Outline1. What is Symbolism?2. Symbolism‟s Impact on the Arts3. Rise of Russian Symbolism4. Russian Impact on Theatre5. Notable Symbolists and their contributions
François Sarcey: "When I understand a few phrases here and there, I tellmyself: this is a Decadent poet.When I understand practically nothing, I say to myself: this must be a symbolist"
What is Symbolism? Began in late 19th Century Europe and flourished in Russia A complex, imaginative and colorful movement A philosophy that reflect purity of vision > observation, abstraction> ordinary Explores images, metaphors and inner realities of human experiences that cannot be directly perceived Basis for artistic and intellectual movements such as Expressionism and Surrealism
Impact on the Arts Symbolist wish to create a certain state of the soul Works tend to revolve around dreamscape Fairy tales (love/death) > social issues In Visual Arts:- Color (blue/green), Flowers (lily/rose) and animals(swan/peacock) became important inspirations In Literature: symbolists write in a poetic language- verses are musical- words that suggest > state- poets write with free verse, away from constraints ofstructures E.g. The Intruder: "the rose-leaves are falling”
Impact on Theatre Director is an important member in theatrical production Infuses all the other arts into Symbolic Theatre 2D type of scenery to 3D scenery Focuses on the human consciousness and emphasize on moral problems- psychological> external actions- Loseshuman characterization, dramatic action and realistic stage-settings for theatre effects of mystery and mysticism Aims for a stage with qualities of rhythm, tone and harmony in the unfolding movement of its actors and accented by the play of varied lighting
Rise of Russian SymbolismAn intellectual and artistic movement Russian Symbolist movement affected all the art media 1st generation - 1890-1900 “Silver age” 2nd generation – 1900-1910 “Blue rose movement” Focuses on intrinsic experience of art making Evolution of modern Russian painting See painting not only as an exercise on color andlife, but also as a philosophic force
Russian Impact on Theatre 20th Century Moscow art theatre – only carrier of the great European theatrical culture during that time! Russian Theatre > the other European Theatre- greater, deeper, fuller and mightier The essence of Russian theatre is not an ensemble but an unity- Elements in theatre are closely connected to each other, inter- dependant on one another- The elements of Russian theatre cannot be altered;it is only possible to alter the placing of the emphasis
Important Russian SymbolistsAlexander Symbolist poet, music composer, pianistScriabin(1871-1915)Andrey Bely Symbolist poet, prose writer and dramatist(1880-1934)VyacheslavIvanov •Symbolist poet and classicist(1866-1949) • Revive the Dionysian origins of the theatre to Symbolist theatre • Attempts to write Russian symbolist drama and stage it appropriately were not very successful Opposed by Andrew Bely in 1907 • mocked the Dionysian approach • pointed out the impossibility of symbolism in the theater - would destroy the barrier between viewer/actorValery Symbolist poet.YakovlevichBryuso - insisted that the theatre be stripped of extraneousv (1873-1924) production values and handed back to the actors
Andrey Bely Bely believe that drama is the highest poetic art Bely‟s attribute to drama - atmospheric and musical. „Man must live by his creative imagination and re-fashion reality according to his inner vision‟ Bely conceives, the stage is the incarnation of the dream, and the fictive world of the drama infects people as with a fever, through the creation of a life that is lofty and meaningful. He creates a new stage space that opens out onto infinity. His plays abounds in strange optical effects:- pulsating intensities of light and the refraction of radiance become the dramatic action, replacing psychology and plot.
Alexander ScriabinScriabin had always wanted to expresshimself in word and gesture of sensoryimagesHe sees colors for keys and musical notesScriabin hear colors. Color is a means forconveying Scriabin‟s sensation or ideas.He is also interested in dance as a symbolic gestureExperimented with dance forms that might interpret themood of the piece- realize that music reveals its own shape and how it maybe expressed in motion.
Scriabin‟s Prometheus Prometheus was a combination of symbols ofdance, visual, music and colors (light machine) Scored for orchestra due to thevarious tone colors In Prometheus, fire is light, life, struggle... Usually got to do with mystical views.. second line ofPrometheus for a light machine to produce a color for therood of the harmony indicated above http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3B7uQ5K0IU
References: Bowlt, J. E. 1973. Russian Symbolism and the „Blue Rose‟ Movement. The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 51, pp. 161-181. Efros, A. and Gordon, H. 1929. The Russian Theatre and its Artists since the Revolution. College Art Association, Vol. 1, pp. 6-9. Gerould, D. C. 1978. Andrei Bely: Russian Symbolist. Performing Arts Journal, Vol. 3, pp. 25-29. Matlaw, R. E. 1979. Scriabin and Russian Symbolism. Duke University Press, Vol. 31, pp.1-23. Schumacher, C. 1996. Naturalism and Symbolism in European Theatre 1850-1918. USA: University of Cambridge, pp. 208-120, 227. Tisdel, F. M. 1920. Symbolism in Theatre. The Sewanee Review, Vol. 28, pp. 228-240.