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Music and synesthesia


Many Symbolist artists were interested in the interconnection between the arts. The visual arts, music, architecture and design all referred to each other. Scenes of concerts or playing instruments are particularly common in Symbolist art. This is because music was considered the highest form of art as it was immaterial. Symbolist art was based on correspondences. The Symbolists believed that specific colours corresponded to specific chords by means of synesthesia. Similarly, the arrangement of a musical composition could correspond to literary techniques.

Synesthesia is not about the gesamtkunstverk concept, rather it highlights the harmonic structure of the universe. Accordingly, it was possible to identify common elements at the heart of different art forms. This concept was significantly inspired not only by Charles Baudelaire but also by Richard Wagner, whose music and artistic views interested the Symbolists greatly.

Works displayed in this room

Enckell, Magnus: The Concert, 1898

Halonen, Pekka: The Kantele Player, 1892

Stjernschantz, Beda: Everywhere a Voice Invites Us..., 1895

Thesleff, Ellen: Ball Game (Forte dei Marmi), 1909
Girl with Guitar, 1891
Landscape from Tuscany, 1908
The Violin Player, 1896

Vallgren, Ville: Dancer, 1911
Rose Dance, 1899


< Late Symbolism | In the Spirit of Symbolism

More information on the works and artists from the Finnish National Gallery Collections web service.