FSU Bookshelf

Symbolism, Its Origins and Its Consequences

Book Title

Symbolism, Its Origins and Its Consequences


Publication Date



Rosina Neginsky

Chapter Title

Against the Tide: Paul Gauguin's Watery Women and Their Symbolist Legacy


Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Place of Publication

Cambridge, UK


Symbolism in art -- History -- Criticism and interpretation, Symbolism (art movement) -- History -- Criticism and interpretation


Symbolism in art -- History -- Criticism and interpretation, Symbolism (art movement) -- History -- Criticisim and interpretation.


Art and Music


History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


The notion of the symbol is at the root of the Symbolist movement, but this symbol is different from the way it was used and understood in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In the Symbolist movement, a symbol is not an allegory. The Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck defined its essence in an article that appeared on April 24, 1887, in L'Art moderne. He wrote that the notion of a symbol in the Symbolist movement is the opposite of the notion of the symbol in classical usage: instead of going from the abstract to the concrete (Venus, incarnated in the statue, represents love), it goes from the concrete to the abstract, from 'what is seen, heard, felt, tasted, and sensed to the evocation of the idea.' This volume attempts to give a glimpse into the power of the Symbolist movement and the nature of its fundamental and interdisciplinary role in the evolution of art and literature of the twentieth century. It records the studies of a group of scholars, who met and discussed these topics together for the first time in 2009. While illuminating the specificity of Symbolism in art, architecture and literature in different European countries, these articles also demonstrate the crucial role of French Symbolism in the development of the international Symbolist movement. The authors hope that an expanding group, a society of Art, Literature and Music in Symbolism and Decadence (ALMSD), born out of the first meeting, will continue to further this discussion at future conferences and in the printed conference proceedings.



Document Type


Symbolism, Its Origins and Its Consequences