folklore & Legends, and Angels & Religion.

It's a beautiful book, one which can be read easily from cover to cover, in bits and pieces, or simply skimmed for the pretty pictures. One thing's for sure: This is a book to put out for people to see, to flip through, and to admire.

Initially read sometime in 2010.  

No comments:

Post a Comment