James Ensor, Christ Calming the Storm, 1891, oil on canvas, Kunstmuseum aan zee (Netherlands)
Akseli Gallen-Kallela, The Broken Pine, 1906, oil on Canvas, 124 × 137cm, Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery/Central Art Archives/Petri Virtanen
But anyway, from the press materials:
The exhibition is organized into the following six themes:
- Ancient and new paradises: Artists like Böcklin, Von Stuck and Puvis de Chavannes took inspiration from classical antiquity and mythology. Others, such as Signac and Gauguin, looked for paradise in unspoiled places far away from modern society.
- Nature and suggestion: Rather than just faithfully representing reality, landscapes by Symbolists such as Gallen-Kallela, Sohlberg and Hodler also reflect the feelings that nature evoked in the artist.
- Dreams and visions: Gauguin, Munch and Malczewski tried to open the gates to the unconscious mind. They painted dreams and visions, the world beneath the surface of observable reality.
- Silent cities: Many Symbolist artists saw modern city life as a threat. Whistler, Degouve de Nuncques and Khnopff transformed the city into a mysterious, dreamlike landscape born of memory and imagination.
- The cosmos: Through their landscapes, painters such as Watts, Van Gogh and Willumsen expressed their ideas about natural forces, cosmic energy, the eternal cycle of the seasons and the insignificance of human beings in the face of nature.
- Into the mystic: In their quest to express the sublime and spiritual, many artists (such as Whistler, Signac and Ciurlionis) drew connections between painting and music, while others (like Mondrian and Kandinsky) took the first steps towards abstraction.
According to the press release, the authors "present an entirely new perspective," from the precursors of symbolism, such as Böcklin and Whistler, to Mondrian and Kandinsky.
At Art & Antiques, check out a conversation about the exhibition with Edwin Becker, chief curator at the Van Gogh Museum.
On Two Coats TV, watch a video tour.
Paul Gauguin, Martinique Landscape, 1887, oil on canvas, 115.00 x 88.50 cm, National Gallery of Scotland
John Everett Millais, Dew-Drenched Furze, 1889-1890, oil on canvas, 173.2 × 123 cm, Tate, London. Presented by Geoffroy Millais in memory of his late father, Sir Ralph Millais Bt 2009.
Vincent van Gogh, Wheatfield with Reaper, 1889, oil on canvas, 73 × 92 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Wassily Kandinsky, Cossacks, 1910–11, oil on canvas, 94.6 x 130.2 cm, Tate, London, Photography © Tate, London 2011
Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910, curated by Rodolphe Rapetti, an expert in landscapes and symbolism, and fellow art historian Richard Thomson, who is a professor at the University of Edinburgh. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland. Through October 14, 2012. The exhibition, which originally debuted at the Van Gogh Museum this past February, will be at the Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, November 16, 2012 through February 13, 2013.
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