In the decade of the 1880s, the dominating currents in art, Impressionism and Naturalism, are losing speed. Symbolism grew strong on their decadence and brought together creators who formed throughout Europe a multitude of national schools with different colorings. In this book, rich in matter but sometimes cut out in a complex way, the main representatives of Symbolism are scrutinized: in France, Gustave Moreau, Puvis de Chavannes and Redon, in Belgium Khnopff and Spilliaert, in England the preraphaelites, in Italy Segantini and Wildt, in Switzerland Hodler, etc. We also find pleasure in rediscovering less-known creators such as Anquetin, Léon Frédéric or Gallen-Kallela. Art that gives preference to ideas rather than to reality, that sticks to a subjective vision of the world and which wants to bring out again the great myths of the past, Symbolism had beautiful descendants, directly and indirectly: would Surealism and conceptual art have emerged without its intervention?
• Le Symbolisme par Rodolphe Rapetti, collection Tout l’Art, Flammarion, 2007, 320 p., 35 €, ISBN : 978-2-0812-0783-7
Review published in the newsletter #73 - from 17 January 2008 to 23 January 2008