Decadence and Dark Dreams: Belgian Symbolism / ISBN 9783777435244 / big 320-page hardcover, about 10 x 11.75 inches, published by Hirmer
Sensuousness, magic, a profound momentousness, and irrationality are the hallmarks of the art movement of Belgian Symbolism, which emerged during the 1880s and quickly became a sensation. From Georg Minne and Félicien Rops to Fernand Khnopff and James Ensor, artists throughout Belgium created portraits, figure paintings, and landscapes that revealed a fascination with the eerie and the nefarious, with Thanatos and Eros. The most remarkable feature of Belgian Symbolism is its predilection for the morbid and the bizarre. Linking this new mysticism with an extravagant and precious style, these artists returned again and again to the central figure of the femme fatale as an expression of excess and lust, often paired with echoes of the esoteric and the demonic. This lavishly illustrated volume reveals Belgian Symbolism in all its brilliant, decadent glory, showing its creativity, reach, and ongoing influence.
Ralph Gleis is a German art historian and director of the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.