Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Artwork by Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860-1939)
Mucha was one of the finest artist working in the Art Nouveau movement.
His pictures seem to capture a vision of exotic, yet slightly familiar beauty and subtle eroticism. His pictures capture a yearning for a beauty that is absent in much of Twentieth century life. Though his images were used in advertising, there is nothing vulgar about them. They seem close to home, yet at the same time they are ethereal and unearthly.
I love Mucha's pictures because they are in a real sense a continuation of the Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic movement's attempt to capture a vision of beauty abstracted from ordinary experience. Mucha was a Burne Jones for the Twentieth century.
Mucha was one of the last well known artists to aspire to a vision of real beauty located in the human form. Twentieth century art quickly abandoned any sense of idealism and ambraced the ugly and quirky. I believe it is quite legitmate to enjoy, or at least appreciate art which is ugly and reflects the depravity of the world. Nevertheless I think truly Christian art must not abandon the aspiration for the beautiful. Art must find its ultimate source in the beauty of what God has made and in the reflection of His goodness. The ugliness of so much modern art is truly a reflection of the godlessness of modern thought.