“Mystical Symbolism” at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

This autumn the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is presenting the first ever museum show dedicated to the “Salon de la Rose+Croix” – an exhibition that took place annually in Paris between 1892-1897, dedicated to the late nineteenth century Symbolist movement.

The Guggenheim’s exhibition brings together around 40 highlight works that featured in these original Parisian shows, by a transnational cross-section of Symbolist artists who rejected the secular outlook, scientific theories and Realist aesthetics of the period, and instead championed all things spiritual, imaginary and stylized, in a quest for the ideal.

Although the artists possessed wildly diverging ideologies – ranging from politically conservative and Catholic to radically anarchist and anti-clerical – their works are visually united by characteristics such as sinuous lines, elongated bodies and flattened forms.  Common themes include allegorical, mythical and visionary subjects – often drawn from literature, Greek mythology and New Testament narratives, as well as other sources such as the art of the early Italian Renaissance.

Displayed on rich red walls and accompanied by an ethereal musical soundtrack, the exhibition conveys the spirit of the Salon experience, and invites a fresh look at the revelatory and significant mystical Symbolist movement, which although popular in its day, has long since been overlooked.

 Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892 – 1897 is on view at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection until 7th January 2018