Style and Influences
The early twentieth century was a time when many styles and influences converged. Harry Clarke lived and worked in an era of unprecedented artistic diversity. In Ireland, the Celtic revival in arts and literature championed Irish folklore and language (O’Connor: 1999).
In Britain, the Arts and Crafts movement followed in the footsteps of the pre-Raphaelites, espousing fine craftsmanship in the face of increased industrialisation (Hawksley: 1999; Wood: 1998; Zacziek: 1999). In Europe the style of art nouveau placed importance on ornamentation and quality craftsmanship (Lorenz: 1987).
In France, symbolism emerged as a highly imaginative art form, rooted in fantasy and imagination (Graham-Dixon: 2008, p. 382). In Vienna, the secessionists, including Klimt, experimented with highly decorative artworks (Schmidt: 1988). In the mid 1920s the international style for decorative arts became known as art deco, where elegance and functionality were espoused (Graham-Dixon: 2008, p. 459).
Harry Clarke was influenced by many aspects of these artistic styles. Yet he developed his own distinct and unique style: his incredible colours, decorative designs and beautiful medieval-style figures that have rarely found an equal in the medium of stained glass.
O’Connor, U, Celtic Dawn: A Portrait of the Irish Literary Renaissance, Town House, Dublin, 1999
Graham-Dixon, A., Art: The Definite Visual Guide, Dorling Kindersley, London, 2008
Hawksley, L, Essential Pre-Raphaelites, Dempsey Parr/Paragon, Bath, 1999
Lorenz, O, Art nouveau, Gallery Press, Leicester, 1987
Schmidt, L., Gustav Klimt, Artline Editions, Avon, 1988
Tobien, F., Art Nouveau Paintings, Artline Editions, Avon, 1990
Wood, C, Burne-Jones, Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1998
Zacziek, I, Essential William Morris, Dempsey Parr/Paragon, Bath, 1999
Text By Lucy Costigan 2009