You're Symbolism! In the late 1800's the world of art was filled with art movements which all seemed to promote some external cause. A group of poets, writers and artists got fed up with this exploitation of art, and founded a new art movement, symbolism, whose primary cause was to create art just for the sake of creating art. In visual arts, symbolists were quite flexible when it came to the technique - their styles varied from traditional to impressionist and expressionist - but the mystical content of their works of art were always, needless to say, symbolic. What they painted didn't always directly correspond to what they were actually portraying; a young boy getting out of bed in the morning may have portrayed coming of age, a skeleton represented death, and an angel stood for innocence, for instance. The right interpretation was usually left to the viewer. The atmosphere in symbolist works of art was often spooky, mystical, dreamy, and sensual.
Famous symbolists: Gustave Moreau, Hugo Simberg
Picture: The Wounded Angel by Hugo Simberg - Simberg's paintings usually contained well-known mythical characters (such as the crouchy skeleton-shaped Death, and the poor little Devil) combined with surprisingly normal country surroundings. One of his trademarks was portraying traditionally scary things, like death, as pleasant, melancholic characters who didn't seem threatening at all. The Wounded Angel is a very clear example of symbolic art - metaphorically, the idea of two young boys carrying a wounded angel can be interpreted in many ways (such as the loss of innocence or the end of childhood, for instance), but whatever the case is, the angel in the picture is more than just an angel.
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