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by Michael Francis Gibson

"To clothe the idea in perceptible form," proposed the poet Jean Moreas in his 1886 "Manifesto of Symbolism". It was in France and Belgium, the cradles of literary Symbolism, that Symbolist painting was born. It plunged headlong into the cultural space opened up by the poetry of Baudelaire and Mallarme and by the operas of Wagner. Symbolist painters sought not to represent appearances but to express "the Idea," and the imaginary therefore plays an important part in their work. "Dream" was their credo; they execrated, with a fanatical hatred, impressionism, realism, naturalism, and the scientistic. The main principle of Symbolism, that of "correspondences," was to attain harmony between all the different arts, or even to realise the total work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk) that Wagner had dreamt of creating. What we rediscover today, after a period of neglect, is this: Symbolist painting is essential to our understanding of modern art, not only because it spread across the world like wildfire, creating disciples from Russia to the United States, from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean, but because it was the source of a series of mutations without which modern art would not be what it is.
Download Symbolism (Big Series Art) epub
ISBN: 3822870307
ISBN13: 978-3822870303
Category: Photography
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: Michael Francis Gibson
Language: English
Publisher: Taschen; 2nd edition (December 1, 1999)
Pages: 256 pages
ePUB size: 1321 kb
FB2 size: 1216 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 575
Other Formats: mobi rtf txt docx

This is the best art book I've bought in years. I have bought many.
Beautiful and mysterious imagery with interesting text. It is a good overview of the symbolist movement.
Wild Python
This is a good book covering many pictures. The text does not dominate so much. There is also more width to it, as it covers important parts of the world art scene. I am no expert, i am more of an explorer into art, and i greatly appreciate this book, because it gives a taste of many different artists. Nice one!
227 pages of full color reproductions plus 20 pages of biographies.A great history of a great movement.The paper is smooth,glossy,wonderful.
this is an excellent book for artists and art lovers who have an interest in Symbolism.this is a great resource for students too.
I honestly don't know how this book has garnered so many positive reviews here, because for my money this is a typical example of why I don't buy Taschen art books. Let's begin with the text. Anyone who is unable to summon up at least a little respect for Puvis de Chavannes has no business writing a book about Symbolist art. Along with Gustave Moreau, Puvis is the fountainhead of Symbolism, or so I always thought, yet Michael Gibson dismisses him as "the official artist of the Third Republic," and then moves on. This same dismissive and condescending attitude pervades the book like a bad odor. The author clearly feels he is superior to most of the material he's obliged to cover, as if this book is just another paying job for another hard-working art historian. I'd far rather read something that results from curiosity and enthusiasm rather than the profit motive, but, after all, we really only buy art books for the pictures, right? Right, and there are lots of pictures here, by many different artists, at least half of whom are probably not Symbolists at all, but no matter. The quality of the reproductions is generally poor, and the layout is chaotic and unpleasant. If you don't already have it, buy Philippe Jullian's 1973 classic, "The Symbolists" instead.
I picked up a copy of Michael Gibson's wonderful book at the largest exhibtion of Symbolist Art a few years ago in Toronto, and found it to be an excellent and thoroughly accesible introduction and overview of this fascinating and haunting art and the period of the "fin-de-siecle". The reader from AZ wants to know if there are any "better" books on the subject-- perhaps-- Phillipe Julien's classic "bible" of Symbolist Art, THE SYMBOLISTS and the follow-up, DREAMERS OF DECADENCE. In the early '80s Rizzoli/Skira published SYMBOLISTS AND SYMBOLISM, and in the '90's, Rizzoli published THE SYMBOLIST GENERATION, and Abrams published, THE SYMBOLISTS. All of these titles are beautifully produced, lavishly illustrated hardcovers that are unfortunately hard to find (and in good condition at a good price). Mr. Gibson's book seems to be readily available (in hc and pb), and it is truly a vaulable addition to anyone's art library, or to anyone curious about this beautiful school of art.