2014 A to Z: A is for Art Nouveau

This is my first year participating in the A to Z Challenge. For the month of April, I –and over 2,000 other participants — will put up a new, daily post with a topic that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet and, in my case, revolves around the historical elements that have informed my new novel, Famine. (You didn’t think I’d miss the chance for a book plug, didja?)

Today is the first day so, naturally, I’m starting with:

AA is for Art Nouveau

Popular during the late-Victorian and early-Edwardian periods (1890-1910), art nouveau is a distinctive style that appeared not only in the fine arts, but architecture, lighting, decorating, textiles, silver, jewelry, and interior design. It’s inspired by natural forms and curved lines and shows the artists’ attempts to harmonize with nature.

Here are a few examples of art nouveau design:

Famine takes place during the height of the art nouveau period (1895-1906) and I’ve tried to capture the connection between the characters and their natural environment:

For so long he had been forced to surrender his soul’s power to his enemy. For so long this gift had been extracted from him against his will. Bartholomew had forgotten the wonder of it. And he’d forgotten that with the pain of becoming an aesir, he’d gained this wondrous connection to the earth and the heavens, the souls and all the living things.

Past Smith’s Cove, Larissa took him into a wide track of pines, maples, and alders as the path skirted high bluffs. The trees swayed and groaned. Their leaves chattered as the warm breeze danced amid them and sprinkled Bartholomew and his horse with raindrops.

He reined in the mare and closed his eyes. From the woods around him and the detritus beneath the Hanoverian’s feet came the small, scuttling movements of beetles and worms, mice and birds. From the houses, tenements, and buildings behind him the sweet and sour notes of the chorus of souls ebbed and flowed.

He opened his eyes. He could pick any spirit, feel its fears, know its dreams.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out some of the other A to Z bloggers, leave comments, and see what everyone else has to say about A today.


  • And if you would like to learn more about Art Nouveau: join me on my Journey into getting to know Art Nouveau at http://aboutartnouveau.wordpress.com/

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Thanks! I’ll stop by and check out your blog. 😀

  • Nice post–love the Art Nouveau pics.

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Hi Nancy! Thanks! 😀 I adore art nouveau design.

  • I’m into art–so I found this fascinating! We don’t normally think about how art could show what our characters think about their environment when world building. A new thing for me to think about! Good choice for A 🙂

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Thank you, Abby. 😀 I love exploring all the aspects of character and their environment. So many subtle nuances. (And thanks for stopping by my blog. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond!)

  • Oh, now this is seriously cool! I saw some Firefly-related Art Nouveau a while back on Pinterest and fell in love with it, thanks so much for explaining a little bit more about this amazing genre. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the month brings 🙂

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Thanks, C.E. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. (Publishing got in the way!) How can anyone not admire art nouveau? It’s stunning.