INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of SCIENTIFIC PAPER AFASES 2012 Brasov, 24-26 May 2012
Oana-Andreea PIRNUTA*, Anca BADULESCU*
*Department of Literature and Cultural Studies - Faculty of Letters, TRANSILVANIA University of Brasov, Romania
Abstract: The present paper analyzes symbolism and impressionism as well as the interferences between poetry and other arts. After highlighting the meaning of the term ‘symbol’, the focus is laid upon the symbolist movement and rhetoric rendering the multifarious semiotic interferences between arts, such as: music, painting, sculpture. Then the emphasis is placed on impressionism as well as on the connection between symbolism and impressionism as there is an almost perfect overlapping between the two theories, the impressionist and the symbolist one. A possible explanation of the close connection between the different artistic realms is the artists’ united efforts to discover the essence of existence.
Keywords: symbolism, music, painting, impressionism, semiotics, interferences.
1. INTRODUCTION fragment of reality, a secret, a graphic sign, a means of measurement, an operation. Originally, the word ‘symbol’ - from the If we go deeper into the matter, we will Greek ‘symbolon’ – signified an object cut into certainly realize that linguists, semioticians, two separate pieces, two halves or fragments philosophers, anthropologists have given made of metal, wood or ceramics. These parts different definitions of the symbol. were given to two people – pilgrims, a host Nevertheless, in all cases, the word represents and a guest, a lender and a borrower or simply an object or an image, which is a substitute of two people who were bound to be separated another object or image. for a long period of time. When putting The ‘symbol’ we will refer to in this paper together the two fragments, the owners would is a sign which necessarily carries spiritual be able to recreate the links established prior to energy by means of which the visual and the their parting. intuitive realms are connected. In time, the semantic area of the term The aim of this paper will, therefore, be to ‘symbol’ has gained unexpected dimensions. dwell on some significant interferences The word has both concrete and figurative between different arts. To this purpose, we meanings. It may characterize a significant will choose as a motto a fragment from Ion image, but also a conventional sign, and Minulescu’s poem Într-un bazar sentimental: therefore, may mean different things to ‘Stofe vechi, o mandolină,/ Un Cezanne şi doi different people: an emblematic analogy, a Gauguin,/ Patru măşti de bronz:/ Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner, Chopin...’. The poet thus creates an artistic imagination. It is his music that makes the poet universe in which painting, music, but also vibrate in accordance with his passions, his poetry and decorative arts coexist and interior storms, and sometimes his despair: ‘La influence each other. The limits between them musique souvent me prend comme une mer.’ are blurred, and disappear altogether, (La musique). ultimately. For E.A. Poe, another important precursor of symbolism, music is the art that 2. SYMBOLISM AND THE comes closest to the ‘supernal’. Israfel, in the INTERFERENCES BETWEEN ARTS poem bearing the same title, is an angelic musician, a spirit ‘whose heart-strings are a 2.1 The symbolist movement. The lute’ (Israfel). symbolist movement was born in France at the Paul Verlaine speaks about a new kind end of the nineteenth century and manifested of poetry by which confusing states of mind itself as a reaction against positivism and, and feelings are rendered. If Mendelssohn implicitly, didacticism as well as melodrama composed Lieder ohne Worte, Verlaine created in poetry. Romances sans Paroles, thus exploiting the Symbolist poets are creators of a real cult sounds of words in order to create a vague of beauty and eternal seekers of pure poetry. emotional contour. The subject of symbolist poetry becomes Likewise, a late symbolist poet, T.S. mystery, restlessness, undefined feelings. Eliot in Rhapsody on a Windy Night imitates The poet is in a state of vague fervour and the rhythms of music when describing the his work is the result of his communion with evolution of the spirit: ‘Half-past three,/ The the universe. All the parts of a symbolist work lamp sputtered,/ The lamp muttered in the of art are simultaneous, just like the harmonies dark;/ The lamp hummed.’ produced by the instruments of an orchestra. For Rainer Maria Rilke, music is part 2.2 The symbolist rhetoric. The new of our heart, the essence of our being. In his symbolist rhetoric relies on the power of poem An die Musik, the poet considers music suggestion, but also on innovation in prosody as: ‘Die Sprache wo Sprachen enden. Die Zeit, in order to illustrate vague, fluid transient, Die senkrecht steht auf der Richtung musical states of spirit in the process of vergehender Herzen.’ creation. By its unifying force, music becomes Suggestion becomes the fundamental for Rilke the breath of statues and the silence element in the poet’s efforts to recreate the of paintings. world. Thus, symbolist poets create poetry on The symbolist movement is also poetry and within poetry. The result is a closely linked to the music of Franck, Debussy coherent and autonomous creation and d’Indy. In the preface of his volume of characterized by a new interior rhythm. poems entitled Poèmes, Gustave Kahn Verlaine’s verse ‘De la musique avant strongly states that music makes it possible for toute chose’ (Art Poétique) should be the poet to perceive a poetic form which is at interpreted as a final break with the external the same time fluid and more precise. world. In this way, poetry reduces itself to its Musical instruments become real own music, becomes poetry ‘per se’. It characters in the works of the symbolist poets. constantly turns to itself, communicates itself. The elegant piano, the mysterious organ, the 2.3 Symbolist poetry and music. magical flute, the delicate harp, the proud Symbolist poets, attracted by musical guitar – all reoccur almost obsessively in their harmonies, manifest a strong tendency of verse: ‘Le piano qui baise une main frêle/ Luit musicalization of their poetry. Their precursor, dans le soir rose et gris vaguement...’ Baudelaire, states that Wagner expresses in his (Verlaine: Romances sans Paroles). music the real harmony of correspondences. Similarly, in Chanson d’Automne by To Baudelaire, Wagner’s music is a Verlaine, the violins have human feelings: mixture of breath, darkness and light, wild ‘Les sanglots longs/ Des violins/ De
“HENRI COANDA” “GENERAL M.R. STEFANIK” AIR FORCE ACADEMY ARMED FORCES ACADEMY ROMANIA SLOVAK REPUBLIC
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of SCIENTIFIC PAPER AFASES 2012 Brasov, 24-26 May 2012
l’automne/ Blessent mon coeur/ D’une movement in England – the artistic current, langueur/ Monotone.’ which manifested itself in the nineteenth 2.4 Symbolist poetry and painting. century and rediscovered the mythical and Painting seems to be even closer to symbolist symbolical simplicity of the Italian painting poets. Baudelaire, who aspires to give his before Rafael. work the power of expression characteristic to visual arts, considers Delacroix and Manet to 3. IMPRESSIONISM AND THE be his models, his idols. INTERFERENCES BETWEEN ARTS To Delacroix, nature is just a dictionary which helps the artist create. The The impressionist equivalent or the same idea is expressed by Baudelaire in his symbolist poetic creed, published in Le Figaro poem Correspondances: ‘La nature est un in 1886, is without any doubt Impression. temple ou de vivants piliers/ Laissent parfois Sunrise by Monet, which was first shown at sortir de confuses paroles,/ L’homme y passe à the official exhibition on 15 April 1874 (le travers des forêts de symbols/ Qui l’observent Salon des Refuses). avec des regards familiers.’ There is an almost perfect overlapping In his turn, Baudelaire creates in Les between the two theories, the impressionist Fêtes Gallantes illustrative descriptions of and the symbolist one. The first verse of Watteau’s paintings, an album of ‘painted’ Verlaine’s poem Art Poétique sums up the poems. Thus, Watteau’s world is a landscape ‘impression’ created by Monet’s painting: the of fantasy, which helps the poet escape the music of nuances, the harmonious dialogue present. between sky and water. Also, Rilke’s admiration for Cézanne’s Likewise, Verlaine’s ‘Plus vague et work is very well-known. He believed that plus soluble dans l’air’ is re-echoed in the Cézanne’s paintings were not painted, but they painting. The free verse in the symbolist poem simply and purely exist, make themselves is doubled by the reflection of light on the sky present. and in the water, rendered by a multitude of Under the influence of a sculptor, coloured lines. Rodin, and that of a painter, Cézanne, Rilke Furthermore, the verses ‘Rien de plus works as an authentic plastic artist, creating his que la chanson grise/ Ou l’Indecis au Precis se marvellous Ding-Gedichte. joint’ are the counterpart of the grey-greenish, In the same vein, Mallarmé considered grey-bluish tones in the painting, in contrast to Whistler’s work as being undoubtedly eternal, the orange of the solar disc and its reflection in a means to glorify beauty, the mysterious, the the water. ‘De beaux yeux derrière des voiles’ miracle. The same Mallarmé dedicates some should be the essence behind the haze of the exquisite pages in his volume Quelques morning, which the observer might have a Medaillons et Portraits en Pied to the glimpse of. impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. ‘Car nous voulons la Nuance encore/ Maybe the best known poem by the Pas la Couleur, rien que la Nuance.’ Maybe Romanian poet Petică, Fecioara în Alb is these verses best express the connection another illustration of the idea that modern between symbolism and impressionism. symbolism has its origins in the Pre-Raphaelite Although these are the words of a poet, Paul Verlaine, they clearly illustrate a basic 4. Barthes, Roland. Image, Music, Text. principle of the impressionist painting: the London: Fontana Paperbacks (1982). dilution and juxtaposition of colours, thus 5. Dautun, Jean-Pierre. 10 modeles d’analyse obtaining a visual mixture of nuances. Both in d’image. Alleur: Marabout (1995). poetry and in painting this is the only way in 6. Debray, Regis. Vie et mort de l’image, which the vague, the evanescent, the Paris: Gallimard (1992). impression, the dream can be materialized. In 7. Dolezel, L. Poetica occidentala. Bucuresti: Monet’s painting the nuances of grey, green, Editura Univers (1998). blue intermingle, flow into one another. 8. Eco, Umberto. Limitele interpretarii. Nothing dares destroy this equilibrium. Constanta: Editura Pontica (1996). ‘Fuis de plus loin la Pointe assassine.’ 9. Eliade, Mircea. Imagini si simboluri. This means that precise contours, lines, Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas (1994). drawing would only create artificiality in 10. Florea, Anca. Muzica si imagine. painting. In poetry, on the other hand, Bucuresti: Editura Fundatiei Culturale Romane precision, even violence, will never be able to (1997). express the Absolute. Monet’s Impression, like 11. Foucault, Michel. Cuvintele si lucrurile. Verlaine’s Absolut do not have a clear-cut Bucuresti: Editura Univers (1996). contour. 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