Saturday, June 23, 2007

Art Nouveau and Arabian Nights

With the limitless imagination and artistic skill of a dreamer, Edmund Dulac painted to perfection the Eastern paradise as surrounding Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights. Dulac’s visions of exotic maidens, turbaned men, domed minarets, and blooming courtyard gardens in the Arab style were all given marvelous life in his paintings. His musings charmed generations of children – and adults – who through Dulac’s imagery were set to dreaming and then carried away themselves.

Born in Toulouse, France in 1882, Dulac began his career studying to be a lawyer. The profession his parents believed more apt to pay off financially, as compared to a career as an illustrator. But the turn of the century 20th century saw Dulac pursue just that, and his work was met with delighted recognition in the West. In Europe, he became celebrated for his ability to charm and transport his admirers to a world of pointed slippers, flying carpets, magic lamps, minareted cities, and starry desert oases, and tiled Andalusian gardens.

As though Scheherazade herself had spoken the Thousand and One Nights directly to him, Dulac illustrated the fairytale with such detail long before he had ever set foot in lands to the East.
(The above images are from Edmund Dulac's The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam.)