| art history
| 19th c.
| The term chimera refers to a mythical monster, often fantastic in nature. Many Symbolist artists represented this creature in their works.
| Flowers have long been associated with specific symbolic meanings in art and literature, and Symbolist artists drew upon this tradition. Some favorite flowers are the iris, lily, and the rose.
| Luxuriant, flowing hair was a favorite Symbolist motif - hair often either took the form of stylized and decorative tresses or more sinister locks used to snare the unwary.
| The legendary Greek mythological monster who could turn her victims to stone with a glance was a favorite with Symbolist artists.
| Shakespeare's tragic heroine played an important role in many Symbolist works.
| The beautiful peacock, with its colorful feathers and showy demeanor, is often used by artists to symbolize vanity.
| The seductive dance of Salome is a favorite subject of many Symbolist artists. French artist Gustave Moreau
is perhaps best known for his remarkable depictions of Salome.
| The deadly Sphinx, with her secrets and notorious riddle, was another favorite Symbolist subject. She appears in the works of Gustave Moreau and Fernand Khnopff.
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.