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Features, Guest Columnists

Symbolist Art and the French Occult Revival: The Esoteric-aesthetic vision of Sâr Péladan

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Editor’s Note: Paper presented at the 3rd ESSWE Conference, Lux in Tenebris by Sasha Chaitow, founder of the Phoenix Rising Academy

CHT247739History has not been kind to Joséphin Péladan. Usually consigned to a footnote or a few lines in scholarly overviews of Rosicrucianism or the French occult revival, as a historical figure his defining characteristic is that of contradiction and paradox. ‘No literary figure of the late nineteenth century had been more ridiculed, lampooned, and caricatured,’[i]we are told by one biographer; and the majority of scholarly references and studies leave an impression of Péladan as an attention-seeking, arrogant and eccentric braggart, whose significance in the worlds of literature, art, or esotericism, was negligible.

Yet, an enormously prolific author, Péladan published over a hundred articles, books, plays and pamphlets within his lifetime, committed to his belief in ‘the Ideal, in Tradition, in Hierarchy.’[ii] He left modern-day Rosicrucianism a rich legacy, and was a key figure in the inception and development of fin-de-siècle French Symbolism, as well as in the overt marriage of art and occult symbolism during the French occult revival. Overall, his work can be clearly placed at the nexus formed by Illuminist, perennialist, and esoteric Christian currents, with strong orientalist and Kabbalist influences.

During his lifetime he collaborated with some of the greatest figures in the modern esoteric canon, Gerard Encausse and Stanislas de Guaita. His first novel, Le Vice Supreme (1884), had been the catalyst for de Guaita’s involvement with occultism. De Guaita became his faithful disciple, but following a quarrel over doctrinal and philosophical matters Péladan broke away (1891) from the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix (1888) that he had established together with Papus and de Guaita. A very public quarrel (1890-1893) ensued, dubbed the War of the Roses, resulting in permanent damage to Péladan’s reputation, and from this point on he was openly ridiculed in popular and literary journals. Péladan went on to establish his Ordre de la Rose-Croix catholique et esthétique du Temple et du Graal, an order dedicated to his core ideals of Idealism, Tradition and Hierarchy, and strongly focused on his aesthetic vision.

Through his order, he sought to merge his own occult theories, which he perceived through a lens of aestheticism and idealism, with Catholic principles to fulfil his mission of the reinstatement of the Primordial Tradition, the old philosophia perennis of the Renaissance philosophers, through the ritualization of art, which in turn would function as the manifestation of the divine in matter.

All of Péladan’s actions in the public sphere—regardless of their reception—were turned to the one goal of showing the world that:

Art is man’s effort to realize the Ideal, to form and represent the supreme idea, the idea par excellence, the abstract idea, and great artists are religious, because to materialize the idea of God, the idea of an angel, the idea of the Virgin Mother, requires an incomparable psychic effort and procedure. Making the invisible visible: that is the true purpose of art and its only reason for existence.[iii]

Central to Péladan’s vision was his conception of the artist as initiate; select individuals who could bring a small part of the divine into the mundane sphere. Addressing himself to all artists, he wrote: ‘Artist, you know that art descends from heaven… it is a little piece of God within a painting…. if you create a perfect form, a soul will come and inhabit it.’[iv] – a concept that would appear to reflect the Hermetic concept of statue animation – the only difference being that Péladan paid scant attention to Hermetic sources, and his knowledge of Neoplatonism is said to have been limited to reading Philo of Alexandria and some works of Plotinus. We will return to his sources of inspiration later, but suffice it to say that where art and esotericism overlap during this particular period, Péladan’s influence can be seen as a parallel, though more practically oriented current, to the Theosophical Society. Although Péladan himself neither subscribed to nor particularly approved of Theosophical teachings, as they were at odds with his unique brand of French traditionalism, from a broader historical perspective these two currents met in the work of Symbolist artists, and the artists belonging to the Salon d’Art Idéaliste founded in1896 by Jean Delville (1867-1953), the mirror of Péladan’s Salon in neighboring Belgium, drew on the ideas of Blavatsky and Leadbeater (1854-1934), as well as Péladan’s work.

Yet where Blavatsky sought to intellectualize and integrate aspects of esoteric thought with evolutionism and the scientific world-view, Péladan sought revolution against realism and the re-enchantment of what he saw as a disintegrating and decadent society.[v]

Péladan saw his work as a vast, cohesive whole, and the way in which he categorized and organized it testifies to this. He practiced what he preached, using his own literary talent to pen a series of novels which, far from being simple works of literary symbolism, were the main vehicle through which he communicated his esoteric vision to a mainstream audience. His work developed in two parallel series; he would write a novel followed by an accompanying theoretical work – the former aimed at the public, the latter at the intellectual, or initiate. [vi] He wrote a further series of critical and theoretical works on aesthetics and art under the rubric La décadence esthétique, an eight-part series Amphitheatre des Sciences Mortes (1892-1899), exploring the social and political implications of his theories, while Les Idées et les Formes (1900-1913) comprised his most overtly esoteric theoretical texts. What emerges is an image of a man with a very clear vision, who ‘never denied his magical, aesthetic, erotic and religious convictions.’[vii]

This vision manifested in the unique artistic amalgamations produced at the Salon de la Rose et Croix, perhaps one of the most ambitious artistic undertakings the French art world saw at the fin-de-siècle, featuring unique exhibitions and productions seeking to unite the arts into a revival of initiatory drama, with a philosophical underpinning rooted in the Western esoteric traditions, and with the ultimate goal of the spiritual regeneration of society. Péladan termed the salons gestes esthétiques; their form inspired by Wagnerian thought, Rosicrucian universalism in scope, their content rich with esoteric symbolism, and their purpose being a cross between initiatory drama and theurgical rite played out before an unsuspecting public.

The ultimate end of Péladan’s vision was no less than a spiritual revolution with beauty as the supreme weapon and art as the coup de grace against the ‘disenchantment of the world’ so prevalent as first the scientific world-view and then the industrial revolution completed their conquest of the Western mind, in an age he regarded as characterized by rampant materialism and futile decadence.

In his own words, at the opening of the first, massively successful Salon (1892) – which saw some fifty thousand visitors -: ‘Artists who believe in Leonardo and The Victory of Samothrace, you will be the Rose and Croix. Our aim is to tear love out of the western soul and replace it with the love of Beauty, the love of the Idea, the love of Mystery. We will combine in harmonious ecstasy the emotions of literature, the Louvre and Bayreuth.’

Péladan was in earnest about this revolution, and despite his arrogant and eccentric manner, his tireless efforts to disseminate and popularize his ideals belie any charge of narcissistic self-promotion. Against a strongly legitimist political background influenced by Joseph de Maistre, the Synarchy of Charles Fourrier (1772-1837) and Saint-Yves d’Alveydre (1842-1909), and an ideological background comprising influences ranging from Catharism to Fabre d’Olivet to Chateaubriand, his work reveals an imaginary world in which artist-initiates in direct communication with divine inspiration would form the inner circle. These initiates would then raise the souls of the masses to ecstasy through aesthetic bombardment, rather than subduing them by Machiavellian machinations, intoxicants, or soporifics.

The first salon in 1892 featured a total of 250 works selected on the basis of Péladan’s manifesto, which expressly forbade historical or military scenes, pets, “accessories and other exercises that painters usually have the insolence to exhibit.” This went out in the official call for artists published in Le Figaro, and was later elaborated upon to state that “The order favours the Catholic Ideal and mysticism. After that, Legends, Myths, Allegory, Dreams, the paraphrasing of great poets, and finally, all lyricism.” The salons were intended as a direct reaction against the official salons of the day, which Péladan considered repulsive and decadent. The salon was a resounding success despite the disparate nature of some of the works. Not all of them met with Péladan’s approval, yet nevertheless, over 30 thousand Parisians visited the first salon and it was considered one of the greatest events of the year. The second salon was perhaps more in tune with Péladan’s dictates, as was the third. However, he ran into financial problems, and by the fifth salon in 1896, public interest and enthusiasm had begun to wane, and Péladan himself had begun to show signs of wear, not least due to the ongoing War of the Roses as well as the derision he continued to face from many quarters. Despite the unexpected and considerable success of the sixth and final salon, Péladan suspended the order’s activities, declaring that he did not consider the artists’ work to be up to the standard of the Renaissance masters he had encouraged them to emulate.

Péladan’s driving force lay in the desire to achieve reunification with the Divine, both on an individual and on a collective level. He was not particularly fond of ritual practice and disapproved of practical magic, rather considering that the artistic process was a supreme sacerdotal act. The structure of his Rosicrucian order and his theoretical guide for artists reflect this.

Regarding the order itself, Péladan considered there to be three ways to reach God: The first was science, or the quest for God through reality. The second was art, a quest through beauty. The third was Theodicy, or the quest through thought. These are reflected in the tripartite, though equal trajectories offered through his order: following the initiation of neophytes, the second degree offered three directions, whereby one could select the ‘red and black tunic of the Rose-Croix if one believed in nothing but art and science, or the white tunic with the red cross of the Templars, if one believed in the word of Jesus, or the blue tunic of the Grail if one worshipped the presence manifesting during the Eucharist.’ It is also worth noting the protectors, or saints that Péladan designated for his order: Leonardo da Vinci in whose name neophytes took the oath of the first degree, Dante Alighieri, in whose name they swore for the second degree, and Saint John and the Holy Spirit for the final degree of Commander.’[viii] Péladan wrote numerous treatises and monographs analyzing and elaborating on the profound esoteric content of the work of both Dante and da Vinci, and the inspiration he gleaned from his interpretations of their work informed his own theories.

Overall, Péladan viewed occultism through the lens of art, but his understanding of occult traditions and esoteric philosophy was anything but superficial. To the contrary he was both extremely well read, and had gone so far as to develop his own cosmology and to rewrite Genesis according to his own perspectives and teachings, based extensively on the work of Fabre d’Olivet. Péladan had avidly studied both the Zohar and other related texts, and displayed considerable knowledge of angelic lore.[ix] Inspired by his reading of Philo, Péladan conflated angelic entities with the daemons of ancient Greece, and developed a syncretic dualist cosmology, with some Valentinian echoes, incorporating a secondary creative principle and curious perspective on the Enochian legend of Fallen Angels – whom Péladan actually names ‘daemons of light’ in his novel Istar.[x] In his more exegetical and theological works, he drew on lesser known rabbinical literature focusing on questions such as the world’s ‘creation by the angels, serial transformation, the creation of androgynous man, original, and almost fatal sin, and the relationship of spiritual beings to the world, the cataclysmic flood.’[xi]

All of these elements came together in his aesthetic curriculum, based on esoteric principles. In his seminal artistic treatise, L’Art Idealiste et Mystique, he wrote: ‘In these pages Art is presented as a religion, or, if you will, as an intermediary aspect of religion between the physical and the metaphysical.’[xii] He summarised his whole theory in the axiom: ‘Art is the spirituality of forms,’ and lauded Plato and the Promethean potential within Man, saying that ‘Plato magnificently explains the propensity of the human creator, the ravisher of fire; he makes of him a daimon, an intermediary being between the mortal and the immortal.’

Péladan‘s concept of the artist as an intermediary and supreme initiate, as well as his intensive use of Fall mythology, falls directly in line with the earlier work of Illuminist thinkers Fabre d’Olivet, Louis de Saint-Martin and the ideas elaborated by Novalis, Schlegel, and Pierre-Simon Ballanche, whereby the poet is respectively ‘the recipient and transmitter of revelation and a divine universal language,’ ‘a priest who will lead humanity to its eschatological fulfilment by re-linking the world here below and divine transcendence,’ and ‘poetry is the intuitive faculty of penetrating the essence of beings and things.’[xiii]

Péladan’s aesthetic theory was rooted in his complex cosmology and obsession with Fall mythology. He believed that Adam’s sin was ‘to have detached the branch of Malkuth from the Sephirotic tree.’[xiv] leading to ‘the separation of the primitive androgyne,’ and a rupture between mankind and the Divine. As a result, the perfect androgynous being separated into man and woman, and while man came to be composed of ‘an element, a substance and an essence,’ respectively named Nephesh [sic], Ruach, and Neschamah [sic], women contained only Nephesh and Ruach, while ‘Neschamah, the spirit, the only immortal essence, remained entirely within Adam.’[xv] This led Péladan to take a somewhat singular view of women, and he has often been accused of misogyny due to his frequent claims that women had no rational intelligence – because, he thought, it was not built into their makeup after the Fall, but instead they were obliged to develop this faculty through their union with an enlightened male. Likewise, he believed men to lack instinct and a form of spiritual perception, which was the feminine gift, and thus, only perfect union between a man and woman at an equal stage of spiritual development, could allow both members of the couple to become fully developed human beings in contact with their divine selves.

Péladan believed that art played a significant part in this process of unification and redemption. In his treatise on Ideal and Mystical Art, Péladan used the portrait of the Mona Lisa to illustrate what he meant: ‘I know all things, says Mona Lisa, “I am serene and without desire; however my mission is to distribute desire, because my riddle provokes and raises all who gaze at me; I am da Vinci’s gracious pentacle, I manifest his soul, which is never still, for it sees too high and too deep. I am she who does not love, because I am she who thinks – remember that for Péladan women were incapable of this – the only woman in art who, though beautiful, does not attract a kiss, I have nothing to give to passion, but, if intelligence approaches me, she will be mirrored in my expression as if in a multicoloured mirror, and I will help some people become conscious of themselves; and those who receive from me the kiss of the spirit may say that I love them, according to the will of da Vinci, who created me to show that there is a lust of the spirit, that makes me love, but that denies love if it is not from thought.”[xvi]

In other words, through art, Péladan believed that the Ideal could manifest and correct the imperfections in matter, and therefore, as far as he was concerned, the artist who undertook such a creative act, was performing a supreme act of theurgy. He further illustrates his point with reference to the painting of St. John the Baptist, once again in a first-person narrative: “I am the androgyne of forms (…) I am the announcer of the mysticism of Beauty, the mysticism of Art.’

Péladan wrote extensively on the concept and form of the androgyne, which to him was the supreme expression of unity and perfection. He was not the first to do so; in fact the androgyne had taken on something of an emblematic nature in the literature of the early 19th century, and had been taken up as a motif by earlier Symbolist artists. In all likelihood, Péladan was more influenced by his reading of Fabre d’Olivet, Pierre-Simon Ballanche, and Charles Fourier, who ‘viewed the androgyne as a utopian goal of social progress,’ a symbol of equality and unity. Where Ballanche may have seen it as a symbol for equality between classes and genders, Péladan saw it as a symbol for metaphysical union and as the ‘ideal symbol of art.’[xvii] From his earliest writings, many androgynous figures found their way into Péladan’s novels, frequently playing the part of mystagogue or mediator ‘between the real and Ideal worlds.’[xviii] Péladan’s view of the androgyne is in many ways highly derivative of Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium, in which Aristophanes speaks of a time when there was a third, androgynous sex, in which male and female were joined. They angered Zeus by being too self-sufficient and powerful, and even going so far as to attack the gods, and so he gave them a lesson in humility by splitting them apart forever. There are many commonalities with Péladan’s cosmology, and for Péladan, as for Plato, it is love that can ‘restore us to our ancient state […] and heal the wounds that humanity has suffered.’ Péladan considered the androgyne to be the ultimate symbol of that metaphysical Love.

Péladan’s teachings were greatly influential on the circle of artists participating in the Salons, although needless to say his work was not the only such influence. The work of Schopenhauer, and his work on aesthetics was particularly influential; and Schopenhauer’s concept that during aesthetic contemplation  “one can thus no longer separate the perceiver from the perception” (The World as Will and Presentation, section 34) reflects Péladan’s Promethean objective of creating a new world through art, yet there is a sharp divergence based on Péladan’s conviction that art is a sublime intermediary able to lead to permanent metaphysical union and effect magical change on the material plane, as opposed to simply providing temporary solace from the pain of reality. It is perhaps here that Péladan’s Neoplatonic influences are most visible; the dualism evident in his work is most certainly not anti-hylic. Yet Péladan’s philosophy certainly reflects Schopenhauer’s view of a dialectic correlation between matter and Ideal, ‘intellect and matter are correlatives, in other words, the one exists only for the other, they stand and fall together […] They are in fact really one and the same thing.’[xix]

Whether influenced by Schopenhauer, Péladan himself, or the overall zeitgeist, the compositions by many artists associated with Péladan’s salons featured symbolic elements reflecting this curious dualistic interplay between Matter and the Ideal, and in many cases, also depicted resolutions of this divide.

Two main motifs stand out; although there are many worth exploring, these are best left for another time. The first is the recurring representation of variations on the androgyne, whether as masculinized feminine forms or feminized masculine forms. Although these have been interpreted from a perspective of gender theory by some, and it has been suggested that there are homosexual overtones to many of these works, certainly in the case of Péladan this is a misconception; there is no such evidence in his work at all. To the contrary, he wrote other treatises on marital relationships, and suggested ways in which women could aspire to the Ideal Feminine, even if – in his view – they could never be equal to men. It was coarseness, vulgarity and decadence he sought to eliminate, and through the constant creation and exhibition of these Ideal forms, he hoped to pave a way to return the soul to beauty and the innocence of Eden.

The following paintings are just some examples of several dozen works that appeared either at Péladan’s Salons, or that were painted by artists directly connected to them.

szeged_ppt_-_11Jean Delville’s School of Plato would appear at first to be a depiction of Jesus with a group of disciples, but in the context of Péladan’s influence, it is more an idealised vision of Plato surrounded by his Ideals of the human form, implying the perfection that could be reached through Platonic teachings.

szeged_ppt_-_13In the painting by Jan Toorop The Sphinx we see a fusion of the androgyne with the Sphinx, the second key recurrent motif. Just like the androgyne, the Sphinx was a popular motif among the Symbolists as well as the occultists of the day, at once mystagogue, guardian of occult secrets, a connection to our bestial – or mystical – nature, and androgynous feminine. Edouard Schuré succinctly explains the esoteric significance of the Sphinx, which he saw as the supreme symbol of ancient Egypt and the mystery of Nature. ‘For before Oedipus, they knew that the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx is man, the microcosm, the divine agent, who recapitulates all the elements and forces of nature within him.’[xx] This was an interpretation Péladan fully agreed with: ‘Esoterically it represents the initial condition of man, which is identical to his final condition. It teaches him the secret of evolution and the secret of bliss […] he knows that one day he will reconstitute his original unity.’[xxi] Therefore for both Péladan and several of the artists who worked with him, the Sphinx was at once receptacle of human potential and the hidden source of the mystery of nature, and the androgyne: the synthesis of mankind made whole once again. To gaze on the Sphinx was to contemplate one’s own initiatory journey, and the androgyne was there to remind one that it was possible to realise this potential. All of this is summarised in Toorop’s painting, of which the artist himself explains: ‘They who are completely caught under the sphinx’s claws, are unevolved beings. In the center of the painting man and woman, struggling toward ever higher evolution, are chained to earth… To the right are those who have freed themselves from the sphinx’s claws and who therefore constitute the driving force of all spiritual labour.’[xxii]

szeged_ppt_-_14These two paintings, both by Fernand Khnopff, who Péladan considered to have thoroughly grasped his aesthetic perspective, both demonstrate this almost archetypal interplay; the angel and androgyne at once represent human potential and the success of spiritual union; the sphinx is at once the mystagogue and the synthesis of Matter and Ideal, in what could be seen as an alternative articulation of the alchemical coniunctio oppositorum.

The Sphinx was of particular significance to Péladan, and came to embody a powerful and humbling experience that he underwent in Egypt in 1898; the year after the final Salon. Following a series of serious mishaps and accidents in Egypt, he experienced an ‘awakening’ and ‘realization’ that his approach and demeanor had been entirely misplaced, and that more humility and less flamboyance were needed for him to live up to his calling. According to his own account, when he finally stood before the Sphinx he cried out “Have I profaned the Rose Cross?” In his account of his experience he stated: ‘You are guilty because you didn’t find the true divine expression of your purpose. […] You took men for demons and operated according to pride. You have disobeyed Tradition.” Péladan’s mortifying realisation was that in his insistence on taking the world by storm and demanding, rather than commanding attention, he had transgressed against his own rules, and everything he stood for. His changed demeanour after this period was not enough to salvage his reputation, and though he continued to write, the autobiographical elements of his novels reveal his despair at having failed in his mission. He died a broken, and forgotten man.

Yet with the benefit of hindsight, it seems that Péladan had not failed as cataclysmically as he believed. His six Salons did indeed draw together those artists who would later be known as the Symbolists, and his philosophical influence on both art and esotericism travelled to Belgium through Jean Delville’s Salon d’Art Idéaliste. His novels enjoyed a newfound popularity in Germany after his death. Many of the artists who featured at his salons carried on his vision through their work, and trained their own students with similar ideals, while central Symbolist concepts that took shape in Péladan’s circle travelled as far afield as Great Britain, Russia, and Romania. His Rosicrucian lineage not only survived, but was taken up by Emile Dantinne, known as Sar Hieronymous, and Edouard Bertholet, known as Sar Alkmaion. Dantinne had been initiated by Péladan himself, and took the honorific title of Sar in honour of Péladan. He went on to establish FUDOSI, the federation of initiatory orders together with Harvey Spencer Lewis (1883-1939) and Victor Blanchard (1878-1953). Although various squabbles and intrigues ensued, Péladan’s Salons were eventually revived by AMORC, and exhibitions and events are still held in Paris, and elsewhere, to this day, even though Péladan’s original teachings and principles have been largely laid aside.

Having recently completed my exploration of Péladan’s work and esoteric-aesthetic curriculum as the topic of my doctoral dissertation, I would strongly recommend that researchers interested in this period revisit his work, particularly in relation to that of Papus and de Guaita. Péladan’s infamy and subsidence into oblivion has been largely a result of his own misplaced ostentation and defamation on the part of his contemporaries. His work not only stands up to scrutiny as a significant, and more importantly, cohesive and unique esoteric curriculum in its own right, but as a figure he also represents a nexus between a number of highly significant esoteric currents, including the specific brand of Rosicrucianism that emerged in Toulouse through viscount Edouard de Lapasse, mystical Catholicism, a form of French Traditionalism particular to Occitania, a revival of the Renaissance philosophia perennis interpreted and implemented through all of these influences, and a collection of teachings that form a clear alternative current to that advanced by Papus and his followers, as well as that of the Theosophical society. Overall, the paintings from the Rosicrucian Salons are perhaps the finest encapsulation of his philosophy, yet there is far more to them – and to Péladan, than meets the eye.

[i] Robert Pincus-Witten, Occult Symbolism in France (New York: Garland, 1976), p. 2

[ii] Joséphin Péladan, La Decadence Esthetique Vol. I, L’Art Ochloratique, Salons de 1882 et 1883 (Paris : Dalou, 1888)

[iii] Péladan, ‘L’esthetique au salon de 1883,’ L’Artiste, vol. 1 (Paris : May 1883)

[iv] Josephin Péladan, L’art idéaliste et mystique, doctrine de l’Ordre et du salon annuel des Rose+Croix, (Paris : Chamuel 1894) p. 33.

[v] Josepin Péladan, La queste du Graal – Proses Lyriques De L’éthopée – La Décadence Latine (Paris : Au Salon de la Rose+Croix, 1892)

[vi] Dantinne, L’œuvre et la pensée de Péladan, p. 175

[vii] Dantinne, L’œuvre et la pensée de Péladan, p. 175
[viii] Dantinne, L’oeuvre et la Pensee, p.34-5

[ix] Dantinne, L’œuvre et la pensée de Péladan, p. 18, 63, 99, 101. According to Dantinne, Péladan was introduced to the Zohar by his brother Adrien, and first read Fabre d’Olivet’s Langue hébraïque restituée. He later studied the full translation by Jean de Pauly (1860-1903), which was a translation of Pico della Mirandola’s Latin version. Péladan neither read, nor had any interest, in reading Hebrew, being more interested in principles and ideas than permutations of letters or exegetical techniques. (Dantinne, p. 101)

[x] Péladan, Istar, vol 2 of 2, p. 266
For more on the introduction of ‘d(a)emons’ into Christian doctrine, also see John Dillon, The Middle Platonists (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), and John Dillon, The Great Tradition: Further Studies in the Development of Platonism and Christianity (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997)

[xi] see note 66.

[xii] Berthelot, vol. III, p. 29

[xiii] Antoine Fabre d’Olivet, La langue hebraïque restituée, (1815-1816)

– F. Schlegel, Novalis, Athenaeum (1798-1800)

– Pierre-Simon Ballanche, Vision d’Hébal (1831) ; Orphée (1829)

[xiv] “’Qu’est-ce que le péché d’Adam?” C’est, dit Péladan, d’avoir détaché la branche Malchut [sic] de l’arbre sephirotique. ‘
Péladan, La Terre du Christ, (Paris: Flammarion 1901), p. 270 in Dantinne, L’œuvre et la pensée de Péladan, p. 155

[xv] Péladan, Comment on devient Fée, p. 30, in Dantinne, L’œuvre et la pensée de Péladan, pp. 49-50. Péladan’s use of this terminology also corroborates the fact that he was familiar with Zoharic ontological philosophy, as noted by Dantinne and as will be discussed later in this section. For an overview and useful commentary on the Zohar, see Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, (New York : Schocken, 1995) ; cf. Gershom Scholem, Zohar, the Book of Splendor : Basic Readings from the Kabbalah (New York : Schocken, 1949 ; 1963 ; 1977) ; Moshe Idel, Kabbalah : New Perspectives (Yale University Press, 1990)

[xvi] Bertholet, vol III, p. 31, quoting Péladan, L’art idealiste et mystique, V. Appendix, fig, 9

[xvii] Brendan Cole, ‘Khnopff’s Avec Verhaeren: Un Ange and Art, or the Caresses,’ Art Bulletin Vol. XCI no. 3 (September 2009), pp. 329-30

[xviii] Ibid., p. 332

[xix] Schopenhauer, The World as Will, vol. 2, p. 15-16

[xx] Schure, Les grands inities, p. 117

[xxi] Péladan, De l’Androgyne, 16-7

[xxii] Toorop, quoted in Auke van der Woud, ed., J. Th. Toorop de jaren 1885tot 1910, exh.cat. (Otterlo: Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, 1978), cited in Brendan Cole, ‘Khnopff’s Avec Verhaeren,’ p. 333, n. 55

Written by Sasha Chaitow

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