Symbolism originated as a literary movement. Its beginnings are often ascribed to the publication of Charles Baudelaire’s poems Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of evil) in France in 1857. As suggested by Baudelaire’s title, Symbolism explored the darker, more introspective aspect of human emotions through mythical or religious themes and reveled in dreamlike or allusive imagery. Subsequent theoretical developments in the nascent field of psychology fed the movement’s obsession with erotic, turbulent, or suffocating content and heightened its fixation on the femme fatale, an iconic fin-de-siècle image of the “destructive” woman, which many artists took as their subject. Among those credited for influencing the Symbolist idiom are the French painters Gustave Moreau and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, both recognized for their intentionally ambiguous yet evocative images. While these artists’ styles differ, each was reacting to Naturalism and the concomitant beliefs in positivism and materialism, pursuing instead what art historian Robert Goldwater has called a “philosophical idealism.” They in turn inspired a younger generation of artists to make work that was more spiritual and mysterious, and which is usually characterized by flattened forms, nonrepresentational color, and undulating lines. While Symbolism is most often associated with French writers and artists, the movement had a widespread reach, eventually encompassing figures from Belgium to Poland, and included artists such as Jean Delville, Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, and Carlos Schwabe, and impacted to varying degrees the careers of artists as diverse as Paul Gauguin, Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, Odilon Redon, Auguste Rodin, and Giovanni Segantini.