Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon - Jordan Anderson Professor Schultz ARH 452...

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Jordan Anderson Professor Schultz ARH 452 11/19/06 Odilon Redon: The Eye The human condition is dominated by our search to identify with two separate entities. One lives in the physical world, the other which lives within our body, the soul. Art has the ability to express both physical and supernatural. Realism and Impressionism focus on capturing the physical world, the artist’s ability to recreate nature. Whether it is photographic exactness with Realism, or the transformation of nature with Impressionism, both art movements do not fully consider expressing human emotions or the inner state of an artist. In contrast, symbolist artists want to convey their emotions through symbols that evoke a suggestive play of associations, “to objectify the subjective”. By conveying their inner emotions through nature, Symbolists are able to produce mysterious, harmonious expressions of the soul. Odilon Redon’s ideals are rooted in the experience he received from nature which fueled his imagination and dreams. He felt an immense power in dreams, which are able to combine visual experience with unconscious thought. Redon’s constant use of the all- seeing eye in his art shows his admiration for its ability in perception of both the physical and supernatural worlds. Taking what he saw in nature and fusing it with his nightmarish imagination, he produced many dream-like landscapes focusing on the eye. This quote seems to express his ideas on life and visual perception which shaped his art, “Nature also leads us to submit ourselves to the gifts with which is has endowed us. Mine have induced me to dream. I have experienced the torments of the imagination as well as the surprises it produced for me at the tip of my pencil; but I have directed and led them, these surprises, according to the laws ruling the organism of art - laws that I know and
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feel – with the sole purpose of arousing in the spectator, through a sudden attraction, all the evocative power, all the lure of the uncertain, at the very limits of thought…” (Dorra 55) The Eye Balloon , Vision and Closed Eyes, are a few of his more famous artworks that center on his obsession with the all-seeing eye, probing both the inner and outer world. The Eye Balloon expresses his thoughts on leaving the material world, towards a state of ecstasy, the mind free of the body. Soon after the eye balloon, the album titled In Dreams was released. The title itself obviously refers to Redon’s emphasis on the power of dreams. Plate 8, Vision, continues the idea brought up in The Eye Balloon , yet having more divine and spiritual connotations. About 10 years later with Closed Eyes, Redon has matured, advancing the awareness of his inner self, able to look purely within for inspiration. The importance of the eye in Redon’s works shows that perception is able to combine both outward physical observation of nature and the supernatural vision inward. The constant use of the eye throughout his entire career expresses
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course ARH 452 taught by Professor Schulz during the Fall '06 term at Oregon.

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Odilon Redon - Jordan Anderson Professor Schultz ARH 452...

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