Symbolism  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
Symbolism (arts)

Symbolism is the representation of a concept through symbols or underlying meanings of objects or qualities. It is the applied use of symbols: iconic representations that carry particular conventional meanings.

The term "symbolism" is often limited to use in contrast to "representationalism"; defining the general directions of a linear spectrum - where in all symbolic concepts can be viewed in relation, and where changes in context may imply systemic changes to individual and collective definitions of symbols. "Symbolism" may refer to a way of choosing representative symbols in line with abstract rather than literal properties, allowing for the broader interpretation of a carried meaning than more literal concept-representations allow. A religion can be described as a language of concepts related to human spirituality. Symbolism hence is an important aspect of most religions.

Contents

In the visual arts

iconography

The use of symbols is common in the visual arts.

see also

Language

All forms of language are innately symbolic, and any system of symbols can form a "language;" even a binary system. Human oral language is based on the phoneme. The written word is symbolically representative of both the symbolic phoneme and directly to the cognitive concept which it represents. The field of cognitive linguistics explores the cognitive process and relationships between different systems of phonetic symbols to indicate difference.

Psychology

dream interpretation

The interpretation of abstract symbols has had an important role in religion and psychoanalysis. As envisioned by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, symbols are not the creations of mind, but rather are distinct capacities within the mind to hold a distinct piece of information. In the mind, the symbol can find free association with any number of other symbols, can be organized in any number of ways, and can hold the connected meanings between symbols as symbols in themselves. Jung and Freud diverged on the issue of common cognitive symbol systems and whether they could exist only within the individual mind or among other minds; whether any cognitive symbolism was defined by innate symbolism or by the influence of the environment around them.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Symbolism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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