Symbolism

1880 - 1910

A mystic search for meaning and psychological truth.

Though it began as a literary concept, Symbolism was soon identified with the artwork of a younger generation of painters who were similarly rejecting the conventions of Naturalism. Symbolist painters believed that art should reflect an emotion or idea rather than represent the natural world in the objective, quasi-scientific manner embodied by Realism and Impressionism. Returning to the personal expressivity advocated by the Romantics earlier in the nineteenth century, they felt that the symbolic value or meaning of a work of art stemmed from the recreation of emotional experiences in the viewer through color, line, and composition. In painting, Symbolism represents a synthesis of form and feeling, of reality and the artist's inner subjectivity. 

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Symbolism: Artists

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Symbolism: Artworks

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