Welcome to the junglePosted: February 1, 2012 Filed under: MOMA | Tags: botanical prints, dream, Henri Rousseau, jungle, lion, naked lady, plants, Post Impressionist, red couch, Surrealist 1 Comment
I wish I could say this is me reclining naked, in my living room on my red velvet sofa, but alas, only the jungle part is true. I lugged in my plants last night due to a possible freeze. The plant profusion did remind me of this jungle though, sans birds (but I swear I heard lions).
I love the feathered statuesque lilies, waving like plumage. The lioness with her starting eyes, eyeing you– the prey. An elephant trumpets loudly from the brush. A slithery coral hued snake. The full moon, a pearly marble orb.
It’s as if Rousseau took a slice of imaginary jungle, flattened between the pages of a book. The foreground and background are flattened out like a flower that you press in a book and then frame; the plants here are a series of botanical prints all shoved together will-nilly. Rigid and pointy. Very graphic. The bristly plants contrast with the rounded form of the woman’s body. And then, the stare of beady unsettling yellow eyes.
The red couch lady gazes languidly on. Looking, but not seeing. Garden of Eden or Heart of Darkness ala Conrad? (Rousseau painted it right before his death) It’s entirely possible that it is both. I know my living room is.
His paintings are remarkable in person. I was taken aback by this one. Not sure what to think about it, but certainly in awe when I walked in the room.