The Culture Shock that was Art Nouveau
To understand Art Nouveau you first have to understand the ground it grew out of. The cultural and political shock of the French Revolution had left deep wounds throughout Europe and caused artists to resort to traditional art styles. In these traditions there was a familiarity, recognisability and in some sense a safety. With the advent of Gothic Revival, in England, and Neoclassical, Neo Renaissance and Neo Baroque styles emerging across Europe there was a clear demand for visual art that harkened back to past eras.