Depending on which authority one consults, one is likely to get widely different interpretations of this style. To some art historians, the term "symbolist" can be used to describe artists as dissimilar as Paul Gauguin, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. To others, Symbolism is a specific, short-lived but important phase in art history.
For our present purposes, let us establish Symbolism as a style in (primarily) painting in vogue briefly during the 19th century. Artists involved with the Symbolist movement illustrate best what this style was about, and so therefore it is to the major artists that we will now turn.
Fernand Khnopff | Khnopff was from Belgium, and many of his works reveal a debt to the Nineteenth century fascination with the femme fatale, or fatal woman.
Gustave Moreau | French artist Gustave Moreau specialized in depicting mythological scenes, and his paintings suggest he was also inspired by a slightly sinister muse...
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes | Pierre Puvis de Chavannes was one of France's greatest decorative painters - he specialized in spectacular murals that adorn public buildings.
Odilon Redon | Redon's works reminds one of a dream, or, in some cases, a strange and haunting nightmare. See why Odilon Redon is considered one of the most intriguing Symbolist artists in this section.
Symbolist Themes | A list - with definitions - of some of the most important themes and motifs used by Symbolist artists, from the Chimera to the Sphinx.
Robert Goldwater's book introduces us to the some of the artists and concepts involved with the complicated but fascinating art movement known as Symbolism. In chapters with such provocative titles as "Suggestion, Mystery, Dream", the author leads us to an understanding of this important 19th century style.
The Art Book
This beautiful book is sure to enhance any art lover's library. Stunning color images grace the pages, and every picture is accompanied by a concise description of each featured work and artist.