Friday, April 30, 2010

Ornamental Death

These two illustrations are by the Austrian Art Nouveau painter Carl Otto Czeschka (1878-1960) and belonged to the book "Die Nibelungen. Interpreted by Franz Keim" (Wien and Leipzig 1909)

Like in the artwork by Howard Pyle the turn to a subjective interpretation of history can be observed. Even much more Czeschka refrains from any naturalistic depictions. His illustrations are first and foremost decorative ornaments. Nevertheless are his arms and costumes much more historical than that on history paintings which pretended to be realistic. And above all he achieves a kind of neo-Romanesque style like that of medieval illuminated manuscripts.
Really great art!


  1. I agree: really great art! I so enjoy everything you show here.

  2. The sword fighters remind me very much of the Bayeux Tapetry, created (probably) in the 1070s AD. Love it

  3. Sure that the Bayeux Tapetry was an important inspiration, not only in arms and mail but above all in it's ornamental two dimensional appearance.

  4. Thanks for these two excellent examples of Czeschka's work. They could be both illustrations and decorative panels which is probably the point, to a certain extent at least.