Aubrey Beardsley

"Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898) was an English illustrator and author. His drawings, executed in black ink and 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 A. McNeill Whistler. Beardsley's contribution to the development of the Art Nouveau style and the poster movement was significant, despite the brevity of his career before his early death from tuberculosis."

Definitely one of my favorite artists... and like many of the great artists from the late 1800's/early 1900's, he was quite eccentric and had an interesting and tragic life. His compositions and the quality of his line is simply amazing. He style constantly evolved during his career from Pre-Raphaelite influences to almost completely abstract, but there was always a common thread through it all, which was his use of black ink. My favorite illustrations of his are probably the ultra-detailed drawings for "The Rape of the Lock" (a couple pics below).

More reading and images here and here

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