Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ver Sacrum

I was in high school when I first came across the art of the Austrian Secession movement and their magazine Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring).  The art of the Secession, an outrider of modern art in fin-de-siecle Vienna used elements of classical mythology, Japanese design and European folk art in painting, architecture, textiles and graphic arts.  it was a repudiation of the academic art that was the prevailing (and state sponsored) style favored by the Hapsburgs.

I was particularly taken by Secession graphics with their  rhythmic patterns,  organic forms, solid matte fields of color, and  bold contrasts of darks and light.

The world of the Hapsburg Austria, (with all of its brilliance, decadence, and intractable contradictions) including this artistic movement, was swept away by World War I.  Sixty years later the bold contrasts, dynamic lines, asymetrical composition and repeated pattern of the Secession, took hold of my imagination.  Which, (athough I didn't realize it at the time) prepared me to appreciate those elements in thr traditional icon.

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