Ateneum's year 2012 will culminate in an international exhibition devoted to Symbolist landscape painting. The exhibition will present a wide selection of poetic, mystical and sensual interpretations of nature, painted between 1880 and 1910,... Read More
Ateneum's year 2012 will culminate in an international exhibition devoted to Symbolist landscape painting. The exhibition will present a wide selection of poetic, mystical and sensual interpretations of nature, painted between 1880 and 1910, including landscapes by such masters as Gauguin, Van Gogh, Munch, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Monet and Whistler. Other European artists that will be featured include Hammershøi, Hodler, Signac, Strindberg,Leighton and Millais. Finnish Symbolist art will be represented by Väinö Blomstedt, AlbertEdelfelt, AkseliGallen-Kallela, HugoSimberg and EllenThesleff. In all, the exhibition will show works by 52 artists.
This will be the most significant exhibition of art by Van Gogh or Gauguin ever held in Finland. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to Ateneum's close cooperation with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the National Galleries of Scotland.
Symbolist art in Europe
Symbolism was one of the most influential trends in European art in the period 1880-1910. It was characterised by the desire to describe feelings and moods, a passionate pursuit of spirituality and a strong interest in mythologies. Symbolism was not a style, but rather an attitude and vision. It was in part a reaction to industrialisation and materialism that made artists focus on the richness within ourselves rather than on external realities. Visual artists, poets and composers inspired each other, and the interaction between the arts flourished.
Landscapes were an ideal subject for symbolists. The pulsating vitality of the sun, the rage of storms and the mystical twilight are familiar and recognisable experiences for everyone. Nature and its elements served as the raw materials that were shaped by the artists to express a certain state of mind.
From the Finnish perspective, 52 Souls– Symbolist Landscape is a continuation of the exhibition Illusions of Reality, which present international naturalism at the Ateneum Art Museum in the first half of 2011. 52 Souls also links Finnish art history with international trends. The exhibition is made possible thanks to close cooperation between Ateneum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the National Galleries of Scotland.