Symbolism and Art Nouveau

Many artists in the late 19th century broke from naturalistic representation and sought visual equivalents to poetry and music.

c. 1880 - 1910

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James Ensor, <em>Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889</em>
James Ensor, Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889

The painting mocks humanity, as well as human beliefs and institutions, both civic and religious.

The Nabis and Decorative Art
The Nabis and Decorative Art

Nabi paintings do not allow viewers to get lost in the represented scene and forget that they are looking at colors applied to a surface.

Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau

In the modern period artists recognized that the well-being of society and all its members were supported and enhanced by well-designed objects, buildings, and spaces.

The Nabis and Symbolism
The Nabis and Symbolism

Symbolist artists embraced the spiritual significance of art while rejecting science and objectivity.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Vase
Louis Comfort Tiffany, Vase

Inspired by the sheen of ancient Roman and Syrian glass, Tiffany created startling, modern objects.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, <em>Hair Ornament</em>
Louis Comfort Tiffany, Hair Ornament

Only three inches high, Tiffany captures an ephemeral moment in nature with the most sumptuous materials.

Léon Bakst, “Costume design for the ballet The Firebird”
Léon Bakst, “Costume design for the ballet The Firebird”

Bakst loved this character from Russian folklore, and made a drawing influenced by Cubism and Parisian aesthetics.

Edvard Munch, <em>The Storm</em>
Edvard Munch, The Storm

The anxiety felt by the women waiting for husbands sailing on a stormy sea is almost tangible in Munch’s picture.

Hector Guimard, Cité entrance, Métropolitain, Paris
Hector Guimard, Cité entrance, Métropolitain, Paris

These mass-produced structures brought a new kind of art from the homes of the Parisian elite into the streets.

Franz von Stuck, <em>The Sin</em>
Franz von Stuck, The Sin

Entranced by the evil of the human psyche, we come face to face with art history’s creepiest snake.

Gustav Klimt,<em> The Kiss</em>
Gustav Klimt, The Kiss

With gold that recalls a Byzantine art, Klimt created a modern icon in this cosmic and eternal painting.

Gustav Klimt, <em>Beethoven Frieze</em>
Gustav Klimt, Beethoven Frieze

Originally part of a total work of art, this frieze was accompanied by a sculpture of Beethoven and music by him.

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