Thursday, January 05, 2012

New Year, New Feature: The Art Corner

The Sleeping Gypsy
by Henri Rousseau

Well, this may be the snootiest thing I have done on my blog yet, but I have decided to start The Art Corner.  I like art, but I was never really into art history before, but doesn't everyone need a little more culture in their life?  Well here you can get a little taste.

The idea came to me when I was helping my mom clean out a bookcase this weekend.  I came across a book she bought when she lived in New York.  It's called something like, 50 Paintings to see at the Modern Museum of Art.  I decided to look at one ever so often and actually read about each painting. 
The Sleeping Gypsy is the first one I came across.

I must admit, I was not a huge fan at first glance.  But as I read about the painting, I came to appreciate it more.  For one thing, the book actually had some quotes from Rousseau describing the painting himself.  I would much rather hear the actual artist's explanation rather than some art student's interpretation of it.
What do you notice about the painting?

Did you see that the lion is passing by the gypsy?  Yeah, I didn't catch that either. But here is Rousseau's quote: “A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her (a vase with drinking water), overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic.”

Apparently, when he tried to sell it to the mayor of his hometown, he was rejected.  The paiting did not receive any true recognition until around 20 years later!  Pablo Picasso was among the first admirers.

I personally think Rousseau was stinkin' good for being self taught.  The more I look at it, the more I love his use of color and the strong lines.  It also reminds me of what life will be like in the Kingdom, when the lion will lay down with the lamb.  That sure isn't the case nowadays.  There is a sense of peacefulness here and a sense of danger.  I like how the two contradicting feelings are present.  Okay now I'm at least on the verge of sounding like a pretentious art student myself.  (No offense to art students out there!!!)

What do you think?  Do you like it or hate it?

1 comment:

Shelsy said...

I do appreciate the constrasts in the painting, like you pointed out. When I first looked at it I was shocked to see the lion so close to the woman, but I enjoy it as well because you do sense "peacefulness". The painting is very simple-looking, yet there is much detail in it. The lion seems almost scared having to walk by the gypsy. I'm excited to see your next post!!!


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