AUBREY BEARDSLEY IN RUSSIAN ARTISTIC-LITERARY CIRCLES IN LATE 19TH AND EARLY 20TH CENTURIES
In late 19 and early 20th century, Aubrey Beardsley, an English Art Nouveau printmaker and illustrator, gained great popularity in Russian artistic-literary circles. His diverse visual, literary, and musical work influenced Russian art of that time in a comprehensive and multifunctional way. Beardsley's artistic aesthetics, cultural retrospection, intellectual perversity, sophisticated eroticism, contour style, skilled use of the contrast between black and white spaces, far-reaching deformation of human and animal shapes, and decorative and atmosphere-building values of his drawings underwent an artistic transformation in the works of artists of the 'Mir Iskusstva' Saint Petersburg Group (e.g. Constantin Somov), but mainly in illustrations, prints and book art (ornaments, vignettes) of e.g. Lev Bakst. Moscow symbolists were inspired by Beardsley's unusual content, motifs of his works (drawings, poems, short stories), and their eclecticism, literary quality, simultaneous influence on intellect and senses, sophisticated form and continuous pursuit (in content and form) of the sensational and mysterious. Beardsley's personality and work fascinated Valeriy Briusov who dedicated a poem to the English artist, and, as an editor of the literary magazine 'Vesy' devoted one of its issues (1905, No. 11) to Beardsley. Among visual artists, the painter Nicolai Fieofilaktov gained the title of 'Moscow Beardsley'.
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