Our Art / Ferdinand Hodler

Ferdinand Hodler

Ferdinand Hodler

One of the best-known Swiss painters of the 19th century, Hodler (1853–1918) was a leading Symbolist painter known for his visionary imagery. His early works consisted of traditional portraits and landscapes, but his later work was more influenced by Symbolism, a visual style and philosophy tapping into the personal by depicting mythological and dream imagery. The symbols used are not the familiar emblems of mainstream iconography but intensely personal, private, and obscure references, drawing on man's personal quest for a lost harmony with nature.

Hodler adopted his own personal form of symbolism he called "parallelism," which emphasized the symmetry and rhythm he believed formed the basis of human society. These scenes often depict figures symmetrically arranged in poses suggestive of ritual or dance. For Hodler, women were the embodiment of the desire for harmony with nature.