Monday, July 31, 2017

The heavy metal symbolism of the Salon Rose+Croix

By Natasha Seaman
Ferdinand Hodler, “The Disappointed Souls (Les âmes déçues)” (1892), oil on canvas, 120 x 299 cm, Kuntsmuseum Bern, Staat Bern (courtesy Kuntsmuseum Bern, Staat Bern)
NEW YORK---Looking at the paintings in "Mystical Symbolism: The Salon of the Rose+Croix, 1892-97" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, it is clear that 19th-century France had an infinitely more interesting fin-de-siècle flip-out than we did in the 20th. We had Y2K and The Celestine Prophecy, while they had Josephin Péladan and the Salon Rose+Croix. Visiting the show thus is like stepping into a magical and mildly histrionic cul-de-sac of history. Its pleasure is in appreciating a range of little-seen paintings, all held together by the thread of Péladan’s taste. The importance of Péladan as the mastermind behind the Salon is emphasized visually by several portraits of him in assorted mystical and majestic poses. [More]