Eyes glazed in reverie, wilting plants, a mythological marble head - all the stuff of Symbolism is accumulated here in a painting that manifests the movement’s introspective mood. Locking the door and vanishing into imagination was what the fin de siècle was all about....
The aim of the Symbolists was to turn away from what they saw as the materialism of Impressionism. Instead, they sought to be evocative, to suggest a mood, or an abstract idea... ...we want to be able to read the painting, but so much of it is ambiguous and undecipherable. What we are left with is a mysterious and haunting image that speaks to the anti-materialist and inward-looking interests of so much art of the late 19th century.