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The art of the late-19th-century painters known as Symbolists stressed the subjective realm of the mind. This emphasis placed their work in direct opposition to the objective realism of the Impressionists. Artists such as Odilon Redon, Puvis de Chavannes, and Paul Gauguin relied on the poetics of color, exotic symbols, and nuances of line to represent a deeper reality. Because it focused on emotion and sensation, Symbolism is considered a precursor of 20th-century abstraction. Van Gogh's evocative use of color in representing mood and atmosphere is often seen as a link to Symbolism.

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