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Thursday, April 19, 2012 01:52 pm

Central Illinois hosts international art symposium

UIS%u2008professor brings together scholars on Symbolism movement

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Chant d’Amour by Edward Burne-Jones (c. 1868-73)

Better known for straight talk and growing corn than delving into obscure and intense visual art works, central Illinois may not seem like an ideal location for a symposium on the 19th century European art movement known as Symbolism. But inspiration knows no bounds and art reaches to the corners of the globe with a language all comprehend. The conference with several international experts begins next Wednesday, April 25, and runs through Saturday at the Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello near Champaign-Urbana.

Organized and inspired by Dr. Rosina Neginsky, associate professor in the Liberal and Integrative Studies department at University of Illinois Springfield, the official title for the event is Second International Symposium: Symbolism, Its Origins and its Consequences: Light and Darkness. Neginsky, the author of three books of poetry, numerous articles on Russian and European artists and two non-fiction academic books, was born in Russia and raised in Paris, France, before coming to study at the University of Illinois Urbana. She often gives lectures at the Springfield Art Association concerning Symbolist-influenced artists.

The former University Scholar at UIS specializes in English, French and Russian art and literature between 1850 and 1920, generally covering the years of the Symbolist Movement. The movement roughly began with the Pre-Raphaelites in England and moved through France, Belgium and Russia while affecting all art, from visual to ballet, classical music to literature. The artists involved moved away from purely realistic material and added more spiritual and revelatory elements, often with mythological content to add depth and layers to their art works through the use of varying symbols.

Dr. Rosina Neginsky of UIS
Works by Gustav Moreau, a famous French painter highly associated with the Symbolists, hang in the Art Institute in Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum. Books by Baudelaire and Huysman are considered Symbolist-oriented with the former influenced by his admiration for the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Sketches by Beardsley and music by Debussy fit into the dreamy and nearly surreal world of the Symbolists.

The conference features academic papers written by experts on the subject from Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, England, Canada and Greece, as well as several speakers and professors from the U.S. presenting papers on various subjects related to Symbolism and the relevance of the movement to other art styles and how they developed in different countries. Keynote speakers are Liana De Girolami presenting on the Edward Burne-Jones painting “The Sirens: Magical Whispers” and Dominique Jarrasse exploring the nature of Symbolist language.

The public is invited to listen in and observe. Please contact the conference organizers through the website at www.uis.edu and search for the Symbolist Symposium.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com

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