Follow the Seal

Two angels transporting the Saint Bride to Bethlehem to witness the Nativity. Scenes of the life of Christ are sewn into the garments of the angels. John Duncan is often characterized as a Symbolist artist because of his style, but also because he had a strong desire to understand the mysteries of nature as they relate to the divine.


Child Wearing a Red Scarf by Edouard Vuillard, c. 1891, The National Gallery of Art (US)

This is one of my favorite Vuillard pieces. It is not very big, but I just love the little girl. She seems so proud to be wearing that "grown-up" scarf  (reminds me of myself as a girl, always wanting to wear something beyond my years). Vuillard was interested in color and he and other like-minded art students (Pierre Bonnard was one) were influenced by Paul Gauguin's use of color and Symbolism and belonged to a group called Les Nabis.

Dream of Flowers

Violette Heymann by Odilon Redon, 1910, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Symbolism is a genre that often is over-looked for Surrealism or Impressionism. It has roots in literature, the author Baudelaire is credited with its formation and being influenced by Poe. Many of the 19th century artists whose work is having a renaissance recently: Klimt, Moreau, Munch, to name a few, are considered to be part of the Symbolist category. Odilon Redon, is best known  for his prints and pastels, and his work is full of symbolism and he is quoted as having said he wanted to "place the visible at the service of the invisible." This is a portrait, so much more straight forward than some of his other works, but the sitter seems to be surrounded by floating flowers, who make her seem dour in comparison.