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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the {symbolists} category


Ernst Fuchs, 1930–2015


It was a surprise to see the death of Austrian artist Ernst Fuchs mentioned on the BBC website since I’d never seen him mentioned in the British media during his lifetime. Fuchs was one of those artists who would have been a natural Surrealist if he’d been born a few years earlier, and his work […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {surrealism}, {symbolists} | 5 comments »


The nocturnes of William Degouve de Nuncques


The Blind House (1892). William Degouve de Nuncques (1867–1935) is one of the less well-known Belgian Symbolists but one with a place in art history for the picture above. The mysterious atmosphere of The Blind House (often labelled as The Shuttered House, The Pink House or even The House of Mysteries) was admired by René […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {surrealism}, {symbolists} | 5 comments »




The Sphinx (1895). The Dutch Symbolist isn’t a stranger to these pages but every so often a drawing or painting by Jan Toorop draws attention to itself. The Sphinx above is oft-reproduced but you don’t always see it in colour or at a size that does justice to its detail. De Staatskas (below) is a […]

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Mirko Racki’s Inferno


Mirko Racki (1879–1982) was a Croatian painter whose early work fits the template of allegorical Symbolism even if he was never part of any Symbolist movement. Dante’s Divine Comedy was a favourite subject: these canvases are among the available examples which also include a series of etchings. The painting above showing Charon ferrying Dante and […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {religion}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »


Kupka in Cocorico


As noted yesterday, Czech artist František Kupka produced a cover for French magazine Cocorico together with this handful of interior illustrations, all of which date from around 1900. Kupka was living in Paris at the time, and several of these drawings reflect his connections to the Symbolist movement. I’ve posted his Poe illustration before but everything […]

Posted in {art}, {magazines}, {symbolists} | 5 comments »


The art of Edmond van Offel, 1871–1959


Edmond van Offel was a Belgian artist who Philippe Jullian features in two of his books about Symbolist art but whose work I’d not seen anywhere else—at least until now. All the pictures here are from a collection published in Paris in 1902 which may be the one Jullian used for his selections. The book […]

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Symbolist Temptations


The Temptation of St Anthony (1883) by Fernand Khnopff. This should really be more Symbolist Temptations since Odilon Redon belongs among these artists. Redon may have devoted more of his time than anyone else to the saint’s travails but other artists also took up the theme. Fernand Khnopff seldom depicted religious subjects but his painting—an […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting}, {religion}, {symbolists} | 1 comment »


Odilon Redon’s Temptations


Saint-Antoine: Au secours, mon Dieu! (Saint Anthony: Help me, O my God!) St. Anthony and his temptations provide another connection between the Surrealists and the Symbolists via Gustave Flaubert and his phantasmagoric drama. Flaubert’s The Temptation of St Anthony (1874) doesn’t quite stand in relation to the art of the time as does Oscar Wilde’s […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {fantasy}, {religion}, {symbolists} | 2 comments »


New Life for the Decadents by Philippe Jullian


This essay by cult writer Philippe Jullian appeared in an edition of the Observer colour supplement in 1971, shortly after Jullian’s chef d’oeuvre, Dreamers of Decadence, had been published in Britain. Esthètes et Magiciens (1969), as Jullian’s study was titled in France, was instrumental in raising the profile of the many Symbolist artists whose work […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {gay}, {magazines}, {painting}, {symbolists} | 9 comments »


Elihu Vedder’s Rubáiyát


A slight return to Omar Khayyam. The Edmund J. Sullivan post prompted comments about other editions so I thought I’d see what else was at the Internet Archive. The problem there is that the Rubáiyát was a very popular book in the latter part of the 19th century which means there are not only multiple […]

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The art of Fabrizio Clerici, 1913–1993


Un istante dopo (1978). An Italian painter of the fantastic who’s managed to stay off my radar for one reason or another despite doing many of the things I like to see: weightless structures, imaginary architecture, and (towards the end of his career) a series of variations on Arnold Böcklin’s endlessly adaptable The Isle of […]

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The art of Carlos Schwabe, 1866–1926


Le Faune (1923). Yesterday’s Pan prompted me to repost Carlos Schwabe’s wonderful painting of a faun, one of my favourite faun/satyr depictions, and easily one of the best in the entire Symbolist corpus. Other satyr aficionados of the period such as Arnold Böcklin and Franz Stuck had an unfortunate knack for making their goat gods […]

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Tony George-Roux’s Fleurs du Mal


More illustrated Baudelaire. This edition of Les Fleurs du Mal dates from 1917 but the illustrations by Tony George-Roux have a distinctly Symbolist quality even though Symbolism as an art movement was pretty much over by this point. Baudelaire died twenty years before the first Symbolist manifesto was published but that manifesto named him as […]

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Gockinga’s Bacchanal and an unknown portrait of Fritz Klein


Bacchanal by René Gockinga. A guest post today by Sander Bink who generously translated his latest piece of research into the Dutch artists of the early 20th century who took the Beardsley style as a foundation for their own black-and-white delineations. As with this earlier post on the subject, many of these drawings are very […]

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Weekend links 216


Why Do The Heathen Rage? (2014) by The Soft Pink Truth. Cover art by Mavado Charon. Drew Daniel’s latest release as The Soft Pink Truth is Why Do The Heathen Rage?, a witty electronic riposte to the often reactionary attitudes of black metal music and the people who create it. (The album is dedicated to […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {comics}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {politics}, {pulp}, {science fiction}, {symbolists}, {technology}, {television}, {work} | Comments Off


The art of Léon Spilliaert, 1881–1946


Self-portrait (1907). Yesterday’s post gives me an excuse to draw further attention to Belgian Symbolist Léon Spilliaert, an artist whose gloomy and mysterious early style is easy to recognise once you’ve seen a couple of his pictures. Spilliaert grew up in Ostend so the Belgian coast dominates his pastels which renounce sunlit beach scenes in […]

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Sand Dunes near Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (c. 1870) by Joséphine Bowes. Dunes. Having visited the sand dunes that run along the French and Belgian coast it’s notable how much dune art has taken them as a subject. Belgian Symbolist Léon Spilliaert returned to them frequently, and managed to invest the littoral with a greater sense of […]

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More chimeras


The Chimera (1867) by Gustave Moreau. It’s no easy task to catalogue all the chimeras that proliferate between the numerous examples in the work of Gustave Moreau to those produced before the First World War. Consider this a sample, then, and a pointer to further research. Several of these artists—Malczewski, Ernst, Brauner—returned to theme many […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting}, {surrealism}, {symbolists} | 1 comment »


The chimeras of Dimitrie Paciurea


Chimera (1923). 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 […]

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Big fish


Illustration by Lawrence for The Undying Monster (1946) by Jessie Kerruish. Another of those collisions between fine art and pulp fiction that I like to note now and then. The drawing above by Lawrence Sterne Stevens (from this page) I immediately recognised as borrowing its fish from the painting below by Néstor Martín-Fernández de la […]

Posted in {art}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {painting}, {surrealism}, {symbolists} | 2 comments »



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