This is one of the main works of the Belgian artist Fernand Khnopff (1858 – 1921), a prototypical author of a very hectic time for art such as the final years of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. A time in which artistic styles and currents multiplied, which in turn founded and refounded each other. And among all this morass of movements, the art of this painter can be ascribed to Art Nouveau or Modernism, but within this it is undoubtedly closely related to symbolist art and is also very close to the art of Los Nabis.
The silence of Khnopff
Actually, Khnopff was a very peculiar and somewhat strange character. A guy who was a total dandy, always dressing impeccably and elegantly, but at the same time well known for his pessimistic character and tendency to loneliness.
The truth is that it could be said that little in his life could have anticipated that he would be an outstanding painter, since he was born into a family of lawyers and jurists, and in those matters they began His studies. However, he suddenly decided to cut his legal and law career to opt for art, for which he did not hesitate to leave Belgium and arrive in an effervescent Paris where he met the romantic and colorful art of Eugene Delacroix or the Symbolism of Gustave Moreau, as well as the art of thepre-Raphaelites, in fact with one of them, with Edward Burne Jones I was going to establish a great friendship and some other artistic collaboration.
And after his stay in France, he returned to Belgium, to Brussels, the capital, where he tried to shake up the art scene by creating, for example, the group Les XX. There he achieved a certain prestige, but he was always surrounded by the delicate character, the magical tone and the aura of spirituality of his art, that is, he was a very enigmatic guy. And he was until the end of his days. In addition, he never stopped making works of a symbolist nature, so as that style went out of fashion and lost validity, he also faded away.
That was not an impediment for him to have left us a few works of interest, like this one by El silencio made in 1890. A painting using the pastel technique and where his clear tendency towards very stylized forms is manifested, in this case with a very vertical inspiration.