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Nabis

343 artworks, 7 artists
The Nabis (fr. les Nabis, from the ancient Jewish נביא — “prophet”, “the chosen”) is an artistic direction created by a group of young French impressionist artists, the students of the Paris Academy of Painting. The Nabis association included the founder of the group, a student of “Gauguin himself” Paul Sérusier, Maurice Denis, Jean Édouard VuillardPierre Bonnard and other painters of different world perceptions and creative styles. The paintings of the Nabis were a synthesis of post-impressionism, symbolism and they formed the foundation for the emergence of Art Nouveau and French Modernism. The Nabis art is called the music of colour, and the representatives of the style – the ideologists of decorative interiors.

The Nabis creative union was formed during the heyday of post-impressionism and the crisis of the classical painting traditions. Young French painters were looking for the new expressive ways in art, they invented plastic pictorial language and experimented with colour. The artists considered the goal of creativity to be a reflection of the spiritual in the material world of man, poetization and technical simplification of painting. The Nabis philosophy combined religious mysticism, intellectualism, Greek and Hebrew symbolism, mannerism and declaring the elitism of the art of “total beauty”. Belonging to the group did not impose any ideological or stylistic restrictions on the artists; the painters were given special names, which were an expression of their individuality and creative style. Denis for his passion for religious painting was called the Nabi of Beautiful Icons, Bonnard, who was a fan of oriental art, was the Highly Nipponised Nabi.

The representatives of the movement drew inspiration from medieval legends, ancient myths, romantic poems, and the Japanese prints. Unlike the original source, the artists replaced fatal beauties with the exquisite and sophisticated images of their wives, girlfriends and sisters against the backdrop of the blooming landscapes. The painting of the intellectuals sought to avoid vulgarity and banality, to endow the canvas with “music of the soul”. Large and fractional strokes intertwined and identified the contemplation of the canvas with meditation or dreaming. Images pleased with bright colour accents, a noble range of shades, soft forms, stylization, planar composition, smooth lines and wide contours. Human figures dissolved in light and air space, that was filled with ornaments, shadows, sun spots. Personalities, attributes, and details were minimized, and the finished picture of the Nabis was defined as a canvas “covered with the paints organized in a special way”.

The Nabi style paintings:
The Talisman” 1888 by Paul Sérusier; “In the Garden” 1898 by Jean-Édouard Vuillard; “The Road to Calvary” 1889, “Sacred Grove” 1897 by Maurice Denis; "In the sunshine" 1908 by Pierre Bonnard.

The Nabis artists:
Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Jean Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Emile Bernard, Étienne Terrus, Félix Vallotton, Paul Sérusier.
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