Beardsley, with his infamous reputation, tragic life and instantly recognizable style, is one of the paradigmatic figures of the modern age who worked hard to fashion his persona. Matthew Sturgis presents a biography of the subject.
Beardsley, with his infamous reputation, tragic life and instantly recognisable style, is one of the paradigmatic figures of the Modern Age, who worked hard to fashion his persona. Born in Brighton in 1872 of lower-class parents and diagnosed a consumptive at the age of seven, Beardsley quickly established himself as a precocious talent. His erotic, decadent illustrations for Oscar Wilde's "Salome" set the tone of his style: by turn shocking, facetious and cruel. Elongated and androgynous himself, he was readily confused with his own degenerate pictures. Sex suffuses his art and accounts for the mixture of fascination and horror with which his pictures were viewed by contemporaries.
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Matthew Sturgis read history at Oxford, worked for four years in publishing, and since then has made his living by writing -- art criticism for Harpers & Queen, travel pieces for the Sunday Telegraph, and book reviews for the Independent. His cartoons have been published in the Oldie and the Daily Mail. His previous book, Passionate Attitudes: The English Decadence of the 1890s, was published in 1995 by Macmillan.
Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography by Matthew Sturgis
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