Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon (1840-1918)

This drawing is in charcoal and chalk, and is part of Redon’s works which are called noires.  I like the way the background or sky is very subtly created.  He is using strong broad marks and very fine feint marks.  It is effective the way the dark spaces and the pale grey spaces have margins of light in between, where Redon seems to have either erased some charcoal, or used white chalk.  It makes the dark spaces look sharp and solid.

Eye Balloon - 1878 charcoal on paper 422 x 332 mm

Eye Balloon – 1878
charcoal on paper
422 x 332 mm

Redon was a Symbolist and a Post-Impressionist artist.

Christ drawing 1887

Christ drawing 1887

In this drawing he has used hatching and cross-hatching very effectively, using straight and curved, short and long lines.  Mostly very fine lines, some have been either drawn in chalk or removed from charcoal, and so are white, which makes highlights in dark areas.  There are some very solid black areas, and no white areas in the background, so the white of the face makes it stand out as if it is illuminated.  There is an impressive impression of three dimensionality in this drawing.  It is very effective at creating the illusion of depth.

Portrait of Mademoiselle Jeanne Roberte De Domecy - 1905

Portrait of Mademoiselle Jeanne Roberte De Domecy – 1905

I think the Portrait of Mademoiselle Jeanne Roberte De Domecy has a lot more smudging to create subtle blending in the transition from dark and light areas, creating a smooth surface.



I really like Redon’s use of circles.  He uses this shape in many different drawings and it is striking.

Head on a Stem

Head on a Stem

Two Trees - 1875

Two Trees – 1875

For the trees there are lots of sharp marks made with a chalk or by removing charcoal from the page.  This image – Two trees – is really dark.  There is an impressive illusion of depth, with the appearance of deep dark spaces, with the trees in the foreground with light illuminating them.  He has used lines and dots to create the illusion of texture.

odilon redon madness-1883

“My drawings inspire and are not to be defined. They determine nothing. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous world of the undetermined. They are a kind of metaphor.” (Redon) *



Redon’s paintings use line and colour.  There is strong contrast between the horse and the background in Brunhild, with a sense of depth created.

Portrait of Ari Redon

Portrait of Ari Redon

There is lots of line used in the Portrait of Ari Redon.  Outlines and hatching and cross-hatching.    It is unexpected for the dark to be along the top, which makes the image top-heavy.  The face looks very smooth while the back ground has so many lines crossing each other that they seem to move.

Figure - Odilon Redon

Figure – Odilon Redon

This image has very strong contrast.   I like his use of the flat circle shape behind the figure.  Texture is suggested using dots and lines.  This image is puzzle, as are many of Redon’s drawings and paintings.  There is lots of attention to detail, drawn from reality, combined with imagery of fantasy.

* This quote is from:  http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/2013/01/redon-odilon.html


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