Although our galleries are temporarily closed we wanted to share the Aubrey Beardsley exhibition at Tate Britain with you. Join Tate curators Caroline Corbeau-Parsons and Alice Insley as they discuss the iconic illustrator’s short and scandalous career.
Before his untimely death aged twenty-five, Beardsley produced over a thousand illustrations. He drew everything from legendary tales featuring dragons and knights, to explicit scenes of sex and debauchery. His fearless attitude to art continues to inspire creatives more than a century after his death.
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872-1898) was an English illustrator and author. His drawings in black ink, influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic. He was a leading figure in the aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler.
‘Nameless and Friendless’ was painted in 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn. It captures a single woman trying, and failing, to earn a living as an artist in Victorian England. In a trade traditionally occupied by men, she becomes nameless and friendless.
Osborn was actively involved in the campaign for women’s rights during the mid-19th century. She was supported by wealthy patrons, including Queen Victoria. But she used her position of power to help improve the lives of women like those depicted in her paintings.
From a Tate Britain online description:
Although Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, he is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and as “Pre-Romantic”. A committed Christian who was hostile to the Church of England (indeed, to almost all forms of organised religion), Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American Revolutions.
William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. What he called his prophetic works were said by 20th-century critic Northrop Frye to form “what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language”. His visual artistry led 21st-century critic Jonathan Jones to proclaim him “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced”. In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.
To read more: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/william-blake-39