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Saint-Antoine: Il doit y avoir quelque part des figures primordiales dont les corps ne sont que les images
(Saint Anthony: Somewhere there must be primordial shapes whose bodies are only images)

Plate 4 of 6

Flaubert's text continues: 'could I but see them, I would know the link between matter and thought.'

This plate is stylistically very different from the other images in the album. It is also the most experimental. In response to Saint Anthony's consideration of the division of Substance and the desire to discover primordial shapes, Redon produced this startling and indeterminate image. This subject relates to the then popular philosophy of Schopenhauer. According to Schopenhauer, aesthetic experiences allowed the beholder to achieve pure mental enjoyment and temporary freedom from the Will, or thing in itself.


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