Pierre Puvis De Chavannes, Richard Wagner, and Émile Bernard: Composition and Meaning in the Late Nineteenth Century

Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 63)


Beginning around 1880, an uneasy feeling developed among certain artists that the Impressionist premises of immediacy and direct transcription of sense impressions had led to an artistic impasse.1 This unease significantly affected some younger painters, who felt that naturalism itself, which excluded those parts of the human experience that could not be seen, was the real problem. Among these younger painters was Émile Bernard, whose stated goal was to reveal spiritual meaning, “to catch the symbolism inherent in nature”2 rather than to reproduce sense impressions. Bernard had a brief, but developmentally important, flirtation with Seurat’s Chromoluminarism. Then he suddenly turned against it, and along with his friend Louis Anquetin, developed a new style, later labeled cloisonnisme.3 The visual vocabulary of cloisonnisme included large patches of color, arranged according to formal hue relationships. Of equal importance were simplified shapes, and strong black outlines derived, to some extent, from their close study of Japanese prints.4 However, as in writing, vocabulary alone cannot create meaningful structure, which depends on grammar and syntax. The visual equivalent of this is composition, the construction of, and relationships between, all the elements of the image.


Late 19th Century Rhythmic Pattern Visual Vocabulary Music Drama Visual Rhythm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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