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A European cultural phenomenon of the late 19th century which originated in France and was first defined as a literary movement by Jean Moréas in the Symbolist manifesto of 1886, and then in relation to visual art by Albert Aurier (1892) as the "painting of ideas". In painting, Symbolism was viewed as having developed from later Impressionism and from Neo-Impressionism which, in the 1880s, had increasingly concentrated on the suggestive rather than the descriptive.

Text source: The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Art Terms (2nd Edition) by Michael Clarke

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