One of the many commendable things about Dreamers of Decadence (1971) by Philippe Jullian is the use of the figure of the chimera to describe the impulse that drove the development of Symbolist art in the late 19th century. A chimera is a fabulous, hybrid creature which is also a metaphor for an unfounded conception or mental phantasm, and chimeras happen to be as popular in Symbolist art as the more familiar sphinx. Both creatures had been given a heady promotion in the fin de siècle imagination thanks to Gustave Flaubert’s extravagant Temptation of Saint Anthony whose final version appeared in 1874; the fluid and metaphoric nature of the chimera, however, makes for a more useful image in art.
Romanian sculptor Dimitrie Paciurea was born around 1874 (his birthdate is uncertain), and is one of those artists who perpetuated Symbolist themes in the 20th century by which time they were rapidly losing the little grace they once possessed. In addition to the profusion of chimeras seen here Paciurea was also sculpting fauns and Pan figures, further hybrids from the Symbolist menagerie. These photos are from WikiPaintings where the artist is rather fatuously categorised as an Impressionist.
Chimera of the Earth.
Chimera of the Sky.