Odilon Redon (1840-1916) French artist who was a print maker, painter, drawing ‘noirs’, pastelist, and draughtsman.
Post- Impressionism and symbolism.
I chose one of his charcoal drawings; ‘Armor’ 1891, charcoal and conte crayon.
This drawing is very dark, Redon has used charcoal to maximum effect to create deep areas of black tone to make this ‘woman’ look covered up in a balaclava style headgear. I think it may be a woman, as the eye has a female feel, ‘she’ has been drawn with long eyelashes and has a gentle nose. But it could be a man. ‘Her’ face is a bright feature in this drawing. You can just make out how the charcoal and conte pencil marks are drawn around the head, they have a spiky and fuzzy feel. You cannot see any emotion on her face, but I get the feeling she is hiding. The background is also shaded quite dark, but not totally as you can see the structure of her head and neck. Her shoulders are expressed with cross hatched line and deep scribbling. This drawing gives me a sense of fear, evasion and something unspoken, I mean the ‘woman’ seems to be gagged by the headgear. A tat creepy, but I like it.
I understand Redon was influenced by Hindu and Buddist religion and his worked can be described as ‘a synthesis of nightmares and dreams’. He seems to explore his imagination and internal feelings, you can see this in his charcoal drawings. His later work shows lots of colour described in pastel and they are of flowers and still life subjects.
His work reminds me, or has echos of the writings of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung.