Symbolism

SymbolismA late nineteenth-century art movement of French and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the movement had its roots in Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire. The aesthetic was developed by Stephane Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine during the 1860s and '70s. Symbolism was largely a reaction against naturalism and realism, anti-idealistic movements which attempted to capture reality in its gritty particularity, and to elevate the humble and the ordinary over the ideal. It emphasized interior states, fantasy, dreams, the erotic, the exotic, and the occult. In the English-speaking world, the closest counterpart to symbolism was aestheticism. Art Nouveau often depicted Symoblism in idealized female figures.