Dream by Henri Rousseau

By Wednesday, April 05, 2017 ,

Unlike his contemporaries, Henri Rousseau was a self-taught artist who couldn’t become a full-time artist until retired because he had to support himself and his family, and painting wasn’t going to cut it. (If Rousseau were Indian, he would have been an engineer slugging away in an IT company)

I find Rousseau a rather controversial artist because people either love his paintings or hate them. 

There is no doubt that Henri’s style was different from other post impressionist artists because he drew flat paintings. 

I personally love his style because its so unique. While it might look like a flat painting from a distance, it definitely has a lot of dimensions. 

Rousseau drew more than 25 paintings depicting jungles, but guess what? He lived in France his whole life and never even saw a jungle.


A great artist who almost stayed unrecognized for his whole life, Rousseau got discovered by Pablo Picasso while he was trying to sell his paintings in Paris. Picasso loved his art so much, he threw a big party in honor of Rousseau. Sadly, all this happened just 2 years before Rousseau's death.




About The Dream - The Last painting Henri Rousseau  ever did 


Looking at the painting from a distance, you will notice a naked lady siting on a red couch - in the middle of a jungle. Confused? Well, the painting is called The Dream after all, it doesn’t have to make sense. 

It is said that Rousseau was inspired by the Garden of Eden while drawing this, which is a rather quick guess when you see a naked lady siting relaxed in a jungle. But this theory sounds even more convincing when you see the snake in the bottom right side of the painting. (The snake's head is not hidden in the bushes, it's right in front. You probably can't see it so clearly because the background is dark as well)




There are many other animals around (try to spot them if you can) - Yellow bird, elephant, two monkeys, and a blue bird. 

Of course the two lions are very prominent - One is looking at the viewer and the other is looking at the woman. (May be protecting her?)



In the middle of all this chaos, there is a man wearing a tribal skirt and playing a clarinet, which is a Western musical instrument. (This part makes me absolutely confused and at the same time I am convinced that Rousseau never really went to a jungle.) 



The flowers have the true magic


There is a lot going on in the painting, but what provides a sense of comfort and peacefulness are the flowers and grass which are painted all around. 

There are so many layers added to each flower and leaf that you can’t help but feel the magic of nature in this. Rousseau revealed in one of his letters that he would go to botanical gardens in Paris which inspired him to paint all these flowers with such detail. 

Rousseau might have not been able to follow his passion all his life, but he did so after retiring, and he will forever go down in history as one of the greatest post impressionist artists we ever saw. 


Here’s to never giving up on your dreams. If Rousseu can paint a masterpiece after retiring and get discovered by Pablo Picasso, you too can do anything you want.

Its never over till its all over.


This post is a part of the A2Z Challenge I am doing, if you want to check all the A2Z posts, just click here

You Might Also Like

37 comments

  1. Very Beautiful pictures. Thou I enjoy art, not quite a follower. So this is new to me. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed your closer look at the painting. Visiting from A to Z.

    D is for Dartmouth: Guy Mainwaring and the beagle pack

    ----------

    Anne Young

    Anne's family history

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the colourfulness of it all. Wonder what was going through his head as he painted? At least he did better than poor Van Gogh, who never lived to find out how popular he would become.

    As a writer with a full time job, I feel his pain. I do write and sometimes sell, but I get so annoyed with full time writers who exchange suggestions of how to organise your writing day...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue

      I like to believe that each one of us has their own struggles. And there is really no way we can compare it

      Delete
  4. I loved the detailed look at the various elements of the paining. Beautiful post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Incredible depiction of the painting, never know lion can be a protector
    Impressed a lot with your Yoga skills, Get to learn a lot
    Beautifully written Thanks for sharing Discover how testing in First Trimester ensures a healthier pregnancy

    ReplyDelete
  6. True. A very valid point on not giving up.
    (P. S. I can't see the snakes head, only the tail. :()

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crank up the brightness of your screen to 100% and then look at that snake picture :)

      The painting is around 100 years old and that is why some of the colours have darkened

      Delete
  7. I do like Rousseau and his art. I like the vivid colours and the business of his paintings. It's like he invites me to discovere everythign in there... and so, in some way, everythign aroudn me that I might fails to notice.

    Great post!

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so true Sarah! The paintings are incredibly inviting

      Delete
  8. Loved the way you are dtialing out the nuances of each painting and explaining it all like a pro for laywoman like me!

    Couldnt locate its head though the orange body is quite visible!!!

    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
    D is for Dolphin Delight in Goa #atozchallenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shalz

      I am no pro, just trying to learn on the way :)

      Delete
  9. I have not gone into such details of Rousseau before, thanks for enlilghtening me. Now I need to remember these names
    Launching SIM Organics

    * http://www.simpleindianmom.in/organic-vegetable-garden-i-atozchallenge-i-aprila2z *

    *SimpleIndianMom*

    ReplyDelete
  10. He was better off than Van Gogh, at least Pablo feted him two years before his death, Van Gogh I think sold only one painting in his lifetime and died unrecognised. Painters/artists have such hard lives!

    Here from the A-Z and enjoyed reading about Rousseau.

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse
    Theme : Arabiana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nilanjana

      I believe they all had their own struggles. Van Gogh was able to paint his heart out all his life because his brother supported him. Rousseau could only paint full time after retirement

      Delete
  11. Beautiful! My daughter is an art history major. I'll be sharing this with her. Happy A to Z!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank goodness I read and saw Rousseau's work from your point of view first! I didn't notice the tribal man and the lions at first glance, because I was enchanted by the vividness of the colours! I guess I'm a fan of Rousseau and Van Gogh now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? I had missed the snake on the first try

      Hope you will become a fan of the other artists as well

      Delete
  13. This is a new painting for me and an interesting one. Thank you for the background you included and the close ups as you introduced it to us.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Okay frankly, I didn't know this artist. Thanks to you now I know.
    Twinkling Tina Cooks
    Tina Basu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you like the other artists that follow

      Delete
  15. I have always liked Rousseau's art. Only after reading a book about Picasso by his first love, Fernande, did I learn Rousseau had a few personality quirks. I am glad Picasso befriended him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I am going to pick up that book next!

      Delete
    2. Fernande Olivier is the author. It might be out of print but a university library is where I found a copy!

      Delete
  16. Wow! Great post with such detailed analysis! I'm glad he followed his passion after retirement and didn't give up.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is a great study of Rousseau. Love it, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Excellent take on Rousseau and this painting. He loved the crispness which is so different from his contemporaries. He is not my favourite but I do so like his work and ponder it. It's like the man with the clarinet is enticing the snake?? Maybe he is just giveing the mood for the female. The cat looking at the nude made me laugh because it looks shocked! Maybe that is a statement on the times

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha.. true!

      And I wasn't a fan of Rousseau either but some of his masterpieces really require you to just stand there and focus on all the details

      Delete