In London right now there is a major exhibition of the works of Aubrey Beardsley at the Tate Gallery. In my opinion he was the illustrator par excellence of the decadent fin de siecle, shocking (and thrilling) his Victorian audiences with blatant eroticism, often emphasizing the grotesque.
One might have thought that attitudes had changed completely in the last 125 years. And yet a London review of the show today is still headlined “Giant Penises and Nudity Galore: Aubrey Beardsley Makes Tate Britain Blush.”
Beardsley produced a prodigious amount of work and yet died at the age of 25. It is extraordinary to imagine what he might have accomplished in a more generous lifespan.