Guest Post: “The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau (from Joy of Museums)

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Thank you to Joy of Museums for today’s guest post.
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“The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau is a fantasy depiction of a lion musing over a sleeping woman on a moonlit night. Rousseau described his painting as:

“A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lied down with her jar beside her and 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.”

Henri Rousseau was self-taught and developed a style that lacked traditional training, with its absence of strict proportions, one-point perspective, and with the use of sharp, often unnatural colours. The result was art pieces that were imbued with a sense of mystery and eccentricity.

Rousseau started painting seriously in his early forties, and by age 49 he retired from his job to work on his art full-time. His primary employment before he retired was as the customs officer and tax collector. Ridiculed during his lifetime by critics, he came to be recognised as a self-taught genius whose work exerted an extensive influence on several generations of avant-garde artists.

The Sleeping Gypsy

  • Title:                            The Sleeping Gypsy
  • French:                        La Bohémienne endormie
  • Artist:                          Henri Rousseau
  • Date:                            1897
  • Medium:                     Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:               129.5 cm × 200.7 cm (51.0 in × 79.0 in)
  • Museum:                     Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET, New York, USA

Henri Rousseau

  • Name:                   Henri Julien Félix Rousseau
  • Born:                    1844 – Laval, Mayenne, France
  • Died:                     1910 (aged 66) – Paris, France
  • Nationality:         French
  • Movement:          Post-Impressionism, Naïve art, Primitivism
  • Notable works:

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“Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.” Queen Victoria

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About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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