Symbolism is the movement of the 19th century that was characterized by a focus on abstract images. On the contrary to symbolism, realism presents real objects, such as fruits, scenes, and people. In symbolist art, it is possible to mention successive contrasts that can be understood as the idea that is given through different colors and objects (Gardner & Kleiner, 2016). For example, when a person sees the raging ocean, he or she could think about aggression and anxiety as human feelings. Likewise, green and red can be used by artists to create an optical mixture through successive contrasts to translate the images.
Fin-de-siècle describes fashionable despair and escapism that were popular in the 19th century. The obsession with the abstractionism and symbolism was a characteristic feature of this movement since the artists tried to reject ineffable ideas and pay more attention to a unique understanding of the world (Gardner & Kleiner, 2016). For example, “The Scream” (1893) by Edvard Munch is a vivid painting of fin-de-siècle, which can be related to impressionism, meaning the discovery of qualities and colors to capture a moment and show it to the viewers. In this work, complementary colors are used by the artist to achieve striking visual effects.
In Art Nouveau, there is a synthesis of structure and ornament. It involves the fascination of art of Japan (Japonisme), some features of Ancient Egypt, and folk art. In the 19th century, the Art Nouveau style became an expression of self-affirmation as well as national revival. According to Gardner and Kleiner (2016), post-impressionism was one of the key areas considered by artists, such as van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Cézanne. To create a naturalistic depiction of properties and qualities, they often referred to simultaneous contrasts.
Gardner, H., & Kleiner, F. S. (2016). Gardner’s art through the ages: A global history (15th ed.). Cengage Learning.