It surprises me that Japan had so much influence in the early development of graphic design. As I had never researched into it, I had just assumed the style was developed through pure ingenuity by somebody, somewhere. Seeing these early developments helped me realise that the art style developed slowly and through many people’s influence. Art Nouveau is a collection of beautiful styles by people across countries, even across the continent and all around the world. It also helps me understand how trade influences the global spread of information and culture. Even by such a small serendipity, with the ukiyo-e artworks wrapping goods from Japan to the outside world, art could be spread to other places. This, however insignificant, led to amazing bigger developments in the art style that we know today as Art Nouveau.
Additionally, this also helped me put into context what was happening in that era, with Japan opening up and how they were isolated previously– in relation with what is happening in other countries. It is indeed interesting how political happenings seem to always affect art, as perhaps seen in Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ which is one of the most significant anti-war paintings, as well as Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings (including Saturn Devouring His Son) and The Third of May 1808 which speak about his bleak outlook on humanity and the horrors of war.
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