Symbolism's subjective perception of landscape was to take a number of artists beyond the bounds of the evocative landscape and into what are referred to in the fifth and final thematic section of the exhibition as Landscapes of the Mind.

Previously, in the grip of mental illness, several nineteenth-century Nordic artists - like the Norwegian Lars Hertervig or the Swedes Carl Fredrik Hill and Ernst Josephson - had crossed over, with no hope of a return, into the realm of an inner landscape. But painters like Edvard Munch, August Strindberg and Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, too, were eventually to refine the subjective dimension to such a degree that their landscapes became pictures of the mind, rather than impressions of the outer world.

Edvard Munch developed an idiom influenced by Art Nouveau, Symbolism and Synthetism, in which natural forms were freed from their physical tangibility and became signs and symbols (Moonlight). In Munch's universe, which revolves around love, jealousy and existential anguish, landscapes are a kind of emotional membrane, set in motion by a powerful emotive content.

August Strindberg had got to know Munch in Berlin at the beginning of the 1890s and shared with him his intensity of expression and freedom from all norms. As a painter, though, Strindberg was primarily an inspired amateur whose output was limited to a couple of relatively short periods, in the 1890s and after the turn of the century. Executed largely with a palette knife, several of his highly visionary landscapes approached the abstract, among them Storm in the Archipelago (The Flying Dutchman). In this and other works produced in the summer of 1892, Strindberg turned to painting as a way out of a crisis in both his writing and his private life, following his divorce from his first wife. The sense of cosmic, all-engulfing chaos may therefore reasonably be assumed to have a strongly autobiographical background. Rather than as reflections of the contemporary art with which Strindberg was well acquainted, his pictures can thus be seen as a deeply personal end point in the development of Nordic fin-de-siècle art towards an increasingly subjective interpretation of nature.

Moonlight, Edvard Munch, 1895

Edvard Munch
Norwegian, 1863-1944
Moonlight, 1895

Storm in the Skerries. "The Flying Dutchman", Dalarö, August Strindberg, 1892

August Strindberg
Swedish, 1849-1912
Storm in the Skerries. "The Flying Dutchman", Dalarö, 1892

Lake Shore with Reeds , Eero Järnefelt, 1905

Eero Järnefelt
Finnish, 1863-1937
Lake Shore with Reeds , 1905

Spring Evening when the Ice is Melting, Hugo Simberg, 1897

Hugo Simberg
Finnish, 1873-1917
Spring Evening when the Ice is Melting, 1897

Aspens, Ellen Thesleff, 1893

Ellen Thesleff
Finnish, 1869-1954
Aspens, 1893