Art Nouveau Symbolism Is an Important Thought Essay

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Art Nouveau

Symbolism is an important thought movement that occurred in the nineteenth century as a reaction against naturalism and realism which focused on accepting reality and praising it just as it is, in its harshest aspects. Symbolism was to be found in all the areas of art, from poetry to literature and painting.

But the movement was too strong to concentrate just upon the arts. Philosophy was another area that symbolism marked, demonstrating that this thought current was actually a response to the cultural and social needs of the century. Rather then depicting reality directly, symbolism used representations charged with various meanings, full of connotations and denotations that the receivers of the message were supposed to decode and interpret. By using symbols, the new current artists were trying to get deep into the brain of the audiences.

Probably one of the most famous symbolist poems is Rimbaud's Vowels: "A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,/I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins." Besides being an example of symbolist thought, the poem is also very well-known for its use of synesthesia, a neurological process in which once a cognitive level is stimulated it causes experiences in a secondary cognitive level in an automatic manner. It is through this means that the poet creates a relation of synonymy between the vowels and the colours. In this manner language and images become strictly connected.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Art Nouveau Symbolism Is an Important Thought Assignment

There are more vowels than consonants in the vocabulary, so it is safe to say that Rimbaud attempts to take control of almost the entire reality. Since we build reality through images and representations which are directly connected with language, once a certain vision has been imposed on language (and not only its perception), then the depiction of reality will only follow this path. "I" will be the most important subject, vital and energetic, powerful, red, while "you" the other will be calm and soothing, green and all of us will be living in a world where black is dominant (the vowel "a"), but which is at the same time full of strong smells, plants, flowers and beautiful manifestations of divinity.

Another work that can be taken into consideration when discussing symbolism is the painting "The kiss," by Gustav Klimt. In this painting a man is holding a woman in an embrace, kissing her while their bodies mix. The erotic suggestion is very strong, but at the same time, the colours and the fluidity of the lines suggests the idea of love ad tenderness, fulfilment and serenity.

The woman is pictured as powerful and her sexuality is underlined. Unlike the woman from the past centuries, this new woman is languorous and uses her sexuality in order to obtain and maintain power.

A third symbolist work that can be mentioned in this context is the theatrical play called "The blind," written by Maurice Maeterlick. The interesting fact about it is that the characters are not completely built. T

he indications that the playwright gives are minimal, thus allowing the directors and the audiences to create and interpret the characters according to their own perspectives of the world and their own desires.

The blindness of the characters is to be interpreted in a symbolic manner. If all the characters are deprived of their sight, this may suggest that all people are actually unable to see reality as it is. What we are actually doing is creating reality according to our needs, just like the audience does with the characters.

Art Nouveau on the other hand is a thinking current the manifestations of which were mainly present in the area of architecture and applied art. Just like symbolism was a reaction to the thinking currents before it, such as naturalism and realism, art nouveau came as a response to the academic style that characterized much of the nineteenth century.

Art nouveau artists believed that art should be part of everyday life and integrated in people's homes an not just to be admire in the museums. New forms, curvilinear and flowing, flower and plants inspired motives were just some of the characteristics of the new architecture and design styles which had the purpose to allow people to live art and not just contemplate it.

One of the artists which is associated with the movement is Antoni Gaudi, famous for his architectural endeavours in Barcelona, such as the Sagrada Familia or the Casa Batlo. The latter one has an overwhelmingly beautiful facade, the balcony built in a fluid line. The shapes of the windows are also irregular. The facade is made of mosaic and the roof is arched to resemble the curved back of an animal.

In Belgium one of the important art nouveau architects was Victor Horta, who amongst other things designed The Temple of Human passions and a series of hotels such as Solvay, Tassel orvan Eetvelde. The style that they all have in common is known as whiplash- non-geometric curved lines, open plan areas and a setting of the windows that allows for a special lighting of the interiors.

As far as Paris is concerned one notable figure in the area of art nouveau architects is Hector Guimard. A relevant example from his works is represented by the Castel Beranger which has a beautiful blue gate made of iron which is asymmetrically built.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was another art nouveau popular figure, this time in the United Kingdom. It is interesting to acknowledge the fact that he was influenced by the Japanese design style, simple and economic, opposed to the abundance that was popular in Europe.

Instead of focusing on furniture as a proof of the social status of its owner, the new architects focused on the efficacious use of space and integration of new technologies reflecting a change of mentality as well- a shift of perspective from tradition and history towards the present and the conception of the future. The Glasgow style differs for example from the art nouveau style that can be found in Barcelona trough the mix of Celtic and Japanese elements and the preference for simplicity.

But these were not the only important changes taking place at the end of the nineteenth century. Yes, a new taste for beauty was being born, prose was being written in a new manner and poetry as well.

Artists were covering reality with a magic veil, while architects presented a more fluid and flowing vision of life as opposed to the one of order and sobriety that people were accustomed with. Philosophers were also drawn by a new aesthetics. All in all it can be stated that these changes reflected the transformations of society during those times.

Another thing that was changing was the status of the woman and also her perception. From this point-of-view we may speak about the so called new woman ideal. And new she was indeed. Beforehand the role of the woman was to get married and bear children, being a sort of slave of her husband's and having only a minimum power of decision upon her own life. The ideal of the new woman describes a completely different status for women.

First and foremost the new woman is well educated. She has a secondary education and preferably she has gone to college as well. This allows her to have a more complex view and understanding of the world. Not only is she supposed to have a high education, but also to be able to use it in a wise manner, to her advantage, in order to create herself a future according to her needs and desires.

The fact that she has a superior education is meant to help her get a good job with a decent remuneration that will provide her with the needed independence. Being financially independent implies that she will no longer depend on masculine figures such as the father, the fiance or the husband.

In addition to being independent from all point-of-view, the new woman will be able to participate actively at the political life. Besides being able to vote, she is supposed to be able to take part at discussions and get involved in processes which imply decision making. After all she has the general culture and the financial independence to support her in the affirming herself not as a woman, but as a person.

The newly acquired freedom has consequences upon the marital status as well. The new woman can decide freely regarding who and when she marries, if she wants to have children, when and how many, etc. this implies that she is free to use her sexuality as she pleases. J

ust like the woman in Kilmt's paintings, the new woman is aware of her capacity of being a femme fatale and she may very well use it to her advantage. As far as dress is concerned, the new woman can afford o be less traditional and pay more attention to what she considers best fitting for her (even if it is not… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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