Thank you to Joy of Museums for today’s guest post.
“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
- 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:
“Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.” Queen Victoria