The artist in “The Palace of Art” anticipates the Decadent movement in content, theme and style. The idea of a retreat to a man-made structure in which nature subjects itself to reinterpretation and compartmentalization by the artist for the artist's pleasure approaches the heart of Decadence. Nature does retain the privileged position as the source of revitalization and beauty for the artist that the Romantics built up in the decades before “The Palace of Art” came out, but not without the complication of the palace as the container of nature and a strong undertone of darkness and mystery.
The hunter in the “gaudy summer-morn” described in the first stanza in the sequence of rooms runs up against stark contrast in the next room, which is “all dark and red” with “some one pacing there alone,/ Who paced for ever in a glimmering land, Lit with a low large moon” ("The Palace of Art").
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