Aesthetics and Artistic Styles & Movements in the 19th & early 20th centuries

The 19th and early 20th centuries were a time of diverse change in the world of art. This period saw the advent of modern art, while at the same time artists drew on the past for a wide variety of revival styles. Publishers' bindings were not immune to these trends, particularly those events in the decorative arts. Binding designers employed styles taken from various fine and decorative arts, and the results ranged from serious works of art to loose commercial adaptations. These galleries describe some of the major artistic movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries and discuss their impact on publishers' bindings. While the definition of artistic style in book bindings is not a hard and fast science, there are many examples where cover designs reflect the artistic mood of the time of their creation, and in some cases, book covers played a meaningful role in stylistic evolution.

We also include here several additional galleries that aid in the understanding of publishers' bindings as art and artifact. The galleries and accompanying scholarly material can be incorporated in lesson plans and can serve as a springboard or inspiration for further research in a specific area. If you have a suggestion about a gallery you would like to see, please contact us.

Artistic Movements Galleries & Essays

PBO: Art Deco
PBO: Art Nouveau
PBO: Arts and Crafts

PBO: Eastlake
PBO: Egyptian Revival
PBO: Gothic Revival

PBO: Japonisme
PBO: Neoclassicism
PBO: Orientalism



PBO: Poster Style
PBO: Rococo Revival

Additional Artistic Galleries & Essays

PBO: Visual Literacy
Silver & Gold: The Art of Metal Stamping

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