Monday, November 29, 2010


"We have proposed Symbolism as the only denomination capable of describing in a reasonable way the present tendency of the creative spirit in art [...] Enemy of teaching, of declamation, of false sensibility, of objective description, Symbolist poetry intends to clothe the Idea with a sensorial form which, however, will not in itself be the final aim but, while serving to express the Idea, will be subjected to it.[...] In this art [...] all concrete phenomena do not manifest themselves as such: they are the sensorial appearances whose function is to represent their esoteric affinities with the primordial Ideas.[...] For the exact expression of its synthesis, Symbolism requires an archetypical and complex style "

Le Symbolisme - Manifeste de Jean Moréas ,
Figaro, September 18, 1886.

the above is my translation from:
Les premières armes du symbolisme
edited and published by Léon Vanier
Paris, 1889
available at:

Odilon Redon (1840–1916)
Les yeux clos 1890

Gustave Moreau (1826–1898) 
Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Orpheus on His Lyre
1865, Oil on canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901)
Der Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead) 1886
Oil on wood, 80 × 150 cm
Museum der bildenden Künste

Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918) 
Die Nacht (The Night)  1889-1890
Oil on canvas, 116.5 × 299 cm
Kunstmuseum Bern
Bern (Switzerland)

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