Follow TV Tropes


Art Nouveau

Go To
Looking good enough to eat.

A new style of decorative art that predominated much of the Fin de siècle (The Gay '90s and The Edwardian Era), Art Nouveau's style consists of asymmetric and fluid movements, and naturalistic colors and themes. Its style was applied to every field, notably buildings, crafts, paintings, lithographic posters and furniture.

The movement has influences from drawings of plant life, works by Alphonse Mucha, Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Oriental flavours, and the Neoclassical, Romantic, Post-impressionist and Expressionist movements. The style spread throughout Europe, where its mode was dubbed in many languages, typically termed as "new", "modern" or "young" art. In Germany and Northern Europe, it was called the “Jugendstil” (youth style) or "secession". In Catalonia, it was called "Modernisme," and is associated inextricably with the weirdly-skeletal but delightful architecture of Antoni Gaudí. In Italy, it was called the stile Liberty after the British department store Liberty in London, which apparently supplied a lot of the brightly-coloured fabric Italian artists working in the style liked to use.

Whatever its name, Art Nouveau fell out of favour during or before World War I. The exuberant, richly ornamented style seemed wrong somehow after so much death and destruction and the growing anxiety of the Machine Age. However, it influenced Art Deco and other modernist movements. With the advent of Solarpunk however, it is starting to see something of a revival.

This style predominates in much of 1890s-style Steampunk. Note that art movements before 1890 range from Romantic to Impressionist.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon:
  • Gosick: The opening of the anime is drawn in Art Nouveau style.
  • Sound of the Sky: The opening of the anime is based on paintings by Austrian Art Nouveau/Vienna Secession painter Gustav Klimt like the Beethoven Frieze and Allegory of Tragedy.
  • Elfen Lied: The opening of the anime is based on paintings by Austrian Art Nouveau/Vienna Secession painter Gustav Klimt, like his famous painting The Kiss.
  • Witch Hat Atelier is one of the few mangas to utilise this art form as a stylistic choice, making it incredibly unique. From the natural and organic designs of the Great Hall and the rustic atmosphere of the Atelier, to the soft naturalistic colours of the cover art, and the dynamism and free-flowing form of the panelling. Flipping through the series is like having a peak of Mucha's Art Nouveau style in manga format.
  • The Witch and the Beast may be predominantly Art Deco in design, but it does also incorporate Art Nouveau in its world building and its panel art. In terms of paneling, the Witch and the Beast always incorporates free-flowing and dynamic line work resembling vines and lions to make a panel resemble a Mucha art piece. Likewise, certain buildings and towns have a naturalistic feeling to them and looks like they came straight out of the 1900s.

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore's erotic graphic novel Lost Girls is done in this style, suiting its period setting (1913-14).
  • Mystic has a strong Art Nouveau flavor to the art.

    Films — Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: The interior decoration of Canterlot High School seems heavily influenced by this style, with lots of curves and lines evoking plant life.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Some architecture described in Grinlandia series bears a resemblance to this.
  • John R. Neill's illustrations for the Land of Oz book series were influenced by this style.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nyssa's home planet Traken in classic Doctor Who.
  • Art Nouveau shows up on occasion in Series 1 of Downton Abbey. While the avant-garde rarely reaches the Yorkshire countryside, we see glimpses in the styles of women's dress and a few magazines. (Subsequent series are set during World War I or the 1920s, so new styles lean towards Art Deco.)
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Most of the furnishing in Lestat de Lioncourt's townhouse is in the art nouveau style with flowing, naturalistic flourishes, such as the intricate Victorian wallpapers, the light fixtures, the fireplaces, the capitals on the columns, the bed, the bedroom lamps, and the nightstands.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power features several Art Nouveau elements. Disa's dress and hairstyle are inspired by different painting with women of Gustav Klimt. The art style was used for the official posters too. And the Elvish Kingdom of Lindon, has its architecture inspired by the decorative motives with soft whiplash lines, and naturalistic colours, only fitting for a kingdom scattered across a birch Forest of Perpetual Autumn.
  • A lot of the designs in the early series of Mr Selfridge are classic Art Nouveau. This makes sense, given that Selfridge's was founded during the Edwardian era and featured cutting-edge fashions—which at the time were Art Nouveau.

  • Generally speaking, the style made a bit of a comeback during the '60s psychedelic counterculture. For instance, Klaus Voorman's Grammy-winning cover for The Beatles' Revolver is heavily inspired by the works of Aubrey Beasley, who was in turn an influence on the Art Nouveau movement to begin with. This Vox video goes into more detail on the topic.
  • The front cover to Donovan's album "Sunshine Superman" is an almost note-for-note homage to the style; the squiggly, stylized fonts, the muted pastel color scheme, the abundance of decorative curves, it's all there! The only non-Nouveau element of the color is Donovan's Face on the Cover.
  • Fleetwood Mac's "classic" soft-rock era embraced a mid-to-late1970s revival of the Art Nouveau aesthetic. This was particularly evident in the album covers for their two big hit albums, the self-titled "White Album" (1975) and Rumours (1977), which both feature illustrated covers, Art Nouveau-style typefaces, and people in (bohemian) Art Nouveauish clothing.

    Video Games 
  • Much of the visual design of Abyss Odyssey, most notably the character portraits.
  • The design of Wonder City and Wonder Tower in Batman: Arkham City.
  • Final Fantasy VIII leans heavily towards this style in several places: Balamb Town wouldn't be out of place among some Gaudì architectural designs (though admittedly quite tame), its train station has a distinct Belle Époque feel, and even the trains themselves have Nouveau-inspired decorative elements. The nods are mostly noticeable in the Gardens: Balamb Garden is intricately ornate even in some of its more mundane facilities, and some elements are visible even in the much more austere Galbadia Garden, and the ruins of Trabia Garden.
  • The Last Express is done entirely in this style.
  • The Lakebed Temple of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess draws a lot of inspiration from Catalan Modernism, especially Gaudí's famous trencadis technique. It's noticeably one of the most beautiful temples of the game.
  • Professor Layton has cues of this, despite the time period being ambiguous (but ideally talking place in a 60s contemporary-esque world) there are many locations of the game aiming towards a more somber pre-WW1 art style.
  • The Realm of Magic game pack of The Sims 4 is heavily Art Nouveau in its build mode, both the build items (doors, windows, wallpaper, columns, fences) and furniture. The base game itself has a clear Mucha tribute among the classical paintings that Sims can paint.
  • Transistor not only takes place in a futuristic Art Nouveau world that mixes a little bit of Tron with a heaping helping of the works of Gustav Klimt, but the protagonist, Red, seems to be a reference to "Red Hilda", a firey-haired model that served as a muse for many of Klimt's paintings.

    Visual Novels 
  • Sweet Enchantments shows quite a bit of Art Nouveau influence in the designs of the eponymous cafe and the uniforms worn by its staff. The architecture and decor incorporate a lot of nature motifs and fluid lines with few hard angles, as though the building grew into place rather than being manmade.

  • A Questionable Content artwork for sale on the author's Topatoco is a tribute to Mucha's "4 Seasons", with Hannelore, Faye, Marigold, and Dora.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane contrasts Shining City Piltover with its Under City through architectural styles. The poorer, grittier Undercity (later Zaun) takes a lot from Art Nouveau, with an emphasis on modern materials like metal, prominent arches and spirals, brighter colors, some natural aspects (where it isn't too polluted) and gothic elements like stained glass. However, elements of Art Nouveau still pop up in Piltover; for example, Jayce sits down in front of a Mucha-inspired artwork at one point. In contrast, Piltover uses a lot of Art Deco: clean, defined lines, cubist geometry, and a more unified color palette. Fittingly, Art Deco grew out of Art Nouveau, and this in part emphasizes how Piltover has left its undercity further and further behind.

    Real Life