Japanese woodblock prints, ukiyo-e, especially fascinated Western audiences. Their crisp colors and unique compositions felt effortless (though holy hell, they were not) and many artists, including the Impressionists and poster-artists of the late nineteenth century, were inspired by elements and incorporated them in their own art. However, some artists went further... and farther.
In the 19th century, famed artists like George Cruikshank, Kate Greenaway, and W. Heath Robinson rendered tragic moments of gruesome murders, miracles, or monotonous news for periodicals. Even Queen Victoria once had a drawing published in The Strand Magazine. You might have come across them in history books and thought of them as simply recording history.
But they had wide-ranging effects that still influence us, like in the case of Spring-heeled Jack.
Imagine walking upstairs into a massive smoky room. Pearls of laughter and fierce discussions about the arts echo throughout it. Then on the stage, a host of shadows grace the stage. But it's not a mere shadow puppet display you might put on with your siblings. They're massive puppets of armies with intricate detail. The 2-D surface looks like it goes on for miles. The puppets play out wars and romance and revolutions.
Artistic groups sprang from the cabarets of Montmartre. Two of these were the Incohérents and the Hydropathes. I had never heard of them before researching this topic. Likely because they're both seminal groups for more famous movements like the Dadaists. Also because most of the information about them is in French. (I am not fluent.) But they're… Continue reading Wicked Humour: The Hydropathes and Incohérents