1892 Aubrey Beardsley Self-Portrait

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was born in 1872, the second born in his family. Beardsley was brought up in Brighton England, He only lived until just before his 26th birthday, in 1898, and passed away due to tuberculosis. Beardsley’s health was always fragile, he had his first reported attack of tuberculosis at the age of nine, which lasted long enough for his removal from school for 2 years. Beardsley was very close with his sister his whole life, to the point some speculate they developed more of an incestuous relationship as they grew older.

The Dancer’s Reward
Juvenal: Birth from the Calf of the Leg

In 1892 he started studying at the Westminster School of Art, then later in the year travelled to Paris and found his admiration for Art Nouveau. His art style brought great controversy and caused offence to a lot of people in society. He has been deemed the most controversial artist to come out of the Art Nouveau era. I find his subjects in the artworks extremely intriguing as it differs so greatly from many of the other artists of the time.

The Black Cat
Salome: The Dancer’s Reward 

His use of dark imagery and nightmarish scenes worked to create a very grotesque erotic image, which is exactly what he strove for, “I have one aim—the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing.” (Beardsley) This approach to his art and desire to stir up emotions of disgust and an almost sort of fear gave it a very unique sense of calm in my opinion. While very disturbing and mortifying these images were almost what he saw in himself. Someone who was sick and couldn’t help himself and was gawked at almost by others. This treatment gave him a desire to draw out the most unpleasant images almost to make himself more appealing.