Symbolism and expressionism
The artists settling in Sint-Martens-Latem, a village near Ghent, in 1898, were also driven by a desire for authenticity, spirituality and a retreat from the material world. Protagonists like George Minne leaned towards symbolism, with religious themes and references to the Flemish Primitives. Sint-Martens-Latem soon became an incubator for expressionism: works by artists such as Gustave De Smet, Frits Van den Berghe and Constant Permeke are notable for their reduced, simplified style. Van den Berghe gradually turned to Surrealism, with his depictions of fantastic shapes and forms, after the First World War.