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Symbolism Hardcover – July 1, 1995


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Hardcover, July 1, 1995
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen (July 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822893242
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822893241
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.2 x 12.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,884,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gilles Neret was an art historian, journalist, writer, and museum correspondent. He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L'Oeil and Connaissance des Arts and received the Elie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications. Neret is the editor of TASCHEN'S catalogues raisonnes of the works of Monet and Velazquez, as well as the author of Dali The Paintings and Erotica Universalis. He died on August 3, 2005. Michael Gibson is an independent scholar and philosopher (currently editor in chief of UNESCO's World Heritage Review) who has been writing on art over the past thirty years for numerous publications, including the International Herald-Tribune. He has published numerous books, including studies of Bruegel, Gauguin, Duchamp and Calder. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
83%
4 star
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2 star
8%
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See all 12 customer reviews
Each geographical area's art is well explained.
Ulalume Viva Jones
The irony was that even in naturalism and escapism, artists were bumping up against issues of disassociation, like other currents of Modern Art.
Mr Pen Name
227 pages of full color reproductions plus 20 pages of biographies.
August Treesun

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
I picked up a copy of Michael Gibson's wonderful book at the largest exhibtion of Symbolist Art a few years ago in Toronto, and found it to be an excellent and thoroughly accesible introduction and overview of this fascinating and haunting art and the period of the "fin-de-siecle". The reader from AZ wants to know if there are any "better" books on the subject-- perhaps-- Phillipe Julien's classic "bible" of Symbolist Art, THE SYMBOLISTS and the follow-up, DREAMERS OF DECADENCE. In the early '80s Rizzoli/Skira published SYMBOLISTS AND SYMBOLISM, and in the '90's, Rizzoli published THE SYMBOLIST GENERATION, and Abrams published, THE SYMBOLISTS. All of these titles are beautifully produced, lavishly illustrated hardcovers that are unfortunately hard to find (and in good condition at a good price). Mr. Gibson's book seems to be readily available (in hc and pb), and it is truly a vaulable addition to anyone's art library, or to anyone curious about this beautiful school of art.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "repeatonceagain" on August 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastic! Seemingly hundreds of gorgeous paintings including lots of discriptions of the paintings and their meanings. Beyond that, the book puts the art work in historical perspective with an explanation of the life and times of the people who created the paintings.
Want to know the greatness of this work, just open to pages 94 and 95. Opposite each other on the two pages are the following: "The Angels of Night" by William Degouve de Nuncques in which "angels kiss in a ghostly, supernatural park" and "Satan's Treasures" by Jean Delville where "luxurious bodies lie sleeping among the seaweed and coral as Satan, with a dancer's agility, bestrides and takes possesion of them."
In my opinion, symbolism in art is one of the most interesting topics in the world. This book is a fitting tribute to the topic.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I owned this book in hardback a number of years ago and somehow lost it (probably loaned it to a friend). I was so glad to find it again. This book has great color pictures and a wide variety of well-known (and obscure) visual Symbolist artists, with an overview of other Symbolist art as well (music, poetry). I highly recommend this book over any other on the subject. If someone knows of a better book, please let me know!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ulalume Viva Jones VINE VOICE on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am not sure who could call Pre-Raphaelite art "ugly" or other symbolist artwork. There is a small chunk of cubism in here, but that is more interesting than ugly. To me, this is another excellent Taschen book (like there are bad Taschen books out there!). It covers the Symbolist movement by geographical area. Symbolism in general is a dark romantic, gothic movement, where many literary and mythological figures are represented, usually in paint. It was a reaction to the grimy realness of the artistic movements before. So most of the artwork in this book is very beautiful and where it isn't, it is because it is a painting of a Minotaur or Cyclops. But still, it is very well done art. Those who don't get the art movement can look at paintings of pretty girls, which there are many. Plus, the gracefulness of the Art Nouveau style. Blake is in here too, well, anyone who is anyone in this period of art. I love Symbolism art and poetry because it deals with dreams and having a vivid imagination, which I think is needed in this modern world. I highly recommend this book. It is a good price for a large hardcover book of art. Each geographical area's art is well explained. My only confusion is that I thought the model for the painting Venus Verticordia was May Morris, not her mom. And the author says the Venus is standing between dying and living flowers, with both an arrow for death and a golden apple in her hands for life. I always thought the roses were all alive and the arrow was a symbol of Cupid. To each their own opinion, I guess. But I would read other symbolism books along with this one to get different opinions of what the artwork means. Great book for the price. Especially since I got it at a charity book sale for a buck! Even under $12 is great though!
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mr Pen Name on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Modern Art has often been understood as a progression from (somewhere, roughly around) the slashing strokes of Frans Hals, to the atmospheres of Turner and Monet, to the Fauves, to Matisse's dissolution of perspective, exacerbated by the Cubists, and ultimately to the abstract expressionists, with Dada as the inflection point to complete and utter nihilism. Towering, arbitrary, disassociative works, archly typified by Barnett Newmann, were the logical conclusion of that reduction.

Compared to that march of 'progress', Symbolism might seem recidivist or quaint at first sight, for its naturalism and pagan spirituality. Symbolism, Michael Gibson explains, is related in part to the Arts and Crafts movement, but also to Pre-Raphaelism, to the last vestiges of Catholicism in rural France, Art Nouveau, and mysticism, with a home in the music of the late Romantics.

And yet even with its emphasis on natural beauty and radiance, the disassociation is already evident in images of Ophelia, cemeteries, and abandoned idylls. People can't interact and are reduced to the decorative plane. The irony was that even in naturalism and escapism, artists were bumping up against issues of disassociation, like other currents of Modern Art.

To my mind, the Symbolist aesthetic finds its way into the late 20th century through rock music. This too was an art of long hair, physical beauty, and fantasy. For reviving this Symbolic/Romantic aesthetic and celebrating it with a book, Michael Gibson has contributed something valuable to art historiography.
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