The Sleeping Gypsy Essay

Lory Astacio Art Paper The Sleeping Gypsy Henri Julien F?©lix Rousseau (born May 21, 1844 – died September 2, 1910) was a French artist. Rousseau was a largely self-taught painter, although he had ambitions of entering the Academy. Henri Rousseau had a passion for painting and in his forties decided to take art more as a profession and then becoming a genius Post- Impressionist artist. Rousseau’s most famous painting is called “The Sleeping Gypsy” or in French “La Bohemienne Endormie”, an oil on canvas work created in 1897, which depicts a Jungle scenes like other paintings he is known for.

Although he had never encountered anything wild in him life he has met soldiers who had stories he heard about the subtropical countries and the animals. “The Sleeping Gypsy’ got him a lot of fame and in his time critiques as well. Many did not like his unique style of work and considered it untutored, but he stuck to his painting which eventually “struck a chord with a younger generation of painters including Pablo Picasso, Vasily Kandinsky, and Frida Kahlo”. The oil on canvas painting of “The Sleeping Gypsy measures 51 ” x 6′ 7″ (approximate proportion of 1 :1. ), and is said to be an icon in the Modern Art’ forms. The horizontal painting is of a “wandering Negress” who seems to be a mandolin player because of the instrument beside her. She is lying on the desert beside a vase of what seems to be drinking water and seems to be in a deep sleep. She has a colorful dress which I assume to be traditional. There is a lion next to her that smells her but does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect in the dark blue sky and there is a beautiful landscape in background of mountains. Between the mountains and the main subjects there seems to be a body of water.

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Now the frame f this painting is pretty plain and harmonious which makes it appropriate to the subjects of the lion and gypsy woman. It does not cut the shape of the painting nor does it take attention away from the work. Now on the oil on canvas art work (no other materials have been used), the paint seems to be applied thinly except for on the woman’s dress that has bright colors and the brush strokes are coarse since we can see it compared to everything else, which is thinly applied. The colors are opaque and solid. The painting looks pretty simple or plain and geometrically positioned.

Obviously Rousseau didn’t place the subjects scattered but he positioned them to create a specific image. He also only has a few subjects, the woman and the lion which are large in relation to the picture read but small in relation to life. This doesn’t mean it cant be close to being in relation to life, since the subjects are large but not large enough. In “The Sleeping Gypsy’ there is more emphasis in the center of the canvas than in the marginal. Marginal is pretty empty compared to center. One thing that does stand out more is the woman’s dress.

It seems to be an oriental dress, ince all many traditional or oriental dresses are colorful. The dress is or seems to be bulging because the paint is applied thickly there and then everything else isn’t. The lines are clear subservient lines they are lightly painted. Now when observing the painting as a whole there are regular shapes and no pattern, the subjects are flat but and the ground. There is symmetry on the landscape part of the painting in the mountains. The painting is spacious and they vary there is only one of each subject. The only thing that repeats is the mountains in the background.

The general colors eing used are warm. The blue is very dominant since it is used for the sky which is most of the painting and there are other shades of blue used as well. There are a few colors except for on the dress. There are extreme contrasts and large areas. As for the light source in the painting, I believe the moon is the light source. It seems as if it is shining on the subjects Just a little. But there are no shadows anywhere. Rousseau shows the moonlight on the lions back lightly and precisely, that t is noticeable. Another thing that you can notice is that the space is deep.

You can see this because f the mountains and the lake in between, which creates layers. The space is suggested by planes in depth. There is a little overlapping. Not only that but it is open space as well such that the subjects look isolated in the center and the background seems far. The painting is linear and it seems as if we were beside the main interest, the gypsy. There is no illusion. It’s is not religious it is simply a private painting I believe. The story a black woman gypsy is depicted in an outdoor setting in this. The action seems pretty calm because she is sleeping but the lion makes it more dramatic.


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