Symbolism in Belgium – Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Symbolism in Belgium
26.03 – 27.06.2010
With more than two hundred works the exhibition is based on the original research by its curator, Michel Draguet. Published in 2005 his essay ‘Le Symbolisme en Belgique’ develops on the different tendencies of the last artistic movement that has largely anticipated the genesis of the surrealist movement in Belgium.
The Dead Orpheus, 1893
Oil on canvas, 82 x 103 cm
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
© SABAM Belgium, 2010
From Rops to Spilliaert, via Khnopff, Delville or Minne, the exhibition displays a rich panorama of artistic creation at the end of the century. At the same time it sketches the picture of a society in crisis. It also considers the importance of foreign influences like Wagnerism in the opera or the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and it integrates the significant development of the decorative arts and Art nouveau of which Brussels will become the capital. A particular emphasis is put on the essential relation between Symbolism and literature.
Is the Symbolist movement the last appearance of « Humanism » just before the cataclysm of the First World War or does it, through the whole of artistic expressions typical for the end of the century, pave the ground for 20th-century art ? Is it the last blossoming of a tradition in agony or the first seed of a future modernity ?
Enriched with European and American loans, the exhibition and its complementary activities offer the first major panorama of the Symbolist movement in Belgium. While including all areas of creation, it has shaped a sensitivity that has lost nothing of its topical character.
Pencil, pastel and watercolour on paper, 29 x 18 cm
Courtesy Galerie Historismus, Brussels
© All rights reserved
Self-Portrait with Red Pencil, 1908
Indian ink, wash, brush, gouache, coloured pencil on paper, 84.5 X 68.2 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Ostend
© SABAM Belgium 2010
Courtesy Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Images are © All rights reserved with the individual owners