Henri Rousseau Paintings (Famous Artworks)
French painter Henri Rousseau was a post-impressionist. He began painting professionally in his early forties, and at age 49, after quitting his employment, he dedicated himself entirely to his art.
The works painted by Henri Rousseau include a lion killing a reptile in the jungle, a woman who charms snakes, and a snake charmer in the twilight.
The rich greenery in his works which are vibrant and can be seen as the subject matter are at times abstract and add to the ornamental nature of his paintings.
The Dream by Henri Rousseau
The Dream, the biggest of the jungle works, depicts Yadwigha, Rousseau's young Polish mistress, lying naked on a daybed to the left of the artwork in a nearly surreal depiction.
The young woman has been taken into a forest, where she is being serenaded by a local musician using a brass instrument. Yadwigha reaches out to the piper while partially shrouded in the jungle's gloom and looking over a scene of rich, tropical vegetation that features lotus petals, birds, monkeys, an elephant, a lion, a lioness, and a snake.
A Garden of Eden theme is suggested by the serpent that enters the scene in the artwork's lower right corner. A pink serpent slithering through the underbrush echoes the woman's hips and legs with its serpentine appearance. The naked subject of this painting is curled up on a couch.
The Dream demonstrates why the Surrealists adored Rousseau's artwork with its amazing attention to detail, brilliant color scheme, and absurdist mix of motifs. For painting the jungle flora, at least 22 different colors of green were used.
Tiger in a Tropical Storm by Henri Rousseau
Tiger in a Tropical Storm, also known as Surprised! The earliest of the jungle works for which the artist is most known was Tiger in a Tropical Storm. In the center of a raging storm, it depicts a tiger getting ready to leap on its victim while being illuminated by a lightning strike.
When the Academy de Peinture et de sculpture's panel rejected the painting, Rousseau presented Tiger in a Tropical Storm in 1891 under the title Surprised! At the Salon des Indépendants, which was available to all painters and was not a judged exhibition.
Critiques still gave mixed reviews about Henri's artwork. Even though Rousseau titled the painting Surprised! And the work suggests the tiger has the advantage, the user's creativity must be used to predict what will happen because the tiger's prey is outside the perimeter of the frame.
Later, Rousseau claimed that the tiger was preparing to attack a group of adventurers. Rousseau's forest paintings may appear straightforward, but they were methodically constructed in layers, utilizing a variety of green hues to portray the rich vibrancy of the jungle.
In addition, he came up with his unique technique for capturing the pelting rain by strewing silver paint strands diagonally throughout the painting.
The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau
Henri Rousseau painted The Sleeping Gypsy in 1897. This work makes excellent use of rough lines and flattish viewpoints. It depicts a lion approaching the gypsy woman. Rousseau depicts an African gypsy in a wilderness wearing Oriental garb.
She is lying next to a water jar and an Italian stringed instrument. Each of these objects adds significance to the work and the mandolin and oriental dress are all traditional to their distinct Italian and Asian civilizations.
Rousseau chooses to combine them all in his painting, nevertheless. The Sleeping Gypsy has a surrealist style but has elements of the Synthetic Cubism style, which was popular 20 years later.
The work contrasts a lion, a mandolin, and moonlight with a gypsy's outfit. The vibrant subject matter and use of color by Rousseau are particularly stunning.
The Snake Charmer by Henri Rousseau
One of Henri Rousseau's best-known and most acclaimed works is The Snake Charmer. One of Rousseau's most ardent supporters was the artist Robert Delaunay, and as a result of his relationship with Henri, Delaunay's mother ordered The Snake Charmer.
This oil on canvas is revolutionary in every way, including the dark Eve seducing the snake in the Garden of Eden, the vivid, deep colors, the precise yet innocent manner, and the unique vertical structure.
The Snake Charmer is filled with rich vegetation, just like the artist's other works of jungle scenes. The heavy flora that covers the area is loaded with tension, punctuated by a reptile.
The foreground is dominated by nature, which is encircled by a wave of tongues of flickering grass. The snake charmer, who is dark and sensuous, dances among various animals while subtly captivating the environment.
She is surrounded by several wild animals, all of whom are attracted to her because of her allure in the darkness.
The animals are in a trance because of the woman. This artwork has a captivating light because of the wonderful night sky. A peek of the action in this jungle scene is provided by the moonlight in the backdrop.
Boy on the Rocks by Henri Rousseau
Henri Rousseau created Boy on the Rocks sometime between 1895 and 1897. There is no one else in the scene other than the youngster in the artwork. He is perched on a pile of angular-looking rocks that surround him.
The boy is dressed in a black sweater, cloak, white pants with black stripes, and an undershirt in a similar color. The outfit is completed with a pair of black boots.
His lips are completely closed, yet he has a tiny smile on his face. The boy's face appears flushed against the white background because of the redness of his cheeks. It is impossible to discern where the youngster stands in relation to the huge rocks in the artwork because he is the same size as them.
He appears to have been inserted digitally, with the addition of a small amount of shadow to amuse onlookers. A flat veil of the sky hangs directly behind the boy and the water is a solid blue rim that delineates the sky from the earth below.
The Repast of the Lion by Henri Rousseau
The Repast of the Lion is an artwork in an unidentified natural environment. The lion appears to be eating its meal, which is most likely a crocodile or other reptile with scales.
This painting's colors, which are all extremely earthy tones, highlight the greens of the grasslands and leaves, the blue flowers, the yellow, and a gigantic blossom of a white flower.
The lion appears to be the main subject, It has whiskers on its face and is grabbing food with a large paw. You see how little the prey is in comparison to the lion's paws, suggesting that it's likely something small like a bird or reptile.
The lion appears to be enjoying its meal from the observer's point of view as it is in the process of devouring the prey. Henri masterfully displayed how lovely and rich the surroundings are in the backdrop.
You can tell the time of day is dawn because the light can be seen arising from the back. Many of his contemporaries, such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee, came to regard him as their hero as a result of the immense acclaim his work received.
Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest by Henri Rousseau
Henri Rousseau's 1905 painting Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest masterfully mixes garden plants and tropical flora in enormous proportions.
A woman dressed in historical attire is dwarfed by trees and other vegetation in this landscape artwork. The woman is covered in a cap and a long pink outfit. The artwork is a wonderful illustration of Rousseau's primitivistic aesthetic style, which is distinguished by strong lines and a contemplative atmosphere.
The work alludes to a fantastical scene in which a woman travels on safari and ends up in a grove of enormous, fantastical orange trees.
The Jardin de Plantes was one of Rousseau's favorite spots that Henri would go to get inspiration from and he most likely got the inspiration for this painting from his time spent there.
He would research the plants that served as the basis for his paintings. He enlarged and modified them to conform to his idealized depiction of what tropical flora should be like.
This explains why the vegetation in the artwork has the appearance of big orange trees and blue daisies, which are not generally associated with the rainforest.
Although Rousseau's painting's bizarre clothes and artificial lighting perplexed several critics, its naive style had a significant impact on many generations of avant-garde artists.