2003 | 3 |
Article title

ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ART NOUVEAU AESTHETIC PRINCIPLES IN THE JOURNAL 'VEROTAJS' ('OBSERVER') (Jugendstila estetisko principu istenojums zurnala 'Verotajs')

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The Latvian literary journal 'Verotajs' ('Observer') that brought about qualitative changes in the graphic design of periodicals was published from 1903 till 1905. 'Verotajs' introduced the Art Nouveau style that developed to the full extent in the almanac 'Zalktis' ('Grass-Snake') some years later. At the same time the new journal announced the outset of national style in the design of local periodicals. Latvian artists started to draw original vignettes for each particular journal to replace standardized, imported ones. The journal's design shows Art Nouveau aesthetic principles: creation of a unified artistic whole, predomination of nature motifs and curved, fluent linear rhythms, correspondence between the emotional moods of the miniature work and the literary text. The artist Janis Rozentals had an important role in this development. He made vignettes for each chapter, thus creating a certain systematic arrangement that helped readers to orient themselves. It is likely that the routine arrangement of text and illustrations was changed after Rozentals' suggestion. The new page layout contained one column that was more distanced from margins and the space between lines was increased. The artist Julijs Madernieks made the greatest number of vignettes. He was mostly inspired by nature and ornament interpreted according to Art Nouveau patterns. Some landscape-like vignettes were made by the artist Vilhelms Purvitis. They feature Art Nouveau decorative stylisation and Symbolist mood. Eduards Brencens followed Purvitis' ascetic trend, but his works show more emphasis on white surface. There are also vignettes by Rihards Zarins and Oskars Steinbergs in the journal. Some of vignette designers for 'Verotajs' are still unknown. It is possible to suppose that ten works signed 'MP' were created by the cabinet-maker Martins Pagasts who was popular in Riga at the turn of the 20th century. One vignette was possibly drawn by Indrikis Zeberins.
  • Inta Pujate, Latvian Academy of Art, Latgale Branch, Baznicas iela 34a, Rezekne LV-4601, Latvia
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