World Ceramic: What does it look like?

Long-stemmed blossoms and buds reduced to simplified shapes spread over the swelling shoulder and the top of the lid, while long, intertwined leaves dance around this jar's body. The design is characteristic of Art Nouveau, popular in Sweden at the beginning of the twentieth century. This movement took its inspiration from nature. Pride in Sweden prompted the use of designs based on native flora and fauna.
Art Nouveau's emphasis on nature was a reaction to the problems of the city, like crowded housing, air pollution, and increased industry. People in the cities longed for a simpler time. Romantic themes based on the pleasures of the countryside characterized the art and literature of this period. But Art Nouveau also grew out of an interest in new scientific discoveries, illustrated scientific books, and biological research. Artists saw the vigorous growth and attractive movement of plants as themes, not just decoration.

Art Nouveau found expression in designs for furniture, jewelry, architecture, even the subway stations of Paris. It represented what was new and modern in an effort to reject Old World historical styles. It has been called the first movement to recognize the demands of the modern world, unifying an object with its decoration.  

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