Although the Tate galleries are temporarily closed, the Aubrey Beardsley exhibition at Tate Britain is now available to all as an online curated tour. Watch Tate curators Caroline Corbeau-Parsons and Alice Insley discuss Beardsley's career and show some of his most famous works...
Although he died tragically young at the age of just 25, Beardsley’s strange, sinuous black-and-white images have continued to shock and delight for over a century. Bringing together 200 spectacular works, this is the largest display of his original drawings in over 50 years and the first exhibition of his work at Tate since 1923.
Beardsley (1872-98) became one of the enfants terribles of fin-de-siècle London, best remembered for illustrating Oscar Wilde's controversial play Salomé [see above]. His opulent imagery anticipated the elegance of Art Nouveau but also alighted on the subversive and erotic aspects of life and legend, shocking audiences with a bizarre sense of humour and fascination with the grotesque. Beardsley was prolific, producing hundreds of illustrations for books, periodicals and posters in a career spanning just under seven years. Line block printing enabled his distinct black-and-white works to be easily reproduced and widely circulated, winning notoriety and admirers around the world, but the original pen and ink drawings are rarely seen. Tate Britain exhibits a huge array of these drawings, revealing his unrivalled skill as a draughtsman in exquisite detail.
[hint - use the pause button and go full screen to get the best detail - Ed]
Image - Illustration for Oscar Wilde’s Salome 1893, The Peacock Skirt. Stephen Calloway. Photo: © Tate