A Visual Guide To Aesthetics

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Table of Contents


Art Nouveau

pg 4


pg 6


Pg 8


PG 10


PG 12


pg 14


pg 16

Vaporwave pg 18 3



Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts. It was most popular between 1890 and 1910.

It was a reaction to the academic art, eclecticism and historicism of 19th century architecture and decoration that favoured fine art, such as paintings and sculptures, over applied art. It was inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers, and whiplash forms. Other defining characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry and by curving lines, and the use of modern materials, such as iron pillars, sculpted and curved in naturalistic designs. Art Nouveau was known under the names of Jugdenstil in Germany, Nieuwe Kunst in the Netherlands, and Modern Style in Great Britain. It also inspired the psychedelic art of the 1960s.



, s u i p o t r G mid r e ch t l a tS W : s s o t o s J i t r

Ye ar: 19 19




Dada was an art movement formed during the First World War in Zurich in negative reaction to the

horrors and

folly of the war. The art, poetry

and performance pr od uc ed


da da artist

so si






ca l a nd and nonsensical in nature


Year: 1920’s Artists: Tamara de Lempicka, René Lalique, Jean Dunand


Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I.[1] It influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, cars, cinemas, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. Art Deco combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, it represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism and the Vienna Secession; the bright colours of Fauvism and of the Ballets Russes; the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe I and Louis XVI; and the exoticized styles of China, Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art. It featured rare and expensive materials, such as ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and other skyscrapers of New York City built during the 1920s and 1930s are monuments to the style. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, Art Deco became more subdued. New materials arrived, including chrome plating, stainless steel and plastic. A sleeker form of the style, called Streamline Moderne, appeared in the 1930s, featuring curving forms and smooth, polished surfaces.[4] Art Deco is one of the first truly international styles, but its dominance ended with the beginning of World War II and the rise of the strictly functional and unadorned styles of modern architecture and the International Style of architecture that followed.



art movement of the late 1950s and ’60s was inspired by commercial and popular culture. Although it did not have a specific style or attitude, Pop art was defined as a diverse response to the postwar era’s commodity-driven values, often using commonplace objects (such as comic strips, soup cans, road signs, and hamburgers) as subject matter or as part of the work. Predecessors


Pop art was a descendant of Dada, a nihilistic movement current in the 1920s that ridiculed the seriousness of contemporary Parisian art and, more broadly, the political and cultural situation that had brought war to Europe. Marcel Duchamp, the champion of Dada in the United States, who tried to narrow the distance between art and life by celebrating the mass-produced objects of his time, was the most influential figure in the evolution of Pop art. Other 20th-century artists who influenced Pop art were Stuart Davis, Gerard Murphy, and Fernand Léger, all of whom depicted in their painting the precision, mass production, and commercial materials of the machine-industrial age. The immediate predecessors of the Pop artists were Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers, and Robert Rauschenberg, American artists who in the 1950s painted flags, beer cans, and other, similar objects, though with a painterly, expressive technique.


Minimalism year: 1950’s artists: Ellsworth Kelly Frank Stella



inimalism refers to a lack of clutter or unnecessary detail. It has had a widespread influence, ranging from the arts to lifestyle.

As an art movement, minimalism began in post-WWII Western art, and was most prominent in the 1960s through the early 1970s. It is strongly influenced from the reductive aspects associated with some parts of Modernism, including Suprematism, Purism, and De Stijl. The art movement has had a significant influence on Minimalism as a lifestyle, which is a rejection of consumerist trends with an emphasis on simple living. This lifestyle has become increasingly prominent since 2010, and is commonly associated with The Minimalists.



Hippie (sometimes spelled as ‘hippy’) is a member of the counterculture of the 1960s, originally a youth movement that began in the United States and spread to other countries around the world. The word ‘hippie’ came from the word ‘hipster’ and was used to describe beatniks who moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. While it faded out of fashion in the 1970s, it has enjoyed occasional blips of popularity since the 1990s. Psychedelia refers to psychedelic art, psychedelic music and the subculture that originated in the psychedelic experience of the 1960s, by people who used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mescaline (found in peyote) and psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms). Psychedelic art and music typically recreate or reflect the experience of altered consciousness. Psychedelic art uses highly distorted, surreal visuals, bright colors and full spectrums and animation (including cartoons) to evoke, convey, or enhance the psychedelia experience.





aporwave is a music genre branching from electronic Chillwave. But the unique and iconic visual aesthetic cultivated alongside it is now, debatably, more popular and recognizable than the music itself. Vaporwave, as an aesthetic and movement, has been described as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on modern consumerism and the soulless glamour of late capitalism. Its purposeful vagueness has led to more overt and blatant offshoots of Vaporwave, like fLoral (which attempts to co-opt a lot of Vaporwave symbolism to promote a fascist ideology) or Laborwave (which removes the ambiguity of Vaporwave’s capitalist critiques in favor of promoting a Marxist ideology), though both of them also tend to blend in a lot of Synthwave aesthetics as well, leading to many people assuming the two aesthetics are the same. Vaporwave, like many other aesthetics, gives you nostalgia. Even if you weren’t around from the 1980s to early 2000s, both the images and music (mostly the music) send you to an era that once was. One of the big early inspirations for the Vaporwave visual aesthetic draws direct inspiration from the Memphis Group, a name given to a group of post-modern designers and architects, founded in Milan, Italy by Ettore Sottsass in the early 1980s. The original group disbanded in 1988, but their influence still lives on to this day. During the group’s heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was seen as a tacky product in its era, and its popularity faded by the mid-late 1990s. Toward the turn of the millennium, it began to gain appreciation from designers, collectors, and many of those with nostalgia and fond memories of the 1980s decade.



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