Oil on paper mounted on canvas
Framed: 69 x 54.5 x 7.5 cm (27 3/16 x 21 7/16 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 53.3 x 38 cm (21 x 14 15/16 in.)
Gift of the Mildred Andrews Fund 1988.91
Symbolism was a reaction against Realism and Redon is one of the most important artists affiliated with this movement. The symbolist painters used mystical dreamlike images that were highly personal in their work.
One of Redon's favorite themes of the 1880s and 1890s was a human head depicted in profile. This motif came from his representations of severed heads, often carried aloft on wings, published in the artist's first album of prints, Dans le rêve (1879). In these images, the separation of the head from the body symbolizes the spirit released from the material world. It also suggests a metaphor for abandoning physical reality for the inner realm of dreams, fantasy, and poetic reverie. This painting conveys the idea of inward-turning vision by framing the head in a series of collapsing rectangles. Redon isolated the head even further by painting a horizontal rectangle or "ledge" over the lower part of the figure's body, which originally extended to the bottom edge of the composition. Conservation analysis confirms that the figure is a woman wearing a helmet and holding a green staff in her right hand. However, her exact identity is not known, largely because after altering the crest and other aspects of the helmet, Redon abandoned the painting in an unresolved state.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Is something not working on this page? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.