|The exhibition presents a wide selection of poetic, mystical and sensual interpretations of nature, painted between 1880 and 1910, including landscapes by such masters as Gauguin, Van Gogh, Munch, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Monet and Whistler. Other European artists that will be featured include Hammershøi, Hodler, Signac, Strindberg, Leighton and Millais. Finnish Symbolist art will be represented by Väinö Blomstedt, Albert Edelfelt, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Hugo Simberg and Ellen Thesleff. In all, the exhibition shows works by 52 artists.|
Symbolism was one of the most influential trends in European art in the period 1880-1910. It was characterised by the desire to describe feelings and moods, a passionate pursuit of spirituality and a strong interest in mythologies. Symbolism was not a style, but rather an attitude and vision. It was in part a reaction to industrialisation and materialism that made artists focus on the richness within ourselves rather than on external realities. Visual artists, poets and composers inspired each other, and the interaction between the arts flourished.
Landscapes were an ideal subject for symbolists. The pulsating vitality of the sun, the rage of storms and the mystical twilight are familiar and recognisable experiences for everyone. Nature and its elements served as the raw materials that were shaped by the artists to express a certain state of mind.
From the Finnish perspective, 52 Souls– Symbolist Landscape is a continuation of the exhibition Illusions of Reality, which presented international naturalism at the Ateneum Art Museum in the first half of 2011. 52 Souls also links Finnish art history with international trends. The exhibition is made possible thanks to close cooperation between Ateneum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the National Galleries of Scotland.
The exhibition will be on display in Amsterdam from 24 February to 17 June, in Edinburgh from 14 July to 14 October, and in Helsinki from 15 November to 17 February 2013.
An illustrated exhibition catalogue with articles by art experts was published by Mercatorfonds of Belgium in spring 2012. The catalogue is available in six languages – English, French, Flemish, German, Finnish and Swedish – and can be purchased from the museum shop at Ateneum for 34,50 euros.
Ateneum Art Museum Website