Art Nouveau Snail

An image of a metal snail on a leaf sitting on a round grey box. The box is sitting on grass amongst green leaves.
The Art Nouveau Snail on the lawn of Eldon House

Country of Origin: France
Year: ca. 1900
Materials: Metal 

This piece is typical to the Art Nouveau style in its subject matter and attention to detail.  Plant life, insects, winged creatures, and organic forms of all kinds figured largely in Art Nouveau jewelry and decorative objects. Art Nouveau was a movement in the visual and decorative arts popular from the early 1890s up to the First World War. It is viewed by some as the first self-conscious attempt to create a modern style. Its influence can be found in painting, sculpture, jewelry, metalwork, glass, and ceramics and was a movement that self-consciously tried to marry art and decoration into one object. The pieces produced in this style are almost all hand-made and often small. Many names refer specifically to the organic forms that were popular with the Art Nouveau artists: Stile Floreal (“floral style”), Lilienstil (“lily style”), Style Nouille (“noodle style”), Paling Stijl (“eel style”), and Wellenstil (“wave style”).  The philosophy of the style followed in the footsteps of the “Arts and Craft” movement, suggesting that if one surrounded themselves with beautiful handmade objects which had aesthetic value, their lives would be intrinsically improved.