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30 November 2018Decadents, Symbolists and Realists (c. 1870 - 1900)
23 November 2018Art and Literature Entwined: Book Illustrations from Albrecht Durer to Arthur Rackham
15 November 2018Romance Literature and the Arts of the Middle Ages
09 November 2018Art and Literature in the Florence of Lorenzo the Magnificent
02 November 2018Art and Literature in Russian Society
14 May 2018Scandinavian Glass of the 20th Century
09 March 2018Nordic Spirit: Grieg, Ibsen and Munch
26 February 2018The Splendours of Scandinavian Art
01 December 2017Between the Far East and Europe: the Islamic world as an artistic source and cultural conduit.
24 November 2017The Triumph of the Arts over Politics and Religion in the Age of Reformation and Counter Reformation
16 November 2017From East to West and Back again: Cultural Exchange in the Middle Ages
10 November 2017The Bauhaus and Beyond: The Arts in Europe Between the World Wars
03 November 2017Art Nouveau from St Petersburg to Mexico City: Art for the People

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Decadents, Symbolists and Realists (c. 1870 - 1900) Anne Anderson Friday 30 November 2018


30 November 2018
 - Anne Anderson

1030am - 3.30pm

Southampton City Art Gallery

£25 per day or £125 for the full course of 5 days including coffee/tea

Please see here to book.

Decadents, Symbolists and Realists (c. 1870 - 1900)

During the late 19th century, the Aesthetic Movement entered a dark phase. Earlier the likes of Théophile Gautier and Charles Baudelaire had expressed their preference for the beautiful and exotic, for fantasy and artifice and for the primacy of, but inherent disillusion in pleasure. However, Baudelaire’s work was frequently illustrated by the Belgian artist Félicien Rops. There is invariably a strange synergy between text and illustration. Rops delighted in breaking artistic convention and shocking the public with gruesome, fantastical horror. He was explicitly interested

in the Satanic and he frequently sought to portray the double threat of Satan and Woman as a femme fatale. Literary Decadence and Symbolists Art delved into the human psyche. Psychoanalysis provided a means to unlock the darker recesses of the human mind. Dissident sexual desires, the subconscious and dream visions fired the imagination of artists and writers. Both now sought to shock, scandalise and subvert the values of society, believing that such freedom and creative experimentation would better humanity.

Oscar Wilde stands out as the leading British author, his novel The Picture of Dorian Grey was castigated as immoral and his play Salome banned. The lafer was illustrated by the enfant terrible Aubrey Beardsley. Beardsley was the book illustrator of the ‘Yellow Nineties’. This sobriquet was inspired by The Yellow Book, a quarterly magazine that encapsulated the era. Wilde belonged to a circle of artists and writers which included Charles Rickets, Charles Shannon, Richard La Gallienne, Arthur Willam Symons and John Addington Symonds. Many of them contributed to The Yellow Book. When Wilde was convicted of gross indecency, the decadents went ‘underground’. Inevitably many fled to Paris

In contrast, Henrik Ibsen has been lauded as the ‘Father of Realism” and the founder of Modern Theatre. He is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world aeer Shakespeare. He influenced other playwrights and novelists including George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. Inspired by Ibsen, Edvard Munch, who illustrated Peer Gynt and Hedda Gabler and created sets for Ghosts and Hedda Gabler, explored sexual awakening, unrequited love and death. No one created the angst of the era more effectively than Munch. Indeed, Munch’s Scream is as famed as Leonardo’s Mona Lisa.

All the writers and artists covered in the lectures responded to the spirit of the age, notably the anxiety of coming to terms with modern life.