The vase is decorated with an image of an Amazon slaying a man, referring to the Greek myth of women warriors whose conflation of feminine and masculine traits echoes the conflation of human and plant forms in the drawing. This painting depicts a figure with closed eyes, bare shoulders and a tight helmet of dark hair, seeming to rise out of the sea. With his large, soft expressive eye that evokes the "dreaming head" of Symbolism, Polyphemus is not the man-eating monster of Homer's Odyssey, but rather a gentle, even whimsical, creature. The artist often regretted that he was not born at sea, "a place without a country on an abyss," which he perhaps felt would have better corresponded to the origins of his visionary sensibility, This work could thus be seen as representing a kind of alternative birth for Redon, signifying his awakening artistic consciousness. Indeed many of his "monsters" were based on observation, but were transformed by the artist's imagination. Polyphemus, the mythical one-eyed monster from Homer's Odyssey, peers out from behind a rocky hilltop while the captive nymph Galatea sleeps in her grotto, surrounded by flowers. And, rather than contemplating the nude nymph as she sleeps, Polyphemus tilts his head and looks toward the viewer with an almost inquisitive gaze. A partir de 1890 relacionou-se com os poetas simbolistas Mallarmé e Huysmans. The drawing is typical of Redon's noirs, in which he manipulated the charcoal medium in order to achieve a rich array of tones and textures. Em 1884 fundou com Paul Gauguin e Georges Seurat o Salon des Indépendants (ou Salão dos Independentes) e também participou das exposições do grupo Le XX, em Bruxelas. O marchand Durand-Ruel, interessado em sua obra, propôs uma exposição individual. Instead of a basket containing passengers, the balloon carries a severed head on a platter, much like that of St. John the Baptist in the Biblical story of Salome. Redon often depicted scenes from classical mythology in his later pastels and paintings, and he must have been familiar with Ovid's version of the Polyphemus story. He also frequented Paris's Museum of Natural History, which included exhibits of biological abnormalities, and attended lectures at the Ecole de medicine. There's a supernatural, dreamlike quality in Odilon Redon paintings that makes them utterly arresting from the first glance. As scholar and curator Jodi Hauptman writes, "floating up 'towards infinity', let loose from the limitations of body and mind, Redon's eyes are free to really see, beyond reality, beyond nature, beyond the visible." In Night, several figures occupy a landscape, with dark trees silhouetted against a golden light beneath a dark blue sky, floating winged heads, and profusions of plants and flowers and hovering butterflies. Pastel and graphite - The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Delicate thorns cover his skin and head, giving him a cactus-like appearance while also conjuring Christ's crown of thorns, or other similar martyrs. Severed heads appear with great frequency in Symbolist art and literature, whether in stories of Salome or in more mysterious images such as this one. Charcoal and chalk on paper - Art Institute of Chicago. While Redon acknowledges his noirs in the shadowy figures, the surrounding golden light mitigates the darkness, so that the scene evokes a kind of peaceful and imaginative paradise. In the lower left, the fronds of a palm-like plant can be seen, and the sky is full of thick clouds. A técnica mais utilizada por Redon era o pastel, que lhe permitia trabalhar as cores com texturas diferentes e bastante mescladas. Closed Eyes marked a turning point in Redon's career, when he began to embrace color for the first time in his art. This work was included in Redon's portfolio of six lithographs, To Edgar Poe, and is the most famous image from the series. Redon's pastel still lifes seem familiar, yet simultaneously evoke the heightened images of eidetic, or photographic, memory.


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