There is beauty in everything that surrounds us, and I’m not just referring to the natural aspects of the environment but also the man-made bits. If like me you get a lot of these moments, then at one point or the other while appreciating the beauties that surrounds us we may be left wondering how it was conceptualized. It may surprise one to know that a lot of these things all fall along the styles of or have been inspired art. Thus, it goes without saying that behind every object, there is a characteristic design philosophy which cuts across all forms of its expressions be it architecture, applied art, decorative art, graphic art and other  forms of art.


Focusing now on the Art Nouveau style of art, which was popularized in 1890 based on the philosophy that art should be a way of life. It was inspired by natural forms and structures and can be characterized by its sinuous curvy lines, abstract background, warm colors and an overall romantic feel. It normally has a focal figure with whom the rest of the image centers around. This style of art still influences works of artists of recent generations. An example of this artist is African American Thomas Blackshear who incorporates some of the essence of art nouveau into his paintings.


The impact of the art nouveau style of art can be seen also be seen off canvas in various places in the world from the streets of Paris down to South Africa. In the 1890’s Belgian architect Hector Guimard built an art nouveau inspired subway station canopy entrance. One can notice the said curved lines and romantic feel of the art nouveau style. This trend has since inspired similar works such as the Edwardian bandstand at the De Waal Park Capetown South Africa and has also been replicated at hotel entrances.


So next time you drive past a magnificent building or come across an “oddly” shaped furniture or an intriguing piece of jewelry, think of the years of history and refined art that could be behind it and appreciate it a little more.

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