The astrology of Art Nouveau

 

Alphonse Mucha

I recently visited an Alphonse Mucha exhibit at our local museum with my sister.  Mucha was an artist during the Art Nouveau period, and of course Art Nouveau heavily influenced the aesthetic of the 1960s when I was growing up including all of those Fillmore posters for bands like Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

The planet Neptune is associated with spirituality and creativity, and has also come to define the aesthetic sensibilities of an era. Neptune’s discovery in 1846 coincides with the emergence of spiritualism as well as idealistic Utopian communities.  In the world of art, this was the time when Realism in the art world gave way to Impressionism.  We can see the workings of Neptune – subtle and watery – in the works of Impressionists such as Monet.

Neptune was in Aquarius (reason) when it was discovered but by 1849 it had made the shift into Pisces where it was able to operate unfettered by the constraints of Realism which emerged around the time that Neptune, invisible at the time, went into Aquarius.

In 1885, Pluto moved from Taurus into Gemini.  Taurus is associated with money and financial security, and the Pluto in Taurus period (1852-1884) saw unprecedented economic growth in some areas, and destitution in others. The accumulation of wealth in the upper classes led to the “Gilded Age,”- the upper classes had money to spend, and they wanted to spend it on art.  According to Wikipedia, “New technologies in printing and publishing (Gemini rules communication) allowed Art Nouveau to quickly reach a global audience.”

Neptune entered Gemini in 1889 and began to approach a conjunction to Pluto which began officially in 1891.  Neptune/Pluto alignments are associated with dramatic changes in popular culture and that was certainly true during this time period!  Art Nouveau emerged in Brussels in 1895 and began to spread around the world.  A hallmark of the Art Nouveau period is its unification of fine art with other types of design including packaging and posters along with interior design.

The Neptune/Pluto conjunction ended around 1898 (the exact conjunction finished earlier but it took a few years for the two planets to separate beyond the range of effect).  The Art Nouveau movement peaked in 1900 with the Paris Exposition and its popularity began to wane with the emergence of Fauvism, a new form of modernist art which preceded the Cubism of Picasso.

To me, so much of the magic of astrology is seeing the patterns that form the backdrop of human life, and this is just one example. ❤️

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