Towards the end of the 19th century, artists, designers, and architects in Europe and North America began to reject the prevailing styles of the time, and turned to new sources for inspiration. They were influenced by the world of nature and the unconsci
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This fast-paced, half-hour look at art nouveau, the Arts and Crafts Movement that sprang up at the end of the 19th century, would have benefited from a slower pace. Still, as a beginner's guide to understanding art nouveau, it does a credible job, quoting experts from around the world. Divided into 10 parts, the video traces the beginnings of the movement as a revolt against assembly-line sameness before explaining how it drew from other cultures (Japanese, Islamic, Celtic) and valued spirituality and nature. Many magnificent pieces featured in an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art are shown. Big and small examples abound, from architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the famed Lalique dragonfly ("one of the greatest pieces of jewelry of all time"). There's so much here, you'll need to watch it more than once, and hit the pause button, to truly revel in art nouveau's celebration of artistic freedom. --Valerie J. Nelson
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