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Symbolists Movement

Century: 19th

Symbolism started in the late nineteenth century in France and Belgium. It included Paul Verlaine, Tristan Corbière, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé. Symbolists believed that art should aim to capture more absolute truths which could be accessed only by indirect methods. They used extensive metaphor, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning. They were hostile to "plain meanings, declamations, false sentimentality and matter-of-fact description".


Symbolism was an artistic movement that swept across Europe in the late nineteenth century. Russian Symbolism has its roots in French Symbolism. The symbolist aesthetic has been expressed in painting and prose as well as in poetry in Russia.

The Russian symbolist poets were a collection of artists who drew on deep feelings of mysticism when they gave form to the thoughts and visions that the Muse inspired in them. They felt themselves to be a link between the people (the Russian narod) and a higher spiritual realm.

One of the earlier symbolists, Vladimir Solovev, created an entire spiritual belief system based on the worship of the Eternal Feminine. This being was the Muse from whom inspiration came, she was Nature, and her intellect and beauty became tangible in women on the temporal plane. Two younger poets, Aleksandr Blok and Andrei Bely, were entranced by Solovev's mysticism.