Van Gogh to Kandinsky | Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910

  • 14th July − 14th October 2012 | Scottish National Gallery | £10 (£7)

Dreams and Visions

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the science of psychology emerged, extending knowledge of the human mind and the unconscious. Symbolist artists attempted to open the door to look beneath the surface of visible reality to the world of dreams and nightmares.

Landscape provided a number of possibilities for the suggestion of mental states. Gauguin, Munch and Van Gogh using vivid colour to express their very personal visions: the religious fervour of a simple Breton community in a vermilion field; the inner turmoil of a couple walking along a deserted beach; or the symbolic figure of the Sower set against a vivid green sky.

Other artists created metamorphic dream worlds: a protective mother transformed into a dust storm rushing through a cornfield, symbolising the much-beleaguered Polish nation; or crashing waves which metamorphose into galloping white stallions.

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