9 November 2022
What can the paintings in Manchester Art Gallery’s collection tell us about the history and development of ‘Symbolism’?
Art historians tell us that it was the 1880s that witnessed the inception of ‘Symbolism’ as a movement. But more than a generation before this, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood startled and outraged sensibilities with its depiction of strange and unsettling parallel worlds, bejewelled with luminous colours. Its rebellious spirit sought to awaken moral, spiritual and religious reflection through the deployment of mysterious signs and symbols. And yet even this tendency had its antecedents, most especially in the entertaining genre paintings and eerie still lifes of the Dutch Golden Age.
Guide John Ward will be leading us through Manchester Art Gallery, on a quest for the finest examples of a fascinating visual language.
Good to know: We will meet in the entrance of the gallery. The tour will start promptly at 2.00pm, so please arrive in good time.
Image: detail of ‘Astarte Syriaca’ by D.G.Rossetti (1877) - photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery
John Ward has been a volunteer guide at Manchester Art Gallery since 2014. He has extensive experience in presenting on a wide range of topics as well as in writing for the Gallery’s website.