Symbolist representation

The bride is a symbolist representation of the mystical marriage of a woman with the crucified Jesus. The symbolist artists aim to appeal not to the intellect but to the emotions. They consciously seek the ‘inexplicable’. Christ and the virgin bride are important themes in their work. Good and evil are symbolized by flowers, such as the lily and passionflower in this case.

Line, colour and form

Using line, colour and form, Thorn Prikker depicts the essence of his subject. Like Georges Seurat, he regards lines as a means by which to express a particular connotation: unease, power, holiness. With the wavy lines that connect the figures, he represents the unity between humanity and higher things.


Thorn Prikker was 25 when he painted his bride. Before long he begins to question symbolism and reaches the conclusion ‘that everything and all the symbolism it involves is nonsense’. He believes that the artist has a social function and concentrates on applied arts, to thus make ‘art in the service of the people’.