The paper "Responding to Symbolism - Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History by Nicole Myers" is a delightful example of an article on visual arts. To some, symbolism is a complex term of relationships and a counter traditional concept. However, symbolism in art is used to describe the element of subjectivity on the artist’ s side. Established in 1800’ s era in France, symbolism has been described as the space allowing for pure subjectivity that moves from the concept of looking for names for objects and allowing the room for creativity and emotions, and it is noted to have spread across the globe through continents.
The fact that symbolism was coined with the intention of allowing artists to show their real and the not ideally beautiful sides allows room for expression of both creativity and growth. The earlier proposers of symbolism supported the application of its practices by noting that other applications like materialism that require objectivity and rationalism while symbolism requires none of these. The Poet Stephane Mallarme expressed that “ … to name an object is to suppress three-quarters of the enjoyment to be found in the poem… " This principle of symbolism was later translated beyond literal works and now applies to the artwork.
The place of emotion in symbolism is well acknowledged and this further contributes to making the practice a more subjective one. Artists, whether in art, music or writing experience different emotions and they do so on different levels and different ways of expression. This makes symbolism very unique and intricate at the same time because the expression of individual emotions does not follow any particular set of instructions.
Thus, even the interpretation of any symbolism works needs to be done from a point of emotional connectedness. Majority of the artist use color, line, and composition to express these emotions and it takes the viewer a deeper level of understanding the place of either in an art piece in order to interpret or analyze symbolism work. The spread of symbolism across the world makes its interpretation in various contexts, including art, music, and writing, diverse and thoroughly unique and has been used to express the social elements that have affected the society in numerous aspects.
The other unique attribute about the practice or the application of artwork is the reference it draws from spiritual concepts. Myers (2007) notes that symbolism is often connected to biblical stories and Greek mythology. This helps in extending the fantasy and in implementing the core themes of the practice which include love, anguish, fear, death, personal and unrequited desires, and sexual awakening. To some people, the reference of the spiritual concepts makes symbolism a natural practice and diverse because of the numerous spiritual doctrines and practices around the world.
The use of symbolism to express ideas, concepts and desires demands for artists who are far more vulnerable and those willing to escape reality. One of the early predecessors in the practice of symbolism, Gauguin’ s, expressed the need to disconnect from civilization by indulging and expressing the primitive cultures. This was contrary to his predecessors like Puvis de Chavannes, Eugè ne Carriè re and Edward Burne-Jones to mention a few. Despite the difference in expression, these predecessors created a way for Gaugin and Pablo Picasso to the practice of symbolism.
Symbolism is, therefore, a practice that allows more artists to engage in the artwork on different levels and this expands the discipline of art and design. This is mainly because the artists continue having new experiences and these experiences require the audience to immerse themselves in the understanding or their acknowledgment. For instance, by expressing the emotions through color in the artwork, the audience is then expected to immerse themselves in the search for the meaning of colors and this makes the interpretation more subjective and expressive.