The Peacock Skirt (1893) by Aubrey Beardsley

The Peacock Skirt - Aubrey Beardsley - 1893

Artwork Information

TitleThe Peacock Skirt
ArtistAubrey Beardsley
Mediumgraphite,Ink on Paper
Dimensions16 x 22.7 cm
Art MovementArt Nouveau
Current LocationFogg Museum (Harvard Art Museums), Cambridge, MA, US

About The Peacock Skirt

The artwork titled “The Peacock Skirt” is an illustration by artist Aubrey Beardsley, created in 1893. Executed using graphite and ink on paper, the piece stands as a quintessential embodiment of the Art Nouveau movement. The dimensions of this piece are modest at 16 x 22.7 cm. The Fogg Museum, which is a part of the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the custodian of this artwork.

The artwork itself is known for its stylistic intricacy and distinctive use of strong black-and-white contrasts, which are characteristic of Beardsley’s work. It features two figures, elegantly posed: one adorned with an elaborate peacock skirt that spectacularly fans out, mimicking the tail feathers of a peacock. The curvature and detail of the feathers are meticulously rendered, showing the artist’s skill in creating texture and pattern. The other figure appears more somberly dressed, draped in classical garments and gesturing delicately towards the ornate figure. The intricate patterns, the flowing lines, and the dramatic use of space and form all contribute to the piece’s sense of stylized drama and aesthetic. Beardsley’s strong emphasis on decorative elements and the flattening of the picture plane are emblematic of the Art Nouveau ethos, seeking to blur the lines between fine art and decoration.

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