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Revoir le symbolisme pictural : le cas de Gustave Moreau : thème du féminin, style, réception critique

Abstract : Symbolism is generally seen as a literary movement, unified by the theme of the feminine. However, painting occupies an important place in the symbolism construction and the theme of the feminine cannot be the only way to question this movement. This thesis proposes to question the dominant assumptions about this movement: the anteriority of literary symbolism over pictorial symbolism, the importance of the feminine theme in painting, the lack or even the absence of stylistic studies. The Symbolist corpus being vast, the painter Gustave Moreau is raised as an archetype of pictorial symbolism and is posed as the privileged case of this study. The thematic, stylistic, and quantitative studies of Gustave Moreau’s pictorial works allow to immediately qualify this supposed anteriority of literature, by showing that pictorial productions historically precede literary productions by three decades. From this singular corpus of paintings, the theme of the feminine is thus re-examined: is this theme dominant in Gustave Moreau's production? Once again, the idea according to which theme of the feminine founded Symbolism is challenged by the quantitative studies made on this corpus. If the theme of the feminine no longer appears fundamental, then the question of style arises. The stylistic study of Gustave Moreau’s work shows an innovative and singular painter, who will nevertheless be erased - like artworks in general - in the critical historiography of the movement. The analysis of the critical reception and historiography of Symbolism thus shows how artists, artworks and stylistics have been marginalized in favor of literary, poetic, and philosophical thought of Symbolism.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 10:54:12 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 4, 2022 - 3:17:05 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, September 3, 2022 - 6:49:26 PM


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Hélène Heyraud. Revoir le symbolisme pictural : le cas de Gustave Moreau : thème du féminin, style, réception critique. Art et histoire de l'art. Université Rennes 2, 2022. Français. ⟨NNT : 2022REN20008⟩. ⟨tel-03685520⟩



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