Todessehnsucht und Dekadenz
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Dream, Death and Decadence

Belgian Symbolism
 © Musée d’Ixelles – Brüssel, Foto: Vincent Everarts
May 15, 2020 -  March 31, 2021
Alte Nationalgalerie
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The voluptuous gaze upon the abysmal, the exacerbated aestheticism of a jaded society, which considered itself as being in crisis, the morbid allurement of the tension between Thanatos and Eros – all these are artistic topics that took shape in the late nineteenth century and found expression especially in Belgian Symbolism. In sharp contrast to naturalists’ and impressionists’ excitement for those facets of modernity that lie on the surface and in the ephemeral, a new artistic movement emerged in the 1880s, whose main characteristics were sensuality, fascination for magic, profound signification, as well as irrationality. Thus, symbolism can be regarded, in many aspects, as an anticipation of Freud’s theory on the interpretation of dreams, which was eventually published in 1899.

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